Mark Rolston's RB26DETT Powered 240z



What happens when you mix a car enthusiast a Datsun 240z and a Nissan Skyline RB26DETT engine? The answer a great handling, spectacular looking Zcar with boosted power to boot. After previously owning a later Datsun 280z (only available in the American Market), which eventually rusted out. Mark finally came across an earlier 1971 Datsun 240z which in near stock standard condition, but that was about to all change.

The Story behind Mark Rolston's RB26DETT 240z

Mark explains to us how he always loved the early Zcar shape with its balanced handling and the relative ease at which it is to work on a Zcar. Mark loved the fact that the Zcar community is extremely helpful and passionate about their car.

For 10 years now Mark has owned this 1971 Datsun 240z, but it hasn't always been the fire breathing RB26DETT powered beast it is today. Infact at first, Mark admits he only really just kept the old L28 running. It wasn't long before the customisation bug bit and he decided to rebuild the engine, slap in a roll cage and bolt on fender flares.

Like most of us, however it rarely ends there. Infact after living with the bolted on fender flare look, Mark decided to go with a smoother more modern integrated flare look. In Mark's own words it turned out fantastic, and we certainly won't disagree.

Owning a Zcar isn't all fun and games

After having fun in his Zcar, Mark experienced something all older car owners are accustomed to. That is breaking something. This time it was the L28 that broke, while racing at Texas World Speedway.

This time however Mark opted for what most Z owners have probably considered on more than one occassion. None other than the Rb26DETT first found in the Nissan Skyline GTR (R32). Known for it's ability to produce an enourmous amount of power with only a few simple modifications, the RB26 has proved itself in many races to be a reliable and very competitive engine.

The good thing about putting one in a Zcar is the fact that it's part of the evolution of design process in fact it's development can be traced back to the earlier Zcar L-series engine. Although Mark admits putting a V8 in it would have probably been alot easier and involved fewer headaches. One reason for this is that the RB26DETT was never released to the US market.

What's the new RB26 engine like?

It's completely transformed the car, it's the best modification made so far as Mark says "it's a beast". No suprises there in fact with over 600HP on tap, in a car as light as a 240z, it has no problem eating newer cars for breakfast on the race track. Whereas before the 240z would catch on corners, and struggle on the straights, it was now flying around corners and down the straights.

The car goes fast, but does it stop and handle just aswell?

The answer to that question is it sure does, Mark installed Wilwood calipers on front and rear to help slow the Z bullet to a rest, suspension has been enhanced with Tokico adjustable struts. Eibach springs help firm up the car on all 4 corners. The car has been dropped 2-3" from standard ride height to lower it's centre of gravity. Customised control arms, mustache bar and diff mount were supplied by Arizona Zcar. To top off the handling Boze Mesh 18x11s are fitted on all four corners, with Hoosier Slicks 285/35/18s to help keep the car sticky.

Custom Bodywork

The body is stock except for the wheel flares, hood, front and rear spoiler. The hood and wheel flares are custom made by Al’s Bodyworks in Austin, Texas (512-836-1851). The flares are fiberglass and the hood is dry-carbon fiber. He’s got the molds for anyone who wants to do the same thing.

Special Thanks

Chris Olney did most of the mechanical labor and built the engine.
Al’s Bodyworks did a fantastic job with the custom bodywork and paint.

Build Time

10 years progressively

Cost to date

If you must ask then it’s more than you want to spend ;-)

Advice for anyone else building a similar car

Enjoy the process as much as the results.

Further information and details

You can read more about Mark's project and racing progress on his blog:

Member Ride Specifications

Vehicle Category Details and Modifications
Name: Mark Rolston
  • 95-97 Nissan RB26DETT
  • Compression Ratio: 8.75 to 1
  • Bored: .5mm
  • Camshafts: Tomei PONCAM (lift) 10.2mm (duration) 260 in / 270 ex
  • Connecting Rods: Stock
  • Pistons: CP RB26
  • Piston Rings: Total Seal Gapless
  • Crankshaft: Stock
  • Head: Stock
  • Modifications: basic port job
  • Valves: Stock
  • Valve Springs: Tomei performance upgrade
  • Valve Retainers: stock
  • Intake Manifold: modified stock- intake runners lengthened 3" after the throttle bodies
  • Fuel Injection: Autronic SM4 computer
  • Fuel Injectors: Precision 1000cc
  • Fuel Regulator: Aeromotive A1000
  • Fuel Pump: Aeromotive A1000
  • Fuel Rail: Custom dual-feed
  • Air Intake: Custom dual 3" into 4"
  • Throttle Body: Stock
  • Exhaust: Custom downpipes and piping. Dual Magnaflow mufflers
  • Headers:Tomei Expreme
  • Cam Gears: Tomei Adjustable
  • Ignition: 034 EFI high current with ignitors
  • Turbocharger: Twin Garrett 28 71R
  • Turbo Intercooler and Pipes: custom piping and intercooler
  • Turbocharger Boost Controller: Autronic SM4
  • Oil Pan: Custom 5qt
  • Radiator: Northern dual-pass
  • Custom spark plug cover
  • HKS oil pump
  • External oil cooler
  • External accusump oil reserve system
  • 1995 Nissan Z32 Transmission mated to RB26 housing
  • Axles: customized Nissan Z31 Turbo axles and CV, custom drive shaft
  • Limited Slip Differential Nismo R200
  • Shift Lever: Custom modified stock Z32 lever to fit the car
  • Clutch: HKS dual-disk
Suspension & Brakes:
  • Front Springs/Coilovers: Eibach 385lb/in
  • Front Shocks: Tokiko Adjustables
  • Front Antiroll/Stabilizer Bar: Stock 21mm
  • Rear Springs/Coilovers: Eibach 345lb/in
  • Rear Shocks: Tokiko Adjustables
  • Rear Antiroll/Stabilizer Bar: Suspension Techniques 19mm
  • Front and Rear Lowering: estimated about 2-3" from stock.
  • Custom Arizona Zcar billet front suspension arms, rear differential mounting and mustache-bar.
  • Front: Wilwood Custom 6 piston 13.3"
  • Rear: Wilwood Custom 4 piston 12.5"
Wheels and Tyres:
  • Street Tires: Hoosier Wets 285/35/18s
  • Race Tires: Hoosier Slicks 285/35/18s
  • Street Wheels: Boze Mesh 18x11s on all four corners
  • Race Wheels: Complete Custom Wheels (CCW) Classic 18x11
  • Autometer Gauges
  • Cobra Racing Seats
  • Roll Cage
  • Aftermarket Steering Wheel
  • Porsche Turbo Gray with White Racing Stripes
  • 432 (BRE-style) spoiler from motorsport auto
  • Front Airdam
  • Moulded Wheel Flares