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Big Red-racer rebuilt


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#1 bluerat

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 05:43 PM

Howdy, I thought I might start a thread on my 240z, I hope I dont bore you too much with it's history, but I have found it very interesting tracking all this down, hopefully you might to?

The Zed was origanally built in Hobart by Craig Chivers and Craig Larrson in 1988. Craig and Craig had been campaigning a 1600 for a number of years in the Tas Rally championship and with the change from Group G to PRC a new car had to be built and a 240Z as the smart choice at the time. The car was built up as a serious contender, with all the best bits they could find. The engine was a 'mild' L24 due to the very restrictive PRC (Production Rally Car) rules, but was built to rev, as much as it could through the std twin carbs and exhaust manifold.

The gear box was a genuine ex-works Stanza option 1 (yes, this was verified last year!) the the diff is a R200 4.4 fitted with a Torsen centre, purchased off Nismo. Jamie Drummond built the 40mm Bilsteins up, with shortened struts and adjustable platforms fitted, and the brakes are Falcon vented discs with 4 spot Volvo calipers all round. During the build some new front rails were bent up out of heavier gauge steel and fitted along with an alloy cage and extra bracketing in the engine bay and floor as well as seam welding.

Talking to Craig Larrson it seems that no stone was left unturned in the build and the end product was a real credit to them. The car's first event was the St Helens rally 1988, where it came in 3rd (my current 1600 came second, with it's original owner!!). Craig and Craig campaigned the car until 1991, doing six or seven State rounds, with a best result of second outright in the 1991 Hellyer Rally. Chivers sold his half of the car to Chris Long in 1992. Chris is a very well known rally driver down here in Tassie, with his father, Ray being a multiple Tas rally champion and Chris a hard charger from way back. Chris and Craig Larsson campaigned the car until Aug '94 doing mainly State rounds and usually winning their class. Chris was keen to move on to his new Starion and sold the Zed to Smithton farmer, David House who sold the ex Portman Bluebird to buy it! Housey being a busy guy, only ran it a few times over the next three years, but importantly had a new 'fire breather' engine built in 1996, as the PRC rules had freed up alowing major engine mods....more on that later.

Now we get to Rog, Roger Brownrigg that is, who was a young keen rallydriver who, like everyone else, started rallying a couple of 1600's with some success. Back in the mid to late 90's there was an excellent series going on all round Australia, called the ARN (Aust Rallysport news) Junior Rally championship, where drivers had to be under 25, and the car under 3 ltrs. Basically each State held qualifying rounds, usually State or bigger club events, each State winner then went to the Rally of Canberra to battle it out for the overall winner. The first one was won by a bloke called Cody Crocker, you might of heard of him? our Tassie rep was a young Jamie Vandenburg. The next year Roger won the Tassie section in his RX3 after a close tussle with Jamie all season. Roger then came 2nd in the final to South Australian Dave Hall in his mighty black 240Z. This of course got Rog thinking.....gotta get a Zed!!

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#2 Scando

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 07:26 PM

Keep at it buddy.  I'm looking forward to seeing the 2009 onwards part of this story  :)

#3 bluerat

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 08:53 PM

2009, I've still got 12 years to go....

Well as you may have guessed, Roger rang Housey when he got home, sorted out a price, sold the Mazda (smart move!! It went to Qld by the way...) and brought the Zed back to Wynyard in June of 1997. He teamed up with local hotshot Navigator, Brendon Spurr and went chasing the Jnr challange. It didnt start to well with a couple of dnf's but they ended up with a win at the Southern Safari, the Tasmanian round of the ARC. The Final was the Rally of Melbourne in Sept of 1997, were they ended up second again to Rowan Quill in a RX-7. Next event was the Bitumen Rally Tasmania, where Rog and Spurry started car 35...and ended up second in the classics behind Leigh Munday in his very quick 911 RSR. This is where the Airborne shots come from, the in-car footage is off the show!! with poor Spurry getting louder and louder. The photo ended up in several magazines that month. It's a very freeky crest with a corner right on the brow, everyone else backed off!! Next up was Targa Tas 98, where he teamed up with fly-in New Zealand navigator Dr. Neil Goodwin. Targa is a handicap event where baically the more mod's the greater the handicap, so in full gravel spec they didnt have much hope of a result but had a great time, featuring on the offical video several times goofing off...

