Topic: Why don't Datsun Zs dominate?

I've asked that question on Jalopnik, and most of the readers seem to think that the horrible condition of your typical $500 Z/ZX is to blame for the Z- which you'd think should do pretty well in an endurance race- breaking down so frequently at Lemons events.

Remember, no Z has ever finished higher than 8th in a Lemons race. Think of it as a challenge!

Re: Why don't Datsun Zs dominate?

You're right there is no reason that the Z car shouldn't do very well in Lemons!  It's a beautifully simple sports car with a long history of racing, yet it has been shown up by Saabs, Mazdas, Geos, and Toyotas.  One reason could be just how much older these cars are than most of their competitors.  If you look at the cars that have won Lemons races, most are at least ten years newer than the average Z car.  The Z cars that are not rusted beyond recognition have a zillion miles on them and everything is completely worn out, while the ruty ones require so much work to make them structurally sound, the mechanical parts are not prepped as well as they could be.

We hope to change all that at the Lamest Day!  In our first Lemons race, we plan to field a 1974 260Z.  We had planned to use a 280Z that I had stored out of state for nearly 20 years, but once we went to inspect it, it was FAR too late.  The car had literally given itself back to the earth in the form of massive rust formation.  There was no hope of saving it as there was no metal left to even weld to.  The cage would have required casters on the bottoms!

We quickly abandoned the idea of using the 280 and headed to CL for a suitable replacement.  We found our race car near Chicago.  It's a '74 260Z with no chassis rust and low mileage.  It's not pretty, it doesn't have a title and hasn't run in years due to what appears to be a case of the dreaded boat anchors they called carbs that came on the 260Z.  Why else would it come with five of the horrible "flat top" carbs - none of which are on the engine?

We haven't actually seen this beast in person yet, but we have a good feeling about it.  It will finally be in our garage next Friday and the autopsy will begin.  It died many years ago, but it will once again roam the earth as a zombie. 

Hopefully, the old Zed will survive the long night and show that a Z car can indeed hang with the newer cars - or it could be a long night of wrenching and swearing.  Only time will tell.

BRE Datsun (Broke Racing Effluence) formerly Dawn of the Zed Racing
'74 260Z
Facebook page … 2559430584

Re: Why don't Datsun Zs dominate?

This will all change come Buttonwillow! *hopefully* lol

Re: Why don't Datsun Zs dominate?

I replied to the Jalopnik article but simple put, I consider it bad luck.

While our car is deamed a cheater, I struggle with the $500 rule to keep the car legit.  We ran hot in New Orleans due to timing/ignition problems.  I thew in the spare radiator which I think is worse then the first one.  Once I took out some timing the car ran cooler but it still pinged and did not rev all that well.  I think it was it ignition module.  I replaced the distributor with one from O'Reilly's and it seems better now but cost about $130.  A new radiator is also about $150 and special order but I haven't bought one.

Our car is now 36 years old using about a 30 year old electronic ignition system rom a 280ZX.  It's some old stuff that ain't made for what were are doing.  The early EFI systems are complicated and harder to deal with than stuff today.  The early carbs aren't that bad but they ain't a single Holley.  Twