Sulio's 1974 Datsun 260z
Possibly the most well known Z in the club and certainly the most viewed in our member gallery, belongs to Sulio. Known by his online alias of Toecutter. Sulio is obviously a fan of the Mad Max films, and as you can see from his 1974 260z 2 seater he is also a fan of the Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) look when it comes to this S30 series Z.
Perhaps long overdue, we bring you the detailed story of how Sulio got involved with this cool looking 2 seater and more importantly how he also helped form our online club.
Words from Sulio
Your average Joe will walk past a rusty old Z with faded paint and dented bumpers without much notice. This was the case with my car sitting parked on a busy street in St.Kilda late one summer afternoon in 2001. Well it caught my eye, even with the smashed driver side window most likely violated by some junky looking for a few coins. The window was draped by what must have been the owner’s jumper. I decided to leave a note on the windscreen to see if they might be looking to sell the car. A few days went by and I heard nothing so I forgot about it. Just over a week had passed and I got a call from a guy asking if I was still interested. I sure was…
When buying a rundown classic in most cases the new owner usually has some sort of vision or restoration plan. Whether it be a full restoration strictly using only original parts, a light refresh or a modified retro classic, in many cases the journey to the finished car is just as gratifying as the completed project.
For myself the ownership of an old Z is an ongoing case of “what can be freshened up or improved”. Sometimes I think that’s a list that’s as long as you dare to imagine when you start surfing the net and you see how many goodies are available these days. On a personal level it’s interesting to note how my tastes and plans have changed over the years of Z ownership.
Well this takes us back to 2001. I got out to have a look at the old 74 2 seater that I’d stumbled across and decided I wanted it. And I knew exactly what I wanted the car to look and drive like after my planned refresh…or at least I thought I did. It wasn’t the first Z that I’d owned. The first being a 75 2+2 that was a great daily driver in my possession for about 1 year and half. I’d sold it and I was now once again in between cars. I’d been looking for about 6 months. The car I was looking at had just come from South Australia with the owner having bought it from a friend about a year prior to moving to East St.Kilda.
In Adelaide the car was a daily driver and although mechanically quite good, (apart from a worn second gear synchro), the well worn tatty interior had succumb to the 30+ years of Aussie sun and daily trips to work and the shops. It also needed replacement of the rusted front quarters and bonnet, but the rails and engine bay area were rust free. This suited me as I had sourced a complete 2+2 from a panel beater as a parts car, (this parts car was beyond viable repair but the entire front end was in good condition including the bonnet).
The owner being new to Melbourne was having some trouble sourcing parts like the window and decided the car was of too much work to him. After some brief discussion on the car’s condition we agreed on a figure and the car was mine. Let the fun begin.
Most early Z enthusiasts have got that hawk eye for the old S30. If you get a glimpse of the Z headlights or the unmistakable roofline it tends to turn your head for a second look. After owning a 75 2+2 for just over a year I had the bug however being single at the time meant I didn’t have the need for the extra seats the 2+2 offers. I must admit I was also a sucker for that 2 seater roofline.
I was 28 and I had owned a number of newer cars but needed something with a bit of soul that wouldn’t break the bank. I was car-less and getting around in a borrowed Hilux ute my dad had. The ute was a great daily driver that could be parked overnight without a worry.
When I finally found a 2 seater the plan was to pull the interior out and start refreshing what could be saved whilst the panel beater did his job fixing any small dints and rubbing the car back for its new paint. I had the doors re-skinned as the old ones had too much rust. After stewing over colours for a week I opted for the original burnt orange however changed my mind at the last minute, deciding on red. As with many last minute changes of mind when it comes to the Z, I would later realize the original orange is a colour of great retro appeal and I actually grew to like it very much as saw it on other restored Z’s. No matter, I’m sure the day will come where I need to give her a new paint job and orange again it will be.
You know these cars are just so rust prone you have to count on some body work or a re-spray every ten or so years. I had a friend that spent a nice chunk of money having his 240z prepped and painted in a Mercedes silver. The car was not driven in the rain and religiously garaged. You could just imagine the look on his face when after 4 years a rust bubble formed under the rear hatch on the beaver panel. It’s just a reality with early Z’s, they rust.