In 1999 and 2000 the car basically came out for Rally Tas and a couple of Symmons clubdays and local hillclimbs. For Rally Tas they ran the car with fuel injection so they were put into ouright where he came 8th outright in 1999 with Andrea Smith in the silly seat and 16th outright after a few problems in 2000 with Glen Weston navigating, another bloke you may of heard of??

Roger parked the Zed in 2000, after going to far playing with cam timing and tapping the pistons with the valves, started pulling it apart but got busy with a new business venture and a new house. He gravel rallied a very tired 200B in the local series, driving it like the animal he was. Sadly Rog passed away in a tragic scuba accident on Australia day 2003. The NWCC named a new trophy after him, which is very hotly contested every year. He is missed very much.

I brought the car off Chantell, Rogers partner in Aug last year, 2008 and started work on it straight away...

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#4 bluerat

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Posted 19 May 2009 - 09:03 PM

Some more action photos.....I have heaps!! I took a lot of shots of this car over the years.

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#5 bluerat

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 04:56 PM

First job, was to move it down to my mates shed in Smithton (my shed was full of 1600's), then whip out the suspension which got sandblasted by the boys at Wynyard sandblasting, then primed and painted in good old matt black. This was all put back in with new ball joints, next was the steering rack which copped  new boots, bushes and the ball joints were fine so back in they went after a clean up and new rubber boots, I plan to change to rose joints here after its rego'd. The car was already fitted with nolathene bushes all round, which stayed in. I found some offset rears in with the spares, which might go in after the first wheel alignment.

The gearbox has been subject to much debate and research over the last six months, as I didn't get the option 1 with the car, as I already own one (and it would be over kill on a toquey 3 ltr), It finally was decided to try a 260Z box first before getting something built up. On paper they look ok, but until the engine is built and we've done a few events it's hard to tell. The diff has scored some new bearings and bushes, we got onto Torsen in the USA and they sent us a full set of diagrams to check the centre whichs look Aok, I was told it cluncked and banged something shocking but after talking to Torsen, and Craig the orginal owner this model does it from new as it was a very early one.

How do we stand at the moment?? well young Zack has started on the bodywork, no rust yet but theres more dents hidden under the bog than he first thought!! the engine bay is almost ready for painting, I picked up my new rims, some 16 by 8 Superlites which were my prize for winning the local race series last year, we also fitted some good second hand Bridgestone re55s in med compound off Pete Ullrichs Jenson CV8. The only hold up at the moment is I damaged the engine in my 1600 at the last event, and the new engine is costing more than I hoped.....

Next up get the calipers kitted, and keep on with the bodywork and a coat of jam...what colour?? I'm leaning towards good old Datsun 110 same as the works cars.

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#6 Scando

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 08:17 PM

what colour?? I'm leaning towards good old Datsun 110 same as the works cars.


Yep, I reckon stick with the red.  I'm a sucker for a red Z  ;)

#7 Bruce

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 09:00 PM

the airborne photo is my new wallpaper, what a great photo
cheers
Bruce

#8 nuclear_z

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Posted 21 May 2009 - 07:44 AM


Next up get the calipers kitted, and keep on with the bodywork and a coat of jam...what colour?? I'm leaning towards good old Datsun 110 same as the works cars.


DEfinately keep it red. Keep the history of the vehicle, but possibly a slightly different shade to make it yours?

#9 bluerat

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 01:45 PM

Cool, I was thinking about the red thats on the VZish SS Commodores, my brother is painting his R100 that shade and looks the goods! nice and bright. Mind you a red zed with superlites will be pretty unique, wont it???

This week I've just tinkered about, fixing up and painting the rear tail light surounds and getting the engine bay undercoated ready for paint. My mate just bought a guard roller and we might need it to fit the tyres under, I'll whip the front spring out next week to see how it all fits under the guard??

The new 1600 engine is starting to come along so it's time to start thinking about he Zeds bottom end. We will be keeping it under 3 ltrs to fit in with the local rules, and away from the pesky rotarys. The block is a F54 with a 86mm bore which we will take out to 87mm, this combined with the LD crank, L24 rods and some yet to be worked out pistons, lol, will just put us under the limit, and around 11 to 1 compression is the aim at this stage. The flywheel is off for a little visit to a Jenny Craig lathe and the clutch is a paddle. As you can understand Im not to keen to crack this crank (now theres a good song title!) so a SWR BMW balancer will be fitted. I was told the balancer fitted to the engine is a 240K one not a 280Zx, as in the past the 240K balancer was the hot ticket, Has anybody else tried this?

