Fairlady 200ZR: The Last Straight-Six Z-Car

With a history that stretches all the way back to 1961, Nissan’s Fairlady was originally powered by a single cam four-cylinder engine. That didn’t change until 1969 and the introduction of the S30 Z-car, with straight-six L-series engines (or S20 for the rare JDM Fairlady Z 432) used right through the decade, culminating with the L28-powered S130. The Z31 generation that followed was the transition model for the Z line up – the move from Nissan’s trusty six to the more compact V6.

The 200ZR was the final straight-six-powered JDM Z-car. It’s also perhaps the least known or thought about car of the Z heritage, but one that has always spoken to me more than any other model. And the car R31 House had on display at Nostalgic 2 Days in Yokohama recently is one of the cleanest examples I’ve ever seen.

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Not only is it spotless, it’s been tastefully done with a light silver lower section made up of the front spoiler, side skirts and rear diffuser.

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The choice of BBS LMs is one that works well in the wheel department. It keeps the vintage mesh feel there, but provides all the space needed to fit R31 House’s big brake kit at the front.

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The under-hood approach is simple but to the point. The factory-fitted RB20DET features an R31 House exhaust manifold and turbo kit, plus a custom intake that relocates the air filter into the bumper and right behind the grille. The setup is completed by a custom front-mounted intercooler and inlet plenum to efficiently and equally distribute the chilled intake charge to every one of the six cylinders.

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The Fairlady rides on R31 House adjustable coilovers, allowing the 18-inch LMs to fill the guards without being over the top.

Keeping the color coordination flowing, the rear bumper impact pads were painted in the same light silver as the skirts and splitter.

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Much like the S30 432, I’ve always felt that the Z31 200ZR is like a Fairlady with a little bit of Skyline in it. But with this example, R31 House have taken the unique and rare Z and turned it into something beyond special.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino
dino@speedhunters.com

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28 comments

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1

It's too bad the RB series can't make any power without turbocharging.

2

We will see about that. Mine is getting a fully/wildly built rb28 na with tons of custom work including modified combustion chamber and cp 11.6:1 pistons. Won't set the world on fire but hoping for 250-300 rwhp with an 11k redline.

3

but the sound is amazing which is something that never disappoints
I'll admit the NA engines of the past did lack some torque which is a problem solved by turbocharging and supercharging
But now NA engines like in the Miata and GS F give some of the best sounds of this day and they are really good

Author4
Dino Dalle Carbonare

It can make power, it's just nobody really developed NA RBs much

5

I never knew the straight-six was still in the Fairlady Z sports car till now
I always knew the Skyline GTR had the famous RB26 since its return from 1989 to 2002 then both the Fairlady Z and the new GTR went to a V6 which proved to be rather superb engines
So far the only sports car that kept the straight-six since the beginning would be the Toyota Supra (and yes this includes the BMW straight-six)

Author6
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yep, the move to the VG series V6s came straight after and within the Z31 generation

7

I know that nowadays the Fairlady Z and GTR have the V6 which are really good engines especially for their compact design and their strong structure
But you got to love the straight-six for how cool it is and now they are making a comeback

Author8
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Mercedes have a straight six now too, aston martin however seems to have gone with a V6 for their latest motor

9

Thank you for giving the z31's love Dino! The ZR and z432 are the inspiration for my most ambitious project ever which has been 2.5 years in the making!

Brandon

Author10
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Tell us more about this project! Z31 is probably the coolest Z ever!

11

I think you will really like this one then. Inspired by the Z432 S30. 86 300zx with an 87 front end swap, shaved trim/side markers antenna, custom sectioned, shortened and shaved rear bumper, fully shaved and stitch welded engine bay, total glass out respray with glass out in Safari Gold. S14 rear subframe with parts shop max arms, T3 front control arms and BBK, RS Watanabe R types, Bride gradient carbon/kevlar seats, fully built N/A RB28 with custom modified combustion chamber, custom made CP 11.6:1 pistons, bored out, stroker crank, Tomei cams, Supertech valve train, Ross super damper, crank fire trigger setup, bored out ITB's, NOS R34 5 speed transmission and will get octopus headers with Ti exhaust and in the process of getting carbon kevlar velocity stacks made. I am sure I am leaving a ton of stuff out. The build progress in on IG at my same username as here and I will shoot you a DM. Would love for you to check it out and possibly do a feature. Trying to get it done for SEMA 2020 but curious to see if they still have it with all that's going on. You might like the R30 too ;)

Brandon

12

One of my bucket list cars right there

13

My friend in the late 90s had one of these here in the USA. But pretty sure it didn't have an rb in it... America gets f%*#ked by a lot of the JDM a lot. Probably due to our safety requirements and crash testing blah blah blah.

14

Safety is a matter of perspective, and we Americans have none.

Author15
Dino Dalle Carbonare

VG it was for sure

16

One of the coolest Z iterations. As you said, it's a bit of a Skyline - kind of like the Z33s and Z34s that share the VQ engines. I've only ever seen one here in Melbourne, Australia.

Author17
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Surprised there aren't more there. The Skylines were far more popular for you guys it seems

18

My guess is it's because it was never known of by the wider community to begin with. Australia also has terrible restrictions and compliance requirements on imports, and then there's the tax on tax for tax of tax. Sadly there aren't many S13s, S14s, S15s, R32s, R33s, and R34s on the roads anymore. They must have been written off by all the hoons as they became more affordable to idiots.

19

Hi Dino

What's the opinion/view of the RB20DET over in Japan? I own GTS-t in South Africa a very rare car here but plenty of GTR's but no GTS-t's. I followed SAU.COM.AU as a resource to learn about and restore the car. The opinion there and lots of other places is to just junk the RB20DET an upgrade to RB25/26. However to do this in this country would be sacrilege as there is less than a handful that's legally in the country. I mean its nice to have a "nice clean original" GTS-t if you know what i mean.

Having read and learnt online about the Australian recipe. What's the tips and tricks in Japan wrt to the engine, perhaps the car itself? if there is any?

Opinions from other reader's?

BTW i have stuck with RB20DET for reasons as above and of course i just love the engine note.

Thanks

20

The reason it's advised to swap to RB25DET is the extra 0.5L does make a big difference. Plus there's more of them available as they came out in a variety of Nissans (Skylines, Laurels, Stagea etc.).
In saying that, I had no issues with the standard RB20DET in my R32 GTS-t. It loves to rev and can easily get 10L/100km in traffic. Throw a NEO6 or equivalent turbo on it, tune and enjoy it. If you have a spare few grand cash, get the R31House manifold, makes the car sound awesome.

Author21
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Stick to the RB20, it's a great motor and I really like what R31 House does with their cars! That's the only source of inspiration you need right there!

22

I love this! Function, Style, and Customization, and period correctness, all blended together perfectly! More builds like this PLEASE!!!

Author23
Dino Dalle Carbonare

The hunt continues!

24

The perfect blend of function, style, period correctness and customization!!! More builds like this PLEASE!!!

25

Wow, Im a Z guy an never knew the Z31 came with an RB engine ever! Guess im not that big of a fan, anyway great write up and beautiful example.

26

I think the US models got VG30 instead?

Author27
Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah only in Japan, so maybe not a lot of people knew about it?

28

I miss my VG30 Z31... Beautiful Z31 there!

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