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 |   |  Datsun Skyline, 240Z, & Sunny - Triple Threat
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Datsun Skyline, 240Z, & Sunny - Triple Threat

Passion knows no boundaries, as Carbon Signal demonstrates with three old-school Datsuns

Jonathan Wong
Feb 20, 2019
Photographer: Ginash George

When you imagine where the best old school builds can be found, you naturally lean toward one of two places: Southern California and Japan. But Dubai? Normally, that makes us think of beautiful, towering structures and the world's most luxurious or exotic super/hyper cars—not exactly where you'd expect to find classic J-tin. Carbon Signal Automotive (CS) might not be a familiar name to most, but it's quickly mastered what neither the best in California or Japan can do yet, which is what's helped put its name onto the map.

CS was founded by Aamir Ali and Lotfi Aichour, who originally did this part-time, since they had careers in healthcare and IT, respectively. They started off by making Nissan Z34 goodies, such as aero parts, which includes their famous Moonbeam widebody kit for the G37, a popular item for American enthusiasts. "We built a brand with that crowd," Aamir explains. "We were consistent in that we never copied any designs, and we always strived to produce what we designed." Because of this, Nissan Middle East contracted CS to develop the GT Edition kit for the 370Z, of which they produced a total of 150 units exclusively for Middle Eastern countries. CS has had its fair share of challenges being a small business in Dubai, but it is continuously expanding thanks to its quality craftsmanship: "We hope the products speak for themselves, and we're always trying to improve where we can." But they've made the biggest splash by creating restoration interior parts that have found their way onto high-profile builds, such as the S30 Zs owned by actor Sung Kang (Fugu Z) and Chris Forsberg. Once that happened, there was no turning back.

Recently, the shop's partners completed a trio of projects with a matching theme, which, like Dubai's majestic buildings, demonstrates how amazing their craftsmanship is, and serves as proof that passion is what's necessary in order to make a dream succeed, instead of where it is on Earth that you call home.

A 240K BY ANY OTHER NAME IS A KENMERI

1974 datsun 240K carbon signal kenmeri front lip Photo 5/27   |   1974 Datsun 240K Carbon Signal Kenmeri Front Lip

It's been said that the older generation in Dubai have extremely fond memories of the Datsun 240K, which is rated as the most desirable Japanese nostalgic car to own. What's a 240K you ask? We know it best as the Kenmeri Skyline KGC110. And, like in the rest of the world, finding parts to restore this chassis is difficult and expensive, which led CS to investing in parts for OEM restorations.

"Unfortunately, most local Hakosukas and Kenmeris are being stripped for parts since there are no readily available OEM parts," Aamir says. "This is why we want to offer enthusiasts our products rather than seeing them bite the dust. These cars are meant to be driven, not stripped for financial gain."

1974 datsun 240K L24 engine Photo 9/27   |   1974 Datsun 240K L24 Engine

Lotfi's Kenmeri is a prime example of simplicity: The engine bay houses an L24 that sees a pair of Weber carbs and not much of anything else, with the exception of MSD ignition components, a Mishimoto radiator, and Carbon Signal's trim pieces (see the front end). The chassis has been painstakingly restored, sprayed Nardo Grey, fitted with the company's Moonbeam carbon aero pieces, and slammed with Stance coilovers over a set of exclusive, and very aggressively sized, SevenK wheels.

THIS IS WHAT S30 DREAMS ARE MADE OF

Although the newer Z is what helped CS get started, it's the S30 chassis that propelled it to fame. What good is having a shop demo if it isn't an S30? Aamir's was the first to sport the European Nardo Grey paint, which he and Lotfi loved so much that it was also used on the Kenmeri and Hakotora in this feature. The chassis was fully restored and sprayed glossy smooth, then fitted with Carbon Signal's G-nose carbon kit, three-piece spoiler, and rear bumper. Inside and out, Aamir's Z is full of carbon-fiber details with a dashboard wrapped in Alcantara and leather, along with seats and door panels that see a mixture of Napa leather and basket-weave fabric. Staying true to their Z34 roots, the CS team dropped a VQ into the engine bay for more modern, reliable power that the L series could only dream of. The suspension has been heavily tuned, with a full catalog of Techno Toy Tuning components to improve the S30's handling. By the way Aamir's Z looks, we'd love to see it rip up and down an open highway in Dubai, maybe someday in SoCal, or on the Osaka kanjo!

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST...