Anyway, I better get back into the shed.......

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#10 bluerat

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 05:46 PM

I was going through some photo's I took during Targa Tas this year and thought I might post some up. I didnt get many action shots as I was a bit busy at the time.  Most are of the Siddins red 240Z which is a quick thing!! he broke a rim on the second day which put him way down the list, the silver car is Geoff Goodwins '280Z' and I didn't get a photo of the Robin Lowe's silver 240Z which was the other Z car running.

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#11 tbscobraZ

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Posted 28 May 2009 - 06:06 PM

I saw a Z that won targa classic section this year it was awesome and a GTR won the overall. :D

#12 bluerat

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Posted 03 June 2009 - 12:39 PM

Yeah they are a good thing those new GTR's Cobra.

Well, we had a good day on the body work on Sunday, with Zack belting away on the back guard and me rubbing down the fronts. The rear guard dent looked a lot like it was about guide post size...and it was..Rally of Melbourne 1997, last stage, so I've been told. The front guards have the typical rally car dents from rocks flying off the wheels and denting the top underside of the guards, nothing a slight tap and a smeer of bog won't fix. My job now is to rub the rest of the car down with 400 wet and dry, roll the front guards and Zacky will be back in a fortnight to finish the back guard and start on the smaller dents. It's great to be making some progress.

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#13 bluerat

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 04:51 PM

A couple more in the build photo's, I've spent the week rubbing back th shell, and fixing a few small dents around the doors etc. I also dropped out the front spring to check the wheel clearence, and it looks like a guard roller is needed, but with a couple more degrees of camber we might just get the fronts under?? Has anyone else out there fitted 16 by 8 Superlites and 225 tyres all round?? any problems?

Had a bit of luck with parts this week, thanks to Wombat and Tasies 240K Guru, Tom Unreal, I now have a electronic dist. and a set of good front indercators thanks to Weldie. I'm still after a chrome door strip, the one under the window, if anyone has one lying around??

With a bit of luck we should have the major dents pulled next weekend and be started on the smaller ones, again things are moving along nicely....touch wood.

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#14 zed240au

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 08:53 PM

looking good you sure your gonna be able to roll the guards out enough to clear your wheels

#15 Zedman240®

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Posted 07 June 2009 - 09:56 PM

Well, I was running 17x8's with 225 and yes, guards had to be rolled...even on the front! When I had 15x7 with 225's that was ok but with 8" rims, its a definate!

#16 Scando

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 10:20 AM

I take it those pics were taken with the offset strut tops in?  Doesn't seem to be much camber there yet.

#17 bluerat

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Posted 08 June 2009 - 02:16 PM

Yeah the strut top are are in ,and cranked right over!!  I'll wind out the rose joints next as I haven't touched those yet, and I've got another hole or two in the crossmember to try yet as well. I dont mind a small flair Mick, if needed, just trying to work it all out before we get to carried away with the bodywork.

#18 bluerat

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Posted 09 June 2009 - 08:18 PM

Your right there Dimitri, The rears have been done ages ago, and I'm amazed the fronts havn't been. He used to run 205 rally tyres which are huge and 5mm spacers. I better get on to it.

#19 bluerat

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:40 PM

Heres a quick update, we've put in a couple of Sundays since the last post, with things moving along nicely. As you can proberly guess we have found a few dents along the way, but so far no rust in the body, only a little in the pass side floor. Those guard rollers are a magic thing, I've lightly stretched the front guards over the 225's at the front, with only 2 degrees camber on board and the front arms back in the factory crossmember holes. At this stage the rose jointed arms are going, due to not a lot of thread left in the arms and I'm fitting some other modified arms (spares) I have in  stock from the 1600, gotta love Datsun interchangability!!

Next job is weld up a few small cracks in the guard lip's, give the rears guards a quick roll, sand, sand and sand some more!! I found another couple of people with action photo's of the old girl, so I'm looking foward to spying those.

Quick question, do the early 240z's have a different badge on the hatch to the later 240's? photo's would be great!

Catch ya,

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#20 bluerat

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 10:50 PM

Heres some photo's from a few weekends ago, when it was dry!!. we had to push the car up to the house to use the dent puller, as the electrickery in the shed didn't have enough grunt!! that's Zack giving it the big heave ho. I'm loving the big superlites!!

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