An S30 For The Street & Track

When I attended Buttonwillow Raceway a couple of weekends ago for the VTEC Club USA event, Hondas weren’t the only cars taking to the track over the course of the day.

Other sessions included a more traditional group of vehicles, with plenty of Miatas, M3s, WRXs and other track day favorites. While my primary plan was to cover the Hondas, I couldn’t help but be distracted by one of these other attendees – a super-clean and largely original looking Datsun 240Z.

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The familiar shape of the orange S30 was unmistakable, especially when contrasted against the far newer cars it was sharing the track with. Then I noticed it was moving at a clip much quicker than its stock looks could ever suggest. I headed to its spot in the paddock for a closer inspection…

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The 1972 240Z is owned by gentleman named Mario who originally hails from Oregon but has since relocated to Central California. He was out at Buttonwillow to enjoy the track day with some of his classic car-loving buddies.

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After seeing how quick the car looked, I was very interested to learn what it was running in the engine department. I thought I’d heard the note of a turbo straight-six, and when Mario popped the hood I was expecting an RB or a JZ swap of some sort. But my assumption was wrong.

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What I had actaully heard was indeed a turbocharged I6, but it was an L28ET motor originally pulled out of an ’82 280ZX Turbo. At one point these were popular swaps for early Z cars as they dropped right in with factory mounts, but you don’t see too many L28ET-powered S30s these days.

While the turbo SOHC inline-six makes a decent amount of power in stock form, Mario’s motor has been upgraded for an output of around 300 horsepower.

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If there’s anything that suggests this Z is packing a bit more heat than a standard S30, then it has to be the 17-inch wheel and tire combo. The wheels are Grenade GX01s, a discontinued Japanese aftermarket wheel that was based on the design of the factory R34 Skyline GT-R item. Seventeens were a necessary upgrade to clear the big Porsche disc brakes that Mario has fitted.

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The interior is just as clean as the exterior; additions here include a basic roll bar, Momo steering wheel and aftermarket bucket seats for track duty.

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Is Mario’s Z the fastest or most exotic S30 we’ve featured? Nope. But I just love its simplicity.

There are no outrageous flares or crazy aero parts, and no 800hp motor under the hood. Instead, Mario’s built a car that fully retains the original beauty of the S30 while injecting just the right upgrades to make it perform at a modern level. In my books, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Mike Garrett
Instagram: japanifornia



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what a great car for the track, old cars are awesome


This might be my favorite car ever on SH. It's perfect!!


I am ­­­­­­­­­making ­­­­­­­­­a ­­­­­­­­­good ­­­­­­­­­salary ­­­­­­­­­from ­­­­­­­­­home ­­­­­­­­­$1200­­­­­­­­­-­­­­­­­­­$2500/week , ­­­­­­­­­which is ­­­­­­­­­amazing, ­­­­­­­­­under a year ago I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­jobless ­­­­­­­­­in a ­­­­­­­­­horrible ­­­­­­­­­economy. ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­thank God ­­­­­­­­­every ­­­­­­­­­day ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­was ­­­­­­­­­blessed with ­­­­­­­­­these ­­­­­­­­­instructions and ­­­­­­­­­now ­­­­­­­­­it's ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­my ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­duty ­­­­­­­­­to ­­­­­­­­­pay ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­forward ­­­­­­­­­and share ­­­­­­­­­it ­­­­­­­­­with ­­­­­­­­­Everyone, ­­­­­­­­­Here ­­­­­­­­­is ­­­­­­­­­I ­­­­­­­­­started,,,,,,­­­­­­­­­
chek now .............


My best friend's ex-wife makes Bucks78/hr on the laptop. She has been unemployed for eight months but last month her income with big fat bonus was over Bucks9000 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on this site.....


I just bought a brand new Citroën DS since I been making $9988 this - 2 weeks past and over $12,000 last-month . it's realy the most-financially rewarding I've ever had . I started this 2 months ago and pretty much immediately was making minimum $88........ per-hr .


Twitch_6  Yes. Well-played Mario.


Larry Chen approves this for sure!


Devil Z  #Wangan Midnight


I Leave my office job and now I am getting paid 96 Dollars hourly. How? I work-over internet! My old work was making me miserable, so I was to try-something different. 2 years after...I can say my life is changed completely for the better!
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My buddy and I saw this at the Pismo Z Day last year parked on the street. It was really fun to look at since it originally seemed so stock (especially considering the three V8 S30s in the show). 

