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.
Trevor Yale Ryan
Man that Z is really clean. Shame he has to let it go.
I have a good friend that lived across the street from me who swapped his 72 Z with a modded LS1. I tuned the setup for him and that chassis is a blast! The engine really is too much raw power but boy does it put a smile on your face every time you goose it.
He autocrosses it religiously and lays down some impressive times for such an "out of control" sensation.
I can agree with people's distaste with the all to regular LS swaps but get behind the wheel of one.....you will be hooked. Fun is addictive.
I swapped my FC seven years ago and I still can't get enough of it. Everytime I ponder selling it I just go and cruise around town. It always attracts positive attention & any auto enthusiast loves to BS and peek in the engine bay. Any chance I get I will always offer them a quick ride in the car and when it is over they are smiling ear to ear. Nothing better then giving someone a lasting memory. That's what it is all about.
Beautiful Z and I hope he sells it to someone who appreciates it as much as he does.
FC3S Murray! Haven't seen that user name in many moons since the RX7club second gen section heyday! I sold you the Nardi that's hopefully still in your car! Just wanted to say hey from a fellow Montanan and Speedhunter. Glad you still have your car! That thing is clean!
I like the build! Even though it is a tried and true but boring LS swap, I like it. Good job on the article, Trevor. I would be extremely thankful if you could connect me to Jeremy. If he wants to sell the Z, I would love to take it off his hands!!
As always keep up the good work!
No pics/info of the exhaust system?
Was a kit used to install the LS?
What engine management?
Surely ppl aren't still crying about engine swaps? If its a good engine why not?
Such a cool car. I have a love-hate relationship with LS swaps. On one hand, they're fairly straightforward and well worth the effort for power and reliabilty; on the other hand, most of the ones I tend to see on the internet are running the same Weld wheels with a drag stance and zero exterior mods or style. Thankfully, cars like this exist, to show us that LS swaps aren't just for Chads looking for 1320 notoriety and bragging rights on Texas Highways. Also, Miiiiike! I miss his articles on SH...
I'm speaking as a person that owns 4 Z cars. There's nothing new or original about an LS swap in a Z... other than everyday there's a journalist who won't shut up about it. The Z was never designed to be a raw HP car... It's built for corners. One of the things that's alluring about an S30... Is the L series inline 6. Sounds awesome, runs forever. There are so many V8's making gobs of power that this isn't special. Swaps are cool but Jesus how about a lot love for the vintage car. Ive got a 3.1 L stroker, a stock L28 and I'm building an L28ET...cause when I pop the hood... I'm different. It's fine to love the LS, but essays like this imply that the S30 was incomplete or imperfect as sold...i think that's horeshit.
Does it get drive on the street and does it go fast...I don't care if there is a nitro methane pinto engine under the hood.
I truely wish more people would put LS motors in the 70's 911.I dont like every body making Z car into a Camaro/ Vette .I wish people that want a v8, to buy, a mustang or Camaro. And leave the straight 6 ohc motor in the car.
But thats just me.
People should put the LS in a lot of the early ferraris more compact more power parts dirt cheap compared to the early Ferraris.Hell put a LS in a mustang.... ! LS fit into a vega or a barracuda or even a pinto
...hell those old Alfa Gtv would be awesome. Fitted with an LS.
Has any one put an LS in a Maserati.....I get it any car with an LS is a rocket.....and parts are cheap and ........
Slaughters the value of older 911s which is why people tend to not do it...
Completely unrelated to this article but the owner of this car just did a clear bra on my M2 and it is absolutely flawless. Such a cool guy that really loves his Datsuns and what he does for a living. The car world needs more guys like this!
Unless it is a style thing, stuff gets played out / overused because it "works". Forged wheels, LS swaps, carbon panels - everything, to a degree, has already been done. No need to defend it, it just works.
If he was after torque he should have have put a 1gz in.
People that hate LS swaps are people that haven't driven them in a car like this. My buddy has a 280z with a forged, stroked, soon to be supercharged LS1 and holy crap is that the fastest and craziest thing I have ever driven. Put down over 500hp and now he wants 700. Nothing like accidentally burning out on the freeway at 80mph thinking your going to die.
For me this is still the Z to beat http://www.speedhunters.com/2018/01/the-purists-fairlady-z/. If money played no part I would have this in a heartbeat! Just saying, everyone has a different aspect of perfect. I think the word perfect is used too much in my humble opinion.
Id still pick my triple mikuni l28 over this piece of shit.
Do u have any info on the been no setup for the brakes. I have heard of willwood upgrades but nothing ever from been no.
Love how the spoiler looks! The hinges are custom made or you can buy them somewhere?
As much as I like v8 swaps, i especially dislike LS swaps bc they're just so damn overused. I wouldve liked to see something a bit better like a VK56 swap or something because they seem less used and keeping it somewhat in the brand would be nice. But still nicely built car nonetheless