Unless you've been entirely preoccupied with more modern builds, then you've probably noticed the uprising of '70s-era restorations and restomod projects that have seemingly stolen the spotlight almost overnight. From the long list of Z cars to the iconic Hakosuka and the countless 2nd and 3rd gen. Corollas, the old-school import chassis has never been more popular to build.
Some might equate the surge in popularity to the fact that, in some regions, these vehicles have a knack for falling outside strict smog guidelines and give builders far more options under the hood. Others think it has something to do with pure nostalgia—taking owners back to their childhoods when their parent were behind the wheel of a family car from this era, motoring them to school and back. For Tama Rind of Bangkok, this Datsun 240Z has been a part of his family for as long as he can remember.
Purchased way back in the day by his father, this S30 was originally yellow. Years ago, after an unfortunate incident, it was sent off to a local body shop for an extended stay, and admittedly the work wasn't top notch. Tama explains, "It was once in an accident long ago and it had been poorly fixed and the color was changed to gold. From there it sat in a garage ever since."
Years later, when Tama finally celebrated his 18th birthday, the keys to that gold Z were handed to him by his father and that's what started his automotive journey. "At that time it still had the stock L24 with twin carbs and a 4-speed gearbox. Since then I've been modifying the car from time to time." The changes were minimal but consistent and about 5 years ago, Tama decided to start all over and build the exact car he wanted after taking some serious inspiration from the Japanese Restoration icons, Rocky Auto.
Fixing the errors of the past, the poorly executed repairs from the car's only accident were corrected, the old paint stripped, and any imperfections taken care of. This was all in preparation for a proper color change using Lamborghini's Aventador Grey. The bumpers, fender flares, rear wing and window trim all received a black coating to offset the grey paint and make for a striking combo with the gunmetal Watanabe wheels. New emblems, lighting lenses and even hardware were replaced or updated to give the 40-year-old chassis a fresh start.
Many times when we see an old school chassis with a reworked exterior, the cabin is often overlooked and left with faded, cracked panels and surfaces. Not the case with in this instance, as Tama installed a set of Bride Histrix buckets which are surrounded by stitch work that runs throughout all of the interior surfaces and transitions to a diamond stitch pattern in the rear. The look remains classic with the modern touches that enhance, rather than hide, the OEM bits.
The real estate under the Z's lengthy factory hood is where many battles are fought. Due to the length and swap-friendly nature of the bay, there are a number of directions this story could go. Some feel that only the original L24 belongs between the Fairlady's fenders, while others, not quite as invested in keeping everything original, opt for something with a little more grunt. For Tama, Nissan's 2.6L inline-6 fit the bill perfectly.
Topped with a custom set of individual throttle bodies and a custom exhaust manifold, the RB26 was also fitted with Tomei rods and pistons before being bolted to its 5-speed manual. An HKS F Con makes the executive decisions while a GReddy aluminum radiator and a one-off swirl-pot handle cooling duties.
Some might call it a trend, but we see the recent influx of old-school restomod builds as a once niche group finally getting its just due. Tama isn't someone that caught the bug and decided to jump into the deep end—he's been wading in the waters since childhood and finally got the chance to put his personal touch on things.