Car Spotlight>>the Imsa Privateer 240z

Throughout my tour around Canepa Design, I was overwhelmed with historic race cars from around the world. From Can Am monsters and NASCAR record breakers to Le Mans winners – the selection was incredible. However, among the Cobras, Porsches, and Ferraris, one of my favorites was a lowly old Datsun.

Being a 240Z owner myself, I swooned over the lines of this classic IMSA racer.

The car was built. campaigned, and driven by Brad Frisselle a his team, Transcendental Racing.

The car originally came to the US as an early 1970 model 240Z before Frisselle and his privateer team rebuilt it into a competition machine for the 1975 IMSA Camel GT season.

In 1976 Frisselle took the IMSA GTU Championship with this car, winning eight races and even managing to defeat the factory-backed Datsun team.

The Z rides on a suspension designed by Mac Tilton – a very competitive setup by 1970s standards, especially for a privateer operation.

The functional bodywork on the car was designed by Yoshi Suzuka, who made a name for himself as an aero engineer with Nissan. It does look like the front end is based on the factory "G-Nose" kit.

Glancing into the interior, you can see that the factory dash structure has been removed in favor of a race setup.

The interior, as with the rest of the car, is in show quality condition following a full restoration in the 1990s.

Under the hood is hot rodded version of the original Nissan L-series inline six, built by John Knepp.

V8, RB, and other turbo swaps are popular among S30 builders, but the good old L-series has huge potential when built right. This one is outputting about 400 horsepower.

If you were hoping to add this historic Z to your collection, I'm afraid it's already been sold.

Don't worry though, it's not gathering dust in a garage somewhere – in fact just last weekend it was on track at Laguna Seca during Winter Speed Days.

Hopefully we'll get the chance to see this thing in action come the 2012 Rolex Historics.

-Mike Garrett

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Love it!!!!!!!!!


What's with the 280 lights? No story on that?


What an awesome car. I have been looking at this on Canepa's site for probably 5 years and get excited every time I see it.


Curious, those tail lights are definitely from a 280z.


Nice. I'd like to see some pictures of the Vette next to the Z. It looks mean.


Classic awesomeness.


Did Adam Carolla buy this?


What a stunner :)


Looks damn sexy. Doesn't Adam Carolla own this car?


How does it make 400 hp?


So awesome, great post.

and what is going on with that Vette!! ... looks crazy


maaann,, was waiting sooo long for this one. fell in love with this datsun since i saw it at your facebook page!!


I'm in love - any Yuta S30 updates?

Great great post!


Mentioning yuta's S30 on this post is plain offensive!


I still think the 240z is the most beautiful japanese car (the other being the Toyota 2000GT). It may not be totally original, but the combination of styling cues from the E-Type and the Ferrari 356GTB in a compact, elegant car works beautifully.


"Justin said:

What's with the 280 lights? No story on that?"

And one more thing, "400hp" come on really, these engines have a hard time breathing it the higher RPM's and the only way to make 300+hp on a 2.4(or is this a 2.6? 2.8?) while staying Naturally Aspirated is with RPM's. This thing clearly has a Single overhead cam head that was stock on these vehicles. If your gonna claim crazy #'s, then show some proof!


Just Bitchin!


isn't that the socal speed shop land speed hhr ?


I'd take the 400 Horses engine for my zed please :D


I think that is Adam Carolla's car. I know he was at Lagina Seca with a new Z car he bought. I feel like I saw this on his site at some point too. WOW!!! He has been racing a 610 and a Roadster with 200hp, this is a different beast!!


400 horsepower?!!! Most I've heard of an N/A L-series making is 320... that's incredible!!!


is that complete interior flocked or what did they do? like it for my own project!


Seeing Z's like this make one want to strip their z, throw on slicks and go racing. If my plan wasn't to build a grand tourer it would definitely be to build a track machine. Great spotlight Mr Garrett.


is that complete interior flocked or what did they do? like it for my own project!


Love this car! Having a 73 RB powered Z biases me to anything Z related. but yeah, those are lights from a 260 or 280. The extra chassis bracing looks extensive. The fab work looks fantastic and the build quality is equally impressive


400hp NA! JAYZUS, thats screaming! The triple Weber 48mm or 50mm (?) sidedrafts would sounds incredible


400hp is a lie. Can we stick to the facts please.


This z is beautiful. To all the people who have never owned a triple garbed L series please shhhhhhhh! They Rev lovely and 400 is easy like the script said when built right. My first car was a triple garb 240 1973, biggest lose of my life, and that's after being divorced,the car still wins lol


Just a clarification, that is not a 240Z, I believe it is a 260Z.


According to all the info presented with the car it's started out as a '70 240Z. I would guess the 260/280 tailights were added when it underwent its race car transformation.


Not sure why 400 hp N/A seems so outrageous to you guys. The L series blocks have been making 400 hp for a while now in japan. These two links go into great detail on these types of builds.

Heres a youtube of a L series with 409ps (roughly 403 hp)

Also with the right mods the head can breathe pretty well from what i have read.




As the owner of a 3.2L stroker, I would say this engine is probably making closer to 300hp, not 400hp, as a naturally aspirated engine 400hp seems a bit lofty for the L-series, unless there was major head, and valve train work. Could we get more info on the engine? Other than that this car is an awesome example of a racing Z, I love everything about it.


What's it all mean?