I was glad to be at the blank canvas stage. The red paint looked great, and I could see my reflection in the bonnet. It was time for reassembly. New rubber seals and grommets made a big difference in both looks and efficient sealing. The interior was slowly restored with all vinyl being re-trimmed with the closest black diamond press print I could find. Seats were re-padded and reupholstered with new vents and matching grain panels. What a huge difference a new interior makes.
The stock L26 was still pulling strong so I went down the well travelled path of installing a good set of early round top carbs to replace the original 260 flattops often referred to as boat anchors. 280ZX electronic dizzy replaced the old points unit, the three quarter radiator was reconditioned and a set of headers was installed. My initial muffler was a silly straight through type that a small cat could crawl into; one of those you see one the back of Hondas that sound like vacuum cleaners. Maybe good for a turbo but it robbed me of all bottom end power and resonated ridiculously. A 2.25 inch exhaust was installed with the trial and error of three different configurations of hotdogs and mufflers until I finally got the “right” sound. Initial exhaust set up’s were a headache for resonation at freeway driving speeds of 2500 rpm.
As far as wheels and tyres were concerned I had them ready to go and installed the 15x7 superlites that I had stored away. They wore 205x65 at the front and 225x55 at the rear for a nice staggered look with near stock rolling diameter. Soon after KYB shocks with lowered king springs were installed to provided a firmer ride, better response and improved the car’s appearance with a drop of about 1 1/2" inches. Well, that was it – a nice, clean 260Z. The car was a joy to drive, with a nice crisp engine note and nice cornering feel.
The Z served as a daily driver for a couple of years and never missed a beat. In 2004 I changed jobs and the new role offered a company car so the old Z found a resting place in the garage only coming out as an occasional weekend warrior.
Now a few years had gone by since the car had come out of the paint shop. As expected my appreciation for the old Z's had grown and I was often amazed at some of the painstaking restorations that went for years, with every bolt either cleaned, purchased new or treated to some sort of resurfacing. I always liked to read and look at the these cars, however not being that patient, wealthy or a purist I found more appeal to the modified Japanese cars and the original ZG cars offered in the Japanese Domestic Market. I must admit, when I first bought my Z I found things like ZG flares a bit vulgar, but the more I looked at these cars the more I grew to like the aggressive, pumped look
Although many like the flared out ZG look on a Z; to do it properly with the wider offset wheels and tyres, there is some cutting and welding of the rear wheel arches. Although reversible it is costly so you need to be sure this is the look you want for the car. I umm’d and arr’d for some time and even bought some hub adaptors to accept bolt on modern wheels. This allowed me to fit some 17 inch Lenso C5 wheels. These were ok, but it really didn’t cut it for me. The aggressive ZG look was a must. So in went the car for a chop and weld on the arches. Ash (Auszcar member zr240) provided some ZG flares and rear fin spoiler. He also supplied a front air dam that looked great, (however I later sold and replaced a poly unit, as I said earlier the internet is not always your friend). I ordered some 17 inch three piece ROH wheels with custom offsets that worked a treat. They were fitted with 225x45 front and 255x40 rear tyres.
Turning my attention back to the motor I’d sourced a stock L28 so in she went. Although the L28 (N42/N42 combo) was a little tired it had noticeably more torque that the L26. A set of 40mm triple Dellorto carbs were fitted for that great induction noise and a little more power. The car felt great. Some aftermarket racing seats, a new Brown Davies half cage and some harnesses provided a little more safety. Slotted and cross drilled DBA discs, the standard Hi-Lux front calipers upgrade and a rear disc upgrade provided that extra stopping power. A larger reconditioned master cylinder was also required to get it all working right. Coil overs followed however a final selection on inserts has’nt been made. Adjustable Koni’s would be nice however at this stage Tokico Alumina’s might have to be the go when funds allow. I’m at the stage where the car is fun to drive. Hill climb events are in mind but not before the new shocks are in. As far as that job is concerned I keep saying maybe this weekend, well it just may be this weekend!
Sulio, (AKA Toecutter)
Sulio has now decided to part ways with his pride and joy and has placed his car for sale.
|Vehicle Category||Details and Modifications|
|Previous Rides:||Datsun 260z 2+2|
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|Wheels and Tyres:||