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
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."
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.