See car, point camera, string a few words together, repeat. Stripped down, being a Speedhunter is a pretty good, if not a mildly repetitive gig.
OK, so that’s a bit of an oversimplification. As Vladimir so eloquently broke down, there’s often a lot more that goes in to it. And while the step-by-step can become ordinary, the subject matter typically is not.
I’ve seen countless cars in person, track to show and everything in between, but I’ve never seen anything quite like Tim Hick’s 1970 Datsun 240Z.
This intense labor of love began after Tim put his stock Datsun S30 into the rear end of a Cadillac. American metal can be quite stubborn, and in this case the front of the Z conceded defeat.
Damage done and little to lose, Tim decided to convert the car into something a little more race-oriented for time attack. After a roll cage was fitted, it was bumped into the Unlimited class and a ‘little more race-oriented’ morphed into batsh*t crazy.
As a trained auto body technician, Tim knows his way around a panel gap or two. But not a single panel was beaten in the Z’s resurrection. Instead, as a way for Tim to showcase what he’s capable of at his composites shop Industry Garage, the Datsun body has been largely reborn in carbon fiber.
Outside a bit of the door frame, floor pan and cowl area, most of the body is in glorious carbon. The front end that was once mangled, is replaced with a single-piece unit. Eight or so panels merging into one saves a considerable amount of weight; that’s just 15lbs (6.8kg) sitting on the grass in the photo above.
All told, the Datsun clocks in at around 1,800lbs (816kg).
Under the hood the original Nissan L-series is gone, replaced by a Honda F22C from an S2000 with a BorgWarner S257SXE turbo on the side. Controlled by a Link ECU, Tim says it should make 500hp.
On either side of the engine, not a whole lot of factory 240 exists. Where Nissan factory metal once was is now a network of tubing, aero mounts and ducting.
Inside are racing seats, the aforementioned cage and not much else, as you’d expect. What you might not expect is a racing wheel that communicates with the car’s computer via IR.
Suspension is a mix of Fortune Auto and Techno Toy Tuning components. The wheels are BBS RS stepped up from 15-inch to 17-inch in the rear.
As a nod to BBS race car heritage, Tim has also manufactured a set of custom turbo fan wheel covers – in carbon fiber of course. The front pair weren’t attached when I photographed the car though.
The mold for the fins was created with using an aluminum salad bowl, a dog dish, pre-preg carbon fiber and a standard household oven.
Tim is at the beginning stages of working the gremlins out of the car, and by the time I arrived at the Japan Classic Track Day held recently at Shannonville Motorsports Park in Ontario (more on this event shortly) where he was shaking the Z down, it was already sidelined for the afternoon.
The culprit was a bum axle seal. A replacement part was on the way, but no manner of highway weaving could get the seal from the shop and to the track fast enough to have it repaired before the day was done.
It’s my understanding the car has since been fixed and testing has resumed.
At this point I’m sure the car is somewhere between here and there, but Tim does have his own YouTube channel, Street Bandito, that has chronicled the build from beginning to now. It’s certainly worth a watch, and I look forward to seeing this car again next year. Perhaps we can schedule a proper feature of the fully dialed-in project then…
In the meantime, there’s more to come from JCTD, so stay tuned.