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Grant's 1970 240z


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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

At this point, in mid 2015, life through a huge curve ball at me. I went to live and study in Denmark for two years and needed somewhere to store the car. After asking around it was suggested I look into classic car museums. The car was then sent down to Carterton to live its peace-full life at 'Gasoline Heaven'.

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Before I moved over seas I put the original steal wheels with the hubcaps on and sold the Watanabes to a dude in Auckland. I wasn't fully stoked with the sizing and needed the cash to pay for the storage fees at the museum. I threw in the original licence plates and the original receipt for $3,200.00 in 1970.

It was sad leaving the car, but I knew it wouldn't be forever.

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Jumping forward to 2017, the car had been shipped back up to my parents garage in Auckland, waiting for my arrival back into the country after a long hiatus. Luckily it had been started and ran while down in Carterton, so it was cruising along pretty nicely.

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I brought back a bunch of parts on my return home from Europe (through the US) Vögtland springs, Stagg shocks, new bumper rubbers, pertronix ignition and coil, carb rebuilding kits, and a bunch over other small tune up bits and pieces. Sadly though, not having a space to work on the car would mean all of this would have to just wait...

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Made it along to the 2017 OldSchool Drag Day. What a fucking awesome event, I had never dragged race before, and the old 4 speed manual box isnt super direct going from 2nd to 3rd, but I did manage to finally break the 17second mark way later in the day and hit a 16.84 from memory. Was super rad lining up againt @Zeubin's 240z also! Though he smoked me every time...

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Finally managed to hunt down the exact set of wheels I was searching for! I always dreamed of the 15x8et0 RS Watanabes, but from doing alot of reading on line, some people discussed needed to slightly fold the inner lip when running an 8 inch wide wheel. I really didn't want to touch the body at all, so I went on the hunt for a set of König rewinds in 15x7et0. Combined with the fact that I didn't want to run anything wider than a 205 tyre with stock power and no power steering. 

I managed to find a guy on here, who had a NOS set of the rewinds, Gold with a polished lip. after a bunch of sanding, etch primer, sanding, primer, top coat in metallic charcoal and then many coats of satin clear I transformed the wheels into the set of wheels I had been lusting after for ages. The Rewinds, much like the original Wats, appear much smaller than they actually are, they almost have a stepped lip. To me its what makes the Rota equivalent wheels just not look right. 

I wrapped them in a set of 205/55r15 Potenza RE003's. Absolutely loving these tyres, the are super grippy, and really nice and quiet.

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Still not having a garage meant the car was still stored at my parents place, while I was living across town. The box of parts sat on the shelf gather dust, for that one day when I would be able to work on the car and have the space. I would make an effort at least once I month to get out for a weekend spin in the 240z.

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Also managed to get too Leadfoot in 2018 which was super rad. its nice turning up and get special treatment to park in the field closest to the entrance ahahah. A few photos I grabbed from the day:

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During 2018 and in to 2019 I took up a new, and massively ambitious hobby, training for an Ironman. This took most of my hours during every week so nothing changed on the Z in that time. Though I did managed to get one project done in my recovery days. Ive always been into customising bikes, been doing it since high school, always found it cheaper and easier than customising cars! I managed to rebuild my training bike and paint it the same colour as the Z! ahahah. 

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I completed the 2019 NZ Ironman in 10 hours and 31mins. Was super stoked! It was a hell of a day, but the feeling of finishing was unreal! Anyway... back to more on the Z...

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Moving forward to March 2020. I am now working and living in Christchurch as an Architectural Photographer. The Z is still in my parents garage in Auckland, feeling left out and pretty sorry for itself. No wof, No rego, tonnes of worries. I flew up early march (in the before times, when travel was allowed) to photograph a friends wedding. While I was up here I managed to get the car started, clean up the small puddle of oil on my parents garage floor, and she actually passed a wof!! Woohoo!! it was running pretty poorly but she drove and stopped! two happy days of late summer driving! 

Fast forward the clocks a few weeks and during another work trip I got stuck in Auckland for the Level 4 lockdown, living with my parents for the 4 weeks. 4 weeks, of not being able to work... with none of my triathlon training gear. It was the universe telling me to pull apart the Z! So with my lack of mechanical knowledge I just started... knowing I had enough time to put the puzzle back together before the lockdown ended. 

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This has been the Zs home for the better part of the last 6 years... Im amazed my parents still talk to me...

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Under the bonnet is where most of the embarrassment lies... nothing under here has really been touched in 50 years. Being a California car its has a bunch of pipes and valves and smog emissions gear. I actually managed to source a JDM carb balance tube on facebook market place a year or so ago, so the plan was to strip back the engine, completely clean up the engine bay, re build the carbs, removing all the smog emissions parts and put it all back together.

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Amazingly this little light still works!!! 

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50 years of sludge build up.

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The head is meant to be silver... the block is apparently blue!?

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Before the lockdown set in, I had ran to repco to buy everything I thought I would need...

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This was going to need some attention... I had purchased some wrinkle black at repco for the lockdown, however I was unsure What todo...

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I found little notes marked above each cylinder, assuming at some point in its 50 years someone had done a compression test... pretty cool pieces of history to find.

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This shit became my new best friend, this and a small propane torch, without them I would still be in the garage with bleeding knuckles, not writing these posts.

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Pulled the airbox off first to get a closer look at what my plan was, in order to do the level of cleaning I wanted too though, Id have to go further...

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Carbs came off next, this gave a clear view of the 'exhaust galley' the small air pipes that go into each runner of the exhaust manifold. From what I had read online, after 50 years there is slim to no chance that these would ever come out. Most people cut and weld them up. I however do not know how to weld... soo...

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A combination of heat and penetrant and few good taps with a hammer and each one broke loose, I was like a kid in a candy store! such a satisfying feeling.

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This is the smog pump, designed to pump fresh air into the exhaust manifold, satisfying pulling things out of the engine bay knowing they aren't going back in

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I pulled the valve cover and went to town with some scotch bright and steel wool. I decided against going wrinkle black, wanted to keep it more original. This photos are after many hours of degreaser, scrubbing and water blasting. The inside of the front guards were covered in a thick layer of 50 year old dust and crap.

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Amazingly the head is silver!!!! and some of the block is blue... One day I will pull the engine and re build it, for now though, limited skills, fuck all tools, by myself in a garage, this was as far as I was going to go.

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Its amazing what elbow grease can do at removing grease. I may have destroyed my parents driveway however...

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I wish I had a wire brush on a drill... however I did not. I did however have 4 weeks in lockdown...

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The chrome had definitely seen better days... I really wanted to get everything straightened and re chromed before I installed the new rubber I had. however I had come this far so I decided to see if I could restore some life into them.

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Lots of grime and service rust... a few hours with some #0000 steel wool and hey presto!

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Looking pretty damn nice. good enough for now, thats forsure!

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When I did the suspension I also installed new outter tie rod ends, after doing my best to match them up the original measurements, I quickly found out my new ones were longer. There is only one adjustment on the Z, front toe. I had worked at tyre plus through high school, so wheel alignments is kind the only thing I know about. However that was over a decade ago and I had only ever done it in the shop! quick jump on youtube revealed the 'two axle stands and string method' Worked a goddam treat!! I put the front tyres on the some thin plastic, made it super easy to adjust without having huge tension in the steering rack

 

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