It’s no secret that I love a good V8. Maybe I was brainwashed at age four by the exhaust fumes sneaking into the back seat of my uncle’s ’66 Mustang, but there’s something about a rumbling eight cylinder that just gets me going.
When I find them where they don’t belong, I become even more excited. It’s not specifically because I know it upsets some folks, but the honest side of me recognizes that does play a small part in it. And I completely understand the opposition to the large-displacement motors.
American V8s — the LS-series engines in particular — are easily sourced, reliable, and cost-effective solutions. They sound amazing and provide loads of torque, instantly pinning you into your seat under throttle, lost in the mighty roar of the eight cylinders loping away. They’re easy to work on and if something goes wrong replacement parts can be had quickly for a reasonable price.
Who would want that? Unsurprisingly, it turns out Jeremy Gomez would.
Jeremy built this ’72 Z before travelling often to Japan and, in a way, the choices he’s made on the car reflect this. I was actually at his shop to shoot a 240Z G-nose that he built after making friends at the car meets in Japan, but you’ll just have to wait for that one.
I was too distracted by all this displacement – 5.7 liters of American muscle in the form of an LS1 stuffed into the front of the lightweight, nimble Japanese chassis. I know what some of you are thinking: ‘It doesn’t get more wrong than this’. But that’s what makes it so damn good.
I really do completely understand the resistance to V8 swaps; they can seem a bit uninspired or boring and I admit it is more fun to find a car with a really unusual period-correct swap. But I’m convinced that anyone who tries to hate on a V8 has not been behind the wheel of one in a lightweight chassis and put the pedal to the floor.
There’s just no way to resist that torque, I’m telling you. It’s addictive and oh-so satisfying.
The L24 was a relatively peppy motor back in the day, but when you more than double the power output there’s just a whole new world of driving experiences to be had. I noticed a tired old block in the corner next to some cool old school four lugs, and it’s probably worth mentioning that Jeremy’s other 240Z has retained a Japanese powerplant.
After shooting the G-nose, I swindled Jeremy into untucking this 240 out of the corner for a peek around.
On the street, the 240Z is still a tight car to drive; the V8 shoehorned in the front doesn’t ruin this thing in the slightest. Today the philosophy of an LS-swap rings so true to the initial ideology of the car – it just makes sense. Call me an asshole if you’d like, but this 240Z is the perfect 240Z.Working Class Hero
We brought the car out to an industrial pocket right off the San Francisco Bay as the sun dipped behind the mountains in the background. I’m actually glad we were running low on light and sort of forced to shoot here; this turned out to be the perfect setting for this car.
The 240Z was originally offered at an extremely affordable US$3,500 off the showroom floor. It was, and remains, a sexy sporty little thing that anyone could get their hands on with a bit of hard work. It’s nothing fancy, just a nice, classic design that continues to work.
Inside the cabin it’s a fairly simple setup, but you will notice one thing that’s a bit off the wall.
The shifter — which slots between the gears in the T-56 6-speed transmission — is an actual ’50s-era control stick from a fighter jet. Inspired by the WWII Zero Fighter design, Jeremy previously had the entire car themed as such.
Poking around the internet doing a bit of reading as I put this story together I happened upon a photo Mike Garrett took of the car some four years back at the Bayline Gathering in California’s Bay Area.
Jeremy says he eventually grew out of the fighter pilot stage and returned the car to its factory white, but the hood and shifter remain.
Back inside the car a 6-point cage has been installed around a Recaro bucket seat to stiffen things up, helping cope with all the extra power on tap.
The 240 has been lowered on Techno Toy Tuning coilovers front and rear, with FutoFab tension control rods, ST sway bars, and Modern Motorsports LCAs in the rear. It’s not super low but it has a nice, useable ride height, and the car is even more nimble than it was before the V8 with this configuration.
Power is sent through the 6-speed into a Z31 R200 CLSD and finally delivered to a set of gorgeous RAYS Volk Racing TE37V wheels. With the extra-wide flares Jeremy has stuffed 245/45 series tires on all four corners, the front wheels measuring 10-inches wide while the back end houses a 10.5-inch pair for a bit of extra dish. The wheels are 16-inches in diameter, hiding Brembo 4-pots up front and 2-pots in the rear.
Other touches include headlight covers up front, an adjustable spoiler out back, and a number of little stickers around the car.
The long-term plan was to build the car up as a track day monster, but Jeremy says it’s just a bit too wild for him now and he’s toying with the idea of passing it on.
Still, the unrelenting power is his favorite aspect of the build and he’ll miss it when it’s gone. The thought of this is only bearable as he has another Z to love now, and it’s shaping up to be quite the beauty.
But no matter what, this Z will always be Jeremy’s first Z — the beast.Cutting Room Floor