Most of us stopped believing in monsters at a fairly early age. But when we did, we believed they were real. We misguidedly suspected that they lived under our bed, inside our closet and in our basement. Never did we expect to find the monster hiding within.
In early 1994, Rob Fuller began his obsession with the Datsun 510. It wasn't long before he was buying, selling, fixing and occasionally breaking any 510 he could get his hands on. Soon, however, he discovered the car that would forever change his life and guide him on a path that could only be defined as destiny. In 1997, while driving down a back road in Georgia he spotted a '70 240Z in a driveway with tags that expired more than a decade earlier in 1986. The car was covered in pine straw and dirt but he stopped, turned around and pulled up to the house. Rob soon learned that the owner had the Z for a really long time and that it hadn't been running for years.
Rob, unable to afford the owner's price, could think of nothing else in the ensuing weeks. It was a bad case of the Z fever, experienced by a select few, which could only be cured by possession. After a desperate attempt at ownership involving offering to wash and detail the car, as well as bringing a car cover to keep it nice and clean until he had the money to tow it, Rob convinced the owner to sell it to him for $1,000. He towed the Z home that afternoon.
From the moment he got the Z home he went to work on it and within a day he had it cleaned up enough to get it started. After changing the oil and cleaning the carburetor he was ready to turn the ignition and crank the engine over for the first time. "I will never forget the moment I put a fresh battery in it and watched the antenna go up slowly as I turned the ignition to accessory," Rob says. The Z fired up but ran poorly. The engine was bad, but Rob wasn't disappointed, as he knew this Z was going to be the one.
In early 1998, Rob aligned his passion with work and got his first job where he was surrounded by Datsuns all day. Z Service Unlimited was a well-known shop on the west side of Atlanta. Just weeks after taking possession of his Z, another opportunity presented itself in the form of a customer's '71 240Z. It had been rolled but a built 2.8L engine and a five-speed transmission with other go-fast goodies could be salvaged. Rob, who was in Z heaven, swapped over all the goods and in March of 1998 the Z hit the road after hibernating for 12 years in the driveway.
By fall, Rob relocated to Northern California where he was offered a job at a local Z shop. Once the 240 was shipped over, it received another engine transplant in the form of a 3.1L stroker. Properly setup, this engine produced maximum torque from around 2,000 rpm all the way through the remainder of the rpm range. In 2001, the car was painted '70 Mopar Go Green by Williams Auto Body in San Mateo, Calif. And in 2004, Rob opened the Z Car Garage in San Jose, Calif. The business consumed most of his resources and time, so the Z sat dormant while a monstrous new vision was forming.
Rob purchased a '99 Skyline GTS front clip from Dan Gallmeister with 9,000km on the odometer. Preparations for the engine transplant marked the beginning of an ambitious project. Keeping in mind that others might be interested in this potent combination of modern turbocharged power in the timeless chassis of the 240, Rob used factory parts whenever possible while custom parts were made to be easily reproducible.
By July 2005, the swap was complete and that inner monster was finally out. "It is hard to describe on paper the feeling this Z monster produces," Rob says. At 19 psi, the Z lays down 440 whp and 380 lb-ft of torque at the wheels. The power is delivered using a T3/T4 turbo, Nismo 740cc injectors, GReddy intake manifold, custom Z Car Garage front-mount intercooler, C&R radiator, JWT (Jim Wolf Technology) aluminum flywheel and heavy-duty clutch. A Ford Lightning MAF is mated with JWT computer controls. A Z32 TT fuel pump with an in-tank basket supplies fuel and DEFI gauges bring vital information to the driver. Full Ground Control suspension with 5-way adjustable Tokicos endows the car with mechanical grip. Custom 993 Porsche brakes on all four corners quickly bring the Z to a stop when close to 9 inches of rubber makes contact with the ground. The 16x7 Panasport wheels are wrapped in 225/50/16 Kumho Victor Racer V700 tires. It's a tight package to say the least.
After a decade of teasing, the monster finally peaked out the tailpipe ready to partake in some action. With the enthusiasm of Rob and the crew at Z Car Garage, this monster is likely to have a good ol' time.
1970 Datsun 240Z
440 Whp 380 lb-ft @ 19 PSI
1999 Skyline GTS Driveline
GReddy RB intake manifold
Nismo 740cc injectors
Ford Lightning MAF 90mm
Q45 throttle body
TiAL 38mm wastegate
3.5" into 3" mandrel-bent exhaust
Turbo Tom's megaphone tip
A'PEXi Super AFC
JWT Aluminum flywheel
JWT HD clutch
Nissan comp R180 differential with 4:37 ratio
Tokico 5-way adjustable Illumina shocks
ST front and rear anti-sway bars
993 911 brakes
Wheels & Tires:
16x7 Panasport wheels