I don’t think there’s a single person among us that would say 2020 has gone to plan. Feel how you wish about the reactive measures that governments around the world have taken in response to COVID-19, but they’re here for the foreseeable future.
Virus ignored, socially and politically it’s also been one hell of a year. I’m not sure about you, but the lens I view world news in has shifted from ‘what’s new?’ to ‘what now?!’. But silver linings exist within most forms of calamity, and the world slowing down has, in the very least, provided all of us with more time and more perspective.
With the life outside of automobiles becoming more troubling by the hour, our beloved hobby has become a very welcome and needed safe haven of normalcy. Quarantines have made the streets barren, and with race tracks feeling the squeeze of social restrictions, they’ve been practically begging people to come and use them.
If showing your car is a priority, then 2020 hasn’t been your year, but those who want to drive their cars have found themselves in a somewhat fortunate situation.Enjoying The Ride While It Lasts
Like it has for all of us, 2020 has thrown Tim Corbin, the owner if this 1972 Datsun 240Z, a series of curve balls. Instead of focusing on those wild pitches, however, Tim has used the extra hours they’ve afforded to enjoy the car he’s built more than he would’ve been able had the world been operating at full speed.
Because normally his life involves considerable amounts of travel, Tim has always been the type to drive his car rather than look at it sitting still. In fact, the first time I saw the car it was parked outside the show I found myself photographing, and had I not walked out when I did I would have missed it.
The seasons here in Ontario, Canada can be pretty short, so staring at the car behind a velvet rope has never been anywhere near a priority. Like many with this same mindset, Tim’s also not much for social media. He uses it, sure – it’s an almost unavoidable entity at this point – but his use centers around connecting with others who have similar interests.
As a result of no real desire to enter shows, or overly broadcast the car, it keeps a relatively low profile despite in my opinion being one of the best looking Z cars in the province.When Life Offers Stillness, Be Still
This car is, at its core, perfect Speedhunters subject matter: It’s honest, tidy, and most importantly extremely useable.
Power options for Datsuns are plenty – even within Nissan’s own family of engines – but Tim didn’t buy this car to strip it of its character or occasional whiff of unburnt petrol.
An L28 remains under the hood, and it’s the same one Tim purchased the car with. Unfortunately, shortly after he took ownership a pesky oil leak led to a diagnostic teardown. While apart, Tim had the motor stroked to 3.0-litres, and on reassembly triple Mikuni carbs were fit to a Mikuni manifold.
The straight six symphony is piped through a titanium exhaust fabricated by the same talented madman behind this 1JZ-powered E46 M3. Plans were laid to do some headwork to the engine this year, but given 2020’s unpredictability, well enough has been left alone for now.
Driving the car more made Tim realize that there was really no reason, currently, to change a motor that’s proving to be quite well sorted.
So, anticipated headwork downtime was replaced with well enjoyed seat time.It’s A G Thang
While processing these photos I found myself really taking in how impactful the G-nose front end is to the overall design of the 240Z.
When paired with the right modifications, like the authentic Marugen Shoukai Works fender, lip, and spoiler package, the Z looks almost exotic.
Overall, there isn’t really a single modification to this car that I would deem out of place.
‘Timeless’ is a bit of a feature-writing hyperbole, but cars like this are where the look originated, and in this setting they are truly a timeless usage.
Equal era-appropriate care has been taken inside; Bride seats of a fitting vintage are fastened to the floor boards, backed by an Autopower roll bar. A simple Nardi wheel and woodgrain shift knob provide driver touch points.
Techno Toy Tuning provides many of the suspension updates, including a triangle strut tower brace under the hood, and a more traditional 2-point brace in the rear.
Ground control adjustable coils bring the ride height down and are paired with Tokico Illumina shocks. The front control arms are billet pieces from FutoFab, and the rear arms are once again Techno Toy Tuning.
Cruising around, the ride is as you might expect – firm but not bone-jarring. It responds to being pushed on the track, but doesn’t punish on the street.Leaving A Mark
The Z doesn’t exactly walk lightly thanks to very wide 15-inch Watanabe wheels affixed over Wilwood discs up front and factory drums in the rear.
From both a visual and performance perspective Tim isn’t much a fan of aggressive stretch, so finding tires that fit both the wheels and flares wasn’t an easy task.
After searching high and low, Pirelli P7 Corsa Classic tires were selected due to their availability in healthy 235/45R15 up front and an insane 305/35R15 in the rear.
The P7 is actually a tire designed for rally applications, and getting a set imported and fitted required a hoop or two to be navigated. But I’d wager you all agree they were well worth navigating; the stance of this car is an absolutely function-oriented thing of beauty.
I do try my best not to be an envious man, but as I rode shotgun I couldn’t help but feel jealous that Tim has had this car to help him get through the ridiculousness of 2020. It’s hard to focus on the news when a straight six under hood is begging you to push the throttle down just that little bit more…