Datsun 240z v8

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Hi – my name is Jeremy Gomez. And I’ve honestly never even thought of trying to get my Z featured in print. But Courtney (the photographer) finally convinced me to do a real shoot of this thing… making this the first car that I’ve ever had serious pictures of in my life.

I know that seems crazy not to have a million photos of your car, considering how cars & photos go hand-in-hand these days. But in my 40s… I guess I’m a bit of an old fart in this scene now. Funny how that happens: You blink your eyes, and all the sudden you’re one of the ‘older’ guys… and the kids are strangely obsessed with hashtags.

My first car was a ’73 Camaro with a 350 SBC, at a time when I was in high school in 80s Southern California. Looking back, that’s probably about the worst 1st car you could ever give a 17-year-old in the 80s heyday of Beach Boulevard street racing. It had no brakes, terrible suspension, terrible tires, and just a lap belt for safety. It was a different era. I’d never let my kids have one, but damn if it wasn’t one of the most badass cars I ever had. It got me hooked for life. I somehow survived that car, survived high school, and ended up doing a few years in the Navy during the early 90s, an adventure that landed me in Japan.

V8 240z

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The car scene in 1990’s Japan was blowing up big-time, and I was there to witness it. Through my eyes, it seemed like Nissan was king – with GTRs, Zs, and Silvias running the streets. When I got back to the States, I really missed the Japanese car culture. I wanted to see & feel it again, so I decided to get a Nissan. I’ve had my share of them through the 90s: a pair of Z32 300ZXs, an S13, an S14… and now on my third 240Z.

Over the last 10-15 years, I’ve dipped into modifying other cars. Three different WRXs and STIs, a Mk1 GTI, a 79 911SC… and my current daily driver since 2007 has been my C6 Vette. I love ALL those cars, but I’ve always wanted to get back into Nissans, specifically another 240z. It was always my favorite.

There’s just something very pure & direct about driving an old Z that I have yet to find in any new car. The lightness, the non-assisted steering, you feel every bit of what’s happening when you drive a Z. And that’s something that’s gotten lost in the weight & complexity of new cars. Even if they’re faster… they’re nowhere near as fun for me.

lowered Datsun

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One solid piece of advice with these old Zs: ALWAYS take your time and find the best surviving car you can. That’s more important than anything that can be bolted on or off. Does it have a solid, straight body & minimal rust? I’ve seen so many guys go out and buy the cheapest old 240z they can find… and get thousands of dollars into a build before realizing they bought a car with a bent frame or an inch of Bondo, or those little bubbles in the paint was in fact a fully rusted body that would have to be stripped all the way down to be fixed properly. More and more it gets proven that finding an old Z with minimal rust & wreckage is worth its weight in gold.

This car has an LS V8 swap. Just a few years ago, this was a great swap that everyone loved. And it still is a great swap. But for some reason, recently it’s become fashionable for the kids to hop on the LS-hate bandwagon – even though they’ve probably never driven one. It’s very puzzling to me. I’m an old school hot rodder and the whole agenda for an old school hot rodder, is to try and stuff the biggest & best motor possible into the lightest car. For me, an LS swap in a Z is a no-brainer. The all-aluminum version of the LS weighs the same as the stock iron block straight-6. The LS sits further back in the bay, almost completely behind the front axle, compared to the stock straight-6 that sits about a foot ahead of the front axle. It’s a swap that turns the 240z into a supremely balanced, lightweight, and scary-fast coupe that’s probably as close to the old Shelby/ Brock Daytona Coupe as you can make. Seriously, at about 1000lbs lighter than my C6 with 500hp, this Z is still WAY faster & quicker in every way. But LS hate is the flavor of the month now – so yeah.

lowered 240z

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As for the style of the build, I’m a WWII history buff. Always have been. I grew up listening to my grandfather’s Navy stories of WWII. I also built damn near every WWII model plane I could get my hands on. Living in SoCal near the Chino Air Museum, I would walk through every chance I got as a kid… marveling at the old planes and their legacies. When I bought this Z, I never planned to wrap it, but original paint had definitely seen better days. So I decided I would try something creative with it before it got repainted. Since I conveniently own a shop that does automotive specialty films (tint, clear bra, vinyl), I decided to do a custom wrap in Japanese Zero livery. I tried to keep the scheme and markings as authentic as possible.

I’ve had a lot of journeys with different automobiles, and with every car I’ve ever owned… I’ve driven the hell out of it. I don’t build show cars and I don’t take a picture every time I park it. That’s not my thing. Hopefully they look cool enough to hold their own in the real world – but in the end, they’re gonna be driven hard and put away dirty. That’s guaranteed. So many kids these days just care about parking, and not driving. It blows my mind.

ENGINE

2000 LS1 + t56 transmission, JCI mount kit , JTR intake, Sanderson shorty headers, Ported throttle body & manifold, 2.5” dual exhaust – Magnaflow with crossXovers

CHASSIS

Shortened struts with MR2 Tokico iLLumina adjustable struts, Ground Con- trol adjustable perches with 250/250 lbs springs, Modern Motorsports rear tubular adjustable control arms, Futofab front control arms and traction con- trol arms, Ermish Racing big Wilwood 4-piston brakes front & rear, Wilwood 1” master cylinder, R200 rear end with Z31 300ZX clutch LSD 3.7 gears, Chequered Flag billet CVs/flanges/stub axles, Poly bushings everywhere else, Marcus Fry Racing 6-point cage, Marcus Fry Racing tubular fender & chassis reinforcements added, 16X9.5 -19 Watanabe R-types in gunmetal , 245/45/16 Toyo RA1s all around, Z-force extra-wide flares.

tire stickers