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Radiator Support panels, from scratch (inc lower)

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Hi all,

as some of you may have seen of late severl posts/topics of everything to do with restoring/replacing or retrofitting.

here is another one of them.

Aimed at ones whom want a fresh start, with the usual 'looser of any front end battles'.

here is the start, the very start, of all the hours I put in to a relatively complex development, hours upon hours of measuring, drawing/drafting,

checking, cussing & re-drawing and re-drawing again anad again until they are perfect  (or nearly there).


This Development is not neccessarilly one I need myself but I do already have the need for the below pictured lower box section,

The 3rd pic, is also a layout of the front panel from top to bottom, which I am currently working on, again I didnt NEED it but it would be nice to put a new one in and also to help out others.

now the only thing left up front it the top cross piece which houses the bonnet latch & corner gussets amongst others.


Ill try to keep this thread pretty clear, there will be a few extra bank posts below, for future updates.

Cheers Nat0




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Ok guys and girls.

here is 4 pics of the next step of making the radiator support panel.

this is only a 'first-off' blank which will be used as a mockup only, so it WILL get used and abused and then thrown in the scrap metal pile....


The pics below show

#1 the blank, as cut, from the laser. it does have a series of end lines aswll as other detail which is used to mark/indentify where forms and other pressing marks are added.

there are also very small pierce holes to position where the factory spotwelds were (on the donor pannel in hand, as they do differ from car to car, this is moreso a guide more than anything for re-spot-welding).


#2 Is the 2nd version of the lower rad support box section, showing the infill pieces, (voids in the flat blanks, when folding but not when stamped by factory)

these pieces will get trimmed up and very discretely welded and finished in place.


#3 Is a pic of aquick rough out of where the formed side flange, where normally wiped over by production press, now roughed out by hammer/dolly and anvil edges.

this could be done much better, by shrinking the external edge flange and stretching the internal edge flange this not distorting the main panel so much and giving a nicer overall finish.

You will aslo see that in this pic I have paired up the lower box section and the main panel for visual mockup (to make sure I have done it the right way more than anything!)


#4 Again just for visual reference, both parts almost standing up on their own accord. Note the lower section not quite sitting central, was a lil rushed taking pic before they fell over.


More to come, next post will have some mold presslines added to mimick the "factory look" and to siffen it up, You will also notice that none of the factory holes/cutouts have had their formed lip added, im saving this for rev.2 this week, but will be busy knocking out all the floor rails I think!!






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more pics and points of interest.

#1 Showing the back (engine bay side) of the main front panel, you can see some distortion (te be plenished upon install) this was what I was reffering to in above post, but im sure the likes of Ledge and few other guys about the place will have this sorted, real easy.


#2 with some added press lines, although I am likely to change this up a little, but nothing too drastic,

Will add larger radii bends and also make the offset deeper than what you can see.


#3 another angle showing the relefs and also the distortion these extra pressed ribs add to the panel.

Also note there is also a top flange to be added to this development (which will aid in stiffening this panel aswell as keeping it flatter along the top),

but I had limited in time to finish drawing this, amongst having other constraints on the day.


I also have a Video im yet to upload to youtube, about 2 vids both about 60Mb, of the actual cutting of these puppies on the laser itself, some of you which may be interested. Ill post a link when I get them up there.


Also on a side note I am thinking of running 2 smaller intercoolers up front. one on each side and tucked as far, to each side, as practical to the main opening,

thus allowing a bit more radiator thru flow,

this is dependant on how many times I change my mind in the meantime,

I will have to look at a custom pattern to allow the intercooloer piping to route through the rad support exactly where i need it to, so I dont have to elongate holes or enlarge existing cutouts. The Z rad support panel is already really generous in holes/openings for this, although I dont think they will suit very well, But we shall see.





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Updates June 2014

dont worry about the quick clamp, was there so I could mock it up and remove easily,

as i didnt want to scratch up the galv paint which was fresh,

overall pretty hapy with fit, will go the one piece design over the 3 piece for the box section, it will comout better than the one in the pics..

Note the M8 riv-nuts for horn mounting, already installed! Only thing I didnt check was the thread pitch on the bolt, but its M8 fine from memory.

Hope you like, and PS the 260z front section is ALREADY developed, (as i had to make one for my own car, so can do the 260z lower one also)


Keep in mind the front rails for the 240 & 260's are slightly different, the gap between the rails on the 260's is 10mm wider (5mm per side) at the front where the rails taper outward for the radiator,

as they have a greater offset up front, (same however rearward of this!!!!)

this effects the rad supports also, so if you have a butchered car, (ie had a 260z rail put on a 240z) the rad support WILL need slight mods to match the rails...unless you buy some new ones from me also!!! ;)

cheers Nat0







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You are doing some great work there, nato.


I see a time when you have built firewall, trans tunnell, 'A' pillars, windscreen mounts, vallence tunnel ..... well a new car!!!

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The work you're doing here is awesome and will be greatly appreciated when you make some more quantaties  ;D

No point doing all this R&D without commercial gain  ;)

It may cost a bit up front, but by looks of it, you'll save in labour!

Look forwards to seeing the finished product

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an update,

I have a 260z front rad supt, which needed the inner panel replaced,

here an alternative for the above, including a quick snap of the install too.

Thanks to Ledge, for the offset bead rolling.

Cheers Nat0





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Hey nat0, I sent you a PM about this a few months ago. I'm just confirming my interest for this piece here as well!

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yours rusted out too???    lol

just the back section??? or the front box section too?



Yup, mine looks horrible. I'd take everything, I'd rather start over and do it well than hack up my already hacked up front end to make it look stock again.

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Mmmmm, Interest...lol

can someone start/take a tally of who wants/needs what???? nah I better do this....SEE NEXT POST


You will also need to be 'very' model specific, possibly need to offer the pics to differentiate between the, at least 3 types I have come across thus far.

Also the chassis rails on the 240z to 260z differ in where the narrow down, about 5mm per side, thus also effects the parts ive made..

other variances I have noticed (which effect the lower rad support):-


-shallow offset in center section

-LH rail end has either 1 or 2 holes for a tow-hook bracket?

-open type formed oblongs (on back panel)

-some have slots, some holes for the locating of the horn brackets (from memory, been that long since Ive had an assembled car!!!!)



-Closed type, formed oblongs (not open like 240z)

-Much lower offset/drop in center section

-taller higher center grille mount (to compensate for the lower box-section)



Things Id need to know:-

-Model- 240z / 260z / 2+2?

-Year -

-Picture if possible, or please ID one of the pics supplied.

-Pieces you'll need, ie back panel, front box section, (brackets not yet done, but could be?)

-Measurement between the 2 rails, at the front where they narrow (mainly important if the car has had a rail change in its life or is seriously out of shape from an accident(s)

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SkipZ, they are about to, as there has been, finally, a reprieve from workshop moves of late, amongst other interest in these and other parts of late.

Its been a busy last year, with the arrival of my first child, Workshop re-location (which was a nightmare), but now to a much nicer workshop where I should be able to excel,

the old place was holding me back a little.......

Note to others, these will be finished, I was very close to a 'sale-able' product previously...but was distracted with the 260z lower inner above in this post, to finish a front end I needed as a donor.


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hi nato, please add me to the list for a 240z radiator support panel (when you are ready)



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Nato I am going to need new rails (at least from firewall back and may also need a radiator support section (mine has had a minor tap up front, but not sure how bad it is yet till I get the left hand fender off). So put me down as interested. Happy to supply pics of a 1970 240z for reference if needed.


I may also want this section for the 72 (in future).

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made a couple of lower sections only, had my balls broken so I got my sh it together!!!!

see below the first couple made complete.

Back panel of the box section was formed by hand, (not on Ledges bead-roller/swaging machine), as I dont have that machine myself, and the run up the hill was to hard at the time....

This is the early to late 240z-Only,  style lower rad support-tie rail.

These were made in 3 sections and then fabricated back into a one-piece unit, although I probably wouldnt make them like this again as it took way to many hours to complete.

I reckon my first attempt in the first post was the easier way and the finish would be even better.......

Enjoy these pics, will add to post # 3 or 4 for 1st page visitors.....






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