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1973 Datsun 240Z - Modern Nostalgia

Classic Z with a modern touch finds new life with a new owner

Austin Lott
Oct 3, 2018
Photographer: Danh Phan

When Daniel Ojeda first saw this '73 Datsun 240Z, it was at a car meet in Houston where he met the owner, Edgar De La Fuente. Daniel, who was driving a second-gen Toyota MR2 at the time, was drawn to the classic. The Z was sporting a different body kit but the same engine: a twin-turbocharged VQ35 from a Nissan 350Z. It's the sort of thing we'd be drawn to as well, so we can't blame him.

1973 datsun 240z marugen shoukai rear fender flares Photo 2/24   |   1973 Datsun 240Z Marugen Shoukai Rear Fender Flares

Late '17, Edgar decided to part ways with his Z, but by the time Daniel got to it, the car had been partially parted out. Most of the body kit was sold, the Aspen Green paint was sanded down, and the seats were gone. "The car was a shadow of her former self," he told us. Thankfully, the VQ and turbos were left alone. Daniel chose to bring it back to life with his own style, making the Z even more aggressive than before.

Up front, he installed a Pandem front air dam and front fenders but kept the Marugen Shoukai rear flares that were already on the Z. The front flares had to be trimmed to accommodate a pair of trick side-exit exhausts. Daniel did all the work himself, but turned to a local shop to spray the Racing Green Metallic paint he picked out. "I figured it looked good green, but I wanted my own shade of it," he said. The OEM Datsun color is complemented by a staggered set of 18-inch Avant Garde F141 wheels in champagne gold.

1973 datsun 240z VQ35DE swap Photo 6/24   |   1973 Datsun 240Z VQ35DE Swap

The interior is a combination of 350Z and function over form. The gold rollcage, bright red bucket seats, and green Takata harnesses were added to make the cabin pop and carry a race-inspired theme.

The long engine bay is home to the VQ35 and six-speed manual from a '05 350Z, not to mention a pair of turbos and a bit of custom work from the previous owner, Edgar. Edgar is also responsible for the V-mounted intercooler and radiator, as well as swapping in the wiring harness, ECU, gauge cluster, dash, and steering column from the Z33 into the classic Z. When all was said and done, the setup is good for a reliable 440 hp at 10 psi of boost.

1973 datsun 240z OEM 350Z dash Photo 10/24   |   1973 Datsun 240Z OEM 350Z Dash

Daniel's Z is the sort of car you go out and enjoy on weekends, and that's just what he's done with it. Unfortunately, when unexpected medical bills came up, he was forced to unload the Z. The right offer came along and the car was shipped overseas to Israel to its new owner. We're afraid this might be the last you'll see of this S30 on U.S. soil, but what's next? Daniel's going to resume where he left off on his MR2 project, which he still owns, but is also thinking about an RX-7 or S2000. He added, "It all depends on how life plays out, really."

1973 datsun 240z kirkey racing seats Photo 14/24   |   1973 Datsun 240Z Kirkey Racing Seats
1973 datsun 240z avant guard f141 wheel Photo 21/24   |   1973 Datsun 240Z Avant Guard F141 Wheel
By Austin Lott
14 Articles
1973 Datsun 240Z - Modern Nostalgia
Tuning Menu
Owner: Daniel Ojeda
Hometown: Houston, TX
Occupation: Student
Power: 440 hp
Engine: '05 Nissan 350Z VQ35DE swap; twin CXRacing GT35 turbos; TiAL 50mm blow-off valve; 38mm wastegates; custom dual fender-exit exhaust, V-mount intercooler and radiator setup; 600cc injectors; Bosch 044 fuel pump; 16-gallon fuel cell
Drivetrain: '05 Nissan 350Z six-speed manual transmission and differential; ACT stage 4 clutch; custom axles
Engine Management: stock ECU with UpRev reflash
Footwork & Chassis: Custom coilovers with Swift springs; Techno Toy Tuning suspension arms
Wheels & Tires: 18x11" -10 front, 18x12" -44 rear Avant Garde F141 wheels in Champagne Gold; 265/35R18 front, 275/35R18 rear Nexen N3000 tires
Exterior: Pandem front air dam and fender flares; Marugen Shoukai rear fender flares; Retro-spec carbon-fiber three-piece spoiler, door handles, taillight panel; JDM metal fender mirrors; repainted OEM Racing Green Metallic
Interior: Kirk Racing seats, six-point rollcage; Takata four-point harnesses; Skillard door panels; Vertex steering wheel; OEM 350Z dash, steering column, center console
Thanks: Edgar for giving me the opportunity to own the car; the Mayday Garage guys for the car meets that got me into the scene; Elbonjosh Shop for the awesome paint

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