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.
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.
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.
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:
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