You might be shocked to discover that unlike the S30 and Kenmeri, a Sunny is one of the least desirable Datsuns in the Middle East (I know we were...). But the beauty of that is you can build one and shock the global community regardless. Because we rarely see a Sunny in the first place, seeing one that's been converted into a Hakotora is always a treat. Mohammad Khalid Al Sabah didn't need to do as much as Lotfi or Aamir, but heloved the styling of their cars so much that he decided the best course of action to take was to mimic theirs whenever possible. This includes the restoration of the chassis and Nardo Grey paint, but adding the Carbon Signal Moonbeam Hakosuka front end (to create the Hakotora), which are its most striking features, in addition to the Watanabe-esque Atara Racing wheels. It's far from slammed, but it's still an aggressive and meaty setup that makes it a stunner.

By Jonathan Wong
507 Articles
Datsun Skyline, 240Z, & Sunny - Triple Threat
Tuning Menu
1974 Datsun 240K (KGC110)
Owner: Lotfi Aichour
Hometown: United Arab Emirates
Occupation: Partner, Carbon Signal
Engine: Nissan L24 re-bored with oversized flat-top pistons; dual Weber DCOE carburetors; MSD 6AL ignition with oil and plug leads; Mishimoto aluminum radiator with dual fans; Fujitsubo L-series headers; Rubber Soul straight pipe exhaust
Footwork & Chassis: Stance 6K coilovers; custom camber plates; Rubber Soul rear lowering kit with 16kg/mm springs; custom GAZ short-stroke shocks
Brakes: Nissan R32 front brake conversion
Wheels & Tires: 16x10 -60 front, 16x11 -80 rear SevenK wheels; 225/45R16 front, 245/45R16 rear Toyo R888 tires
Exterior: Carbon Signal Automotive sandblasted and restored body; Nardo Grey paint; Carbon Signal Kenmeri Moonbeam carbon-fiber widebody fender flares, complete Kenmeri carbon-fiber kit (front lip, front grille, bumpers, rear spoiler, taillight panel); GT-R-style headlights, taillights, badges, emblems
Interior: Custom leather and fabric-wrapped OEM seats, door panels, and dashboard; Carbon Signal carbon-fiber gauge pod, center console accents, A-pillars, GT-R-style roof light; NISMO shift knob; new headliner and carpeting
1972 Datsun 240Z
Owner: Aamir Ali
Hometown: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Occupation: Partner, Carbon Signal
Engine: '06 Nissan VQ35DE engine conversion; custom HKS exhaust; Setrab oil cooler; Griffin radiator with Flex-a-lite fan; Aeromotive fuel system
Drivetrain: '07 Nissan 350Z CD09 six-speed manual transmission; '99 Subaru STI differential; JWT clutch and flywheel
Footwork & Chassis: Techno Toy Tuning coilovers, camber arms, bumpsteer/traction arms, tie-rod ends; Cusco strut bars; MSA sway bars
Brakes: Toyota four-pot front brake kit; Nissan Maxima rear brake kit
Wheels & Tires: 17x10 -65 front, 17x11 -75 rear Atara Racing wheels; 225/40R17 front, 245/40R17 rear Dunlop tires
Exterior: Carbon Signal Automotive sandblasted and restored body; Nardo Grey paint; Carbon Signal Moonbeam JG G-nose carbon-fiber widebody kit, three-piece rear spoiler, rear taillight panel, rear bumper; Datsun Fairlady Z fender mirrors; HID headlights
Interior: Custom Napa leather/fabric Bride seats; Carbon Signal carbon-fiber dashboard, door panels, center console (wrapped in Napa leather and Alcantara); Speedhut/Carbon Signal Moonbeam Series gauges; custom four-point rollcage with Cusco harness; custom aluminum kick plates; NISMO shift knob; Dynamat sound-deadening; new headliner and carpeting
Thanks: "It's impossible to survive without being respected by your peers. We are very lucky as a small business that we have the love and support of many internationally established companies, like Atara Racing, Speedhut, Techno Toy Tuning, and SevenK Wheels; Khalid Bin Hader, Zlatko and Jabir from Airwerks; Carbon Signal team: James, Chris, Zahid, Imran, and Shahbaz; special thanks to Ibrahim Al Shamsi and Danny Foo."
1975 Datsun Sunny 1200 UTE
Owner: Mohammad Khalid Al Sabah
Hometown: Kuwait
Occupation: Partner, Carbon Signal
Engine: Stroked and rebuilt A12 motor; Carbon Signal exhaust
Footwork & Chassis: Stance 8K coilovers; custom camber plates; Carbon Signal rear lowering kit; GAZ short-stroke shocks
Wheels & Tires: 15x9 -13 front, 15x10.5 -32 rear Atara Racing wheels; 205/50R15 front, 225/45R15 rear Nitto NT05 tires
Exterior: Carbon Signal Automotive sandblasted and restored body; Nardo Grey paint; Carbon Signal Moonbeam Hakotora kit, fender mirrors; HID headlights
Interior: Custom leather-wrapped OEM seats and door panels; new headliner and carpeting

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