The best part was that we just kept finding little things on it, like the wheels (my buddy had an R32 GT-R at the time, so he was all over the wheels trying to figure out what they were). Then we saw the brakes, then the roll bar. Then we made clowns out of ourselves when we saw the intercooler. After determining that the transmission appeared to be in stock position based on the shifter, he decided it must be a 280ZX turbo motor (he has an S30 with an L28et back up in Oregon shacked up waiting for some much needed attention). I made a bet with him that it wasn't, since so few people do the swap. After about five or ten minutes of rolling and crawling around on the ground in the street we decided the pan was definitely L-Series shaped. 

Best street sighting I've had in a long time... I'm sure everyone else got a kick watching a couple of college kids get dirty trying to get a peek under a car twice their age...


oh simply built cars..... we miss you


Love it, absolutely deserves to have a Speedhunters Feature!


Looking at the comments , I suppose it comes down to opinion and what you like. I think the exterior of the 6 series Gran Coupe is one of the best looking cars you can buy, and is much better looking than the A7.  In this case the Audi wins both inside and out over the BMW.  I would not agree that the BMW looks more menacing from the front view.=========================
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MTDatsun  I feel proud when young kids stares at my car. Most of them does not have a clue what are they looking at.


Im delighted with this build,very nice. engine choice is  very simple solution, In sea of 2JZ,RB26,VQ35,SR20DETs, and LS1 conversions in s30 I have forgot that there was early 300ZX turbo wich engine would fit niceley into it.
Do you know what was done suspension-wise?


BozoMotosport It looked to be mostly original, coilovers and sway bars most likely.


MTDatsun I know that feeling all too well!


jay8393 I def thought of Larry's car when I saw it haha.


Twitch_6 Thanks!


StreetStatik You just can't beat them!


Simple and stock-bodied. A much needed contrast


I...don't understand the intercooler piping. I thought at first it was a supercharger setup with the blower mounted on the passenger side, but if it is an L28et it has both the exhaust and intake manifold on the same side. You can clearly see the intake intercooler pipe on the driver side, but then you see a blow off valve on the passenger side? 

Is it snaking all the way around and the turbo is hooked up directly to the driver side inlet and the intake manifold is snaking all the way around to hook up to the passenger side of the intercooler? 

Beautiful car regardless. You don't see too many people running the stock front valence especially with the lift characteristics. Should make the car pretty interesting around 125mph.


seattlejester On the very bottom of the first engine shot you can just see what looks like a bit of polished pipe (directly to the left of the coil). I suspect that the piping is going around the front underneath the fan and then comes around the side of the motor towards the firewall a ways before being rerouted in a very large U back up to the intercooler inlet. This way the piping doesn't need to make super sharp turns which would make it flow less efficiently.


I'm stunned that any body can get paid $9640

                                              in 4 weeks ................


up to I looked at the paycheck 4 $4498 , I have faith sister was actually earning money in their spare time on their laptop. . there brothers friend haz done this 4 only about seventeen months and at present cleared the depts on there cottage and bourt a great audi .
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Dream car!


I'm in shock that some one can make $8929 

in 1 month .............


At first glance I thought it had stock R34 wheels, but those Grenade reps are pretty cool. Definitely a breath of fresh air compared to all the steroid flared, four-digit horsepower cars we see. Wish we could hear how she sounds! =)


MTDatsun seattlejester My goodness, I can't believe you spotted that down there in the shadow. So most likely the turbo is feeding the driver side of the intercooler and the intake is being routed from the passenger side underneath the frame rail and back up to the driver side. I've seen similar setups, but I guess the blow off valve is what threw me off.

Good catch!


glad it doesn't have flares. That's refreshing.


I'm taken by surprise that some one able to profit $9397

in four weeks ..............



The outside, BMW. The front of the Audi doesn't look so good, very boring. The BMW's lights, grille and front facia look better. As for the rear they both look good. Inside I'll have to go with Audi bc it looks fresh. --------------->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>►►►►►►


Sorry those aren't replicas wheels there the real thing. I know because my uncle Mario told me he got them straight from Japan.


MTDatsun did you drop a quarter on the ground next to the car and casually sneak a glance at the undercarriage when you picked is back up???