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Wags

Wags’ 240z nut and bolt restoration

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Here is my project journal for the restoration of my 73 Datsun 240z.

The car was bought by my dad in 1974. The original owner bought it only to find out that his partner was pregnant with his first child. Needless to say, the 2 seater had to go. My dad was the lucky new owner and bought it with less than 1000miles on the clock.

My dad and his 240z were inseparable. So much so, that my brothers and sister more or less grew up in that car. He loved that car from the first time he drove it and he still talks about it. It was his pride and joy and almost became a friend he could journey with and rely on. As time went by though, it got a bit sad as family and life got in the way. It slowly became a bit unreliable and it was stored. 

However, when I was 16 the car had a very light fix up (to a mechanically drivable state) and a new coat of paint applied to the outside (external only) and it was re-registered.

I drove the car for 10 years. I learned to love and rely on the z the same way that my dad did. It became a friend and companion who it just loved having around and going on adventures with. It taught me how to drive...I swear it has a soul. This went on for quite some time until I moved to Canberra and the Canberra winters got the best of it and it was retired into a garage...until now. 

So after much research and deliberation, I put myself on the waiting list for Classic Auto Fabrications. I wanted Locky Fowler to do this project. I spoke to many people but I just wasn’t convinced that they were right for this job. I had always dreamt of doing the z up and so I wanted the right person with the credibility and the passion to do the job and do the job well. I didn’t want to simply apply makeup to a pig.

So here we are, the car is now down with Locky and the restoration has begun.

As a side note, so far, Locky has been fantastic. The guy is pedantic and fastidious and he doesn’t miss a trick. I have no regrets about having him at the helm of the project and les Collins racing rebuilding the engine, gearbox and diff. This is one mean team I’ve got on this job.

So I hope my pride and joy, that means so much to me and my dad, brings you all joy as you follow this journey with us.

i have named the car ‘darby’ in honour of him. I owe him so much.

Be safe, thank you,

Jon

Edited by Wags

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And it begins...car bound for Locky Fowler at CAF with the cabin stuffed full of parts for a brand new interior and other parts.

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Edited by Wags

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Great story and welcome mate. Another Canberran Z owner is born.  

With so much sentimental and emotional value, you will love the finished product even more. I’m in Weetangera, but swear I’ve seen that Z out the front of a Duffy house before?

Ive gone RB and resto modded my 71, but if you want any help or to go for a spin shoot me a message.

ps. Get rid of the amber grill lights!

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Hey dat, 

thanks for the kind words. 

hahaha yes the ambers are going. I will have turn bulbs under the clear lenses underneath the headlights. 

I am going the full period Resto Route. But with a few modern niceties.

konig rewinds (I will get wantanabes in a few years after I recover financially from the project)

triple Webber carbs with ITG 3 in 1

short throw conversion

2.5 inch stainless exhaust

koni yellow dampers

Sunroof delete.

Modern dizzy

sportier cam

extractors

retrosound stereo for that classic look.

brand new full chrome bumpers with no drill holes 

brand new black full interior

new alu rear drums

new light lenses and badges all round

And that’s about it

cheers

Jon

Edited by Wags

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Welcome Jon.

Good to see another Canberra car. We should all get together one day.

You will get a good job from Locky and Les.

If Locky isn’t happy with the work, at  least it will make for some entertaining posts while he berates himself.....;) 

 

Jeff

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Gday Jeff, 

thanks for the kind introduction. And yes, it would be rude not to go for a cruise and a cleansing ale one day soon...Pencil me in for that!

Yep Locky and Les seem like a great team. I had to wait for a spot to come available for quite a while to get my z in with Locky (which to me is a great sign of quality workmanship and a business in demand) and I couldn’t be happier with the work so far. 

Below are some pics from Les of my gearbox:

At this stage les is doing the following: (and this will be it...no more mods or my budget will blow out)

short throw conversion on the box

performance cam

triple webers

itg 3 in 1 for the carbs

custom clutch

bore out the original engine to 2.8L

engine compression set to run on 98 octane.

And that’s about it.

 

my Koni yellows have arrived as have my new chrome bumpers, and a new hood is on the way to  Locky as we speak.

 

Thats all for now guys.

jon

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Edited by Wags

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In early 2017 (I think it was) Jon got in touch with me about tackling the restoration of 'Darby Brown'.
A few email's backwards and forwards between Jon and myself resulted in a specification of the build set, along with a reasonable budget -
and aside from Jon being responsible for organizing the replacement parts - we were asked to deliver 'Darby Brown' as a restored 'turn key' Z.

Jon's wish list was to have a near concourse 240Z with excellent paint and panel - along with deletion of the horrid sunroof - and new black interior.
Upgraded suspension is a must and enough grunt under the bonnet to get him into trouble.
Les Collins Racing has been tasked with the drive-train refurbishment and upgrades - more on this as the build progresses.

In September DB arrived at our workshop to begin it's restoration.

My overall impression when it arrived was is that it's a Z that is tired, but that it has also been well looked after. 
Minimal rust: both doglegs, both floors, hatch slam panel, door bottoms, guard bottoms and the sunroof - although a few things inevitably appeared once it was media blasted...

 

IMG_20180803_150856827_HDR.jpg

Edited by Léon

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A few more photos pre tear-down:

Glorious brown! The Dash has already been re-skinned.

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The dreaded sunroof complete with rust bubbles showing:
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New parts!
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This will be good. Look forward to seeing the progress. Cheers Jeff

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So next came the fun part - tear-down!
I was very surprised to find the scuttle panel had never been removed - the original foam insulators pads were still in place!
Thankfully no serious rust on the scuttle, but the panel had been eaten by the rust...

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Next Andy (who is ex-Nissan) gave me a hand to strip the rest of DB down:

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It may sound unnecessary, but we took a sold 8 days to bring the Z down to bare body and mount it on the rotisserie.
This is because EVERYTHING was bagged, labeled and stored away so it wouldn't get lost. 
But eventually we ended up with this:

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At which point I decided to remove the hatch slam panel as things were looking rather suspect underneath it...

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And this is what I found:

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A couple of days later, the body-shell, panels and major suspension components were sent off to be media blasted:

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Edited by Léon

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So, with the shell, panels and parts back from the blaster, DB was moved in beside the other Z's.

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A few other things showed up after blasting:
Large long dent in the LH sill.
Rust pin holes in the innder guard under the battery tray.
Top's of the sills had rusted through in spots.
LH Dogleg had been badly repaired previously.
RH Dogleg had pin holes on the bottom edge.
Rust and dents around the sunroof hole.
Floors and rails are stuffed.
RH door is very sad (dents and rust holes)
Guards have been poorly repaired.
Hatch has a few pin holes.
Lots of parking dents!

Overall, I was pretty happy, and I'm looking at having all the rust repairs finished before Christmas.

So, without further ado, I decided to start at the back and tackle the tail light / slam panel:

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After the repairs, it was all given a coat of PPG Epoxy.

Next, the doglegs...

 

 


 

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...aaaaannnnnnd this is why you wait for a spot in Locky’s workshop. The guy is meticulous and passionate about the product. 

More excited than a fat kid at a lemington drive.

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So, next I started on the LH Dogleg where there was a previous poor repair.
The main area of the dogleg was perfect, but the repair around the edge of the arch lip was far from good...
The fact it had rusted through the inner wheel arch, made me think all was not well behind, but I was pleased to find that
the sill under the dogleg was in great condition.

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On 10/19/2018 at 4:10 PM, Wags said:

So after much research and deliberation, I put myself on the waiting list for Classic Auto Fabrications. I wanted Locky Fowler to do this project. I spoke to many people but I just wasn’t convinced that they were right for this job. I had always dreamt of doing the z up and so I wanted the right person with the credibility and the passion to do the job and do the job well. I didn’t want to simply apply makeup to a pig.

So here we are, the car is now down with Locky and the restoration has begun.

As a side note, so far, Locky has been fantastic. The guy is pedantic and fastidious and he doesn’t miss a trick. I have no regrets about having him at the helm of the project and les Collins racing rebuilding the engine, gearbox and diff. This is one mean team I’ve got on this job.

 

Which Locky Fowler is this????  I don't believe you.

The only Locky Fowler I know with a car restoration business is a grumpy, prickly, arsehole of a bloke......

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Should be a nice jigger when it is finished. The car is in pretty good hands there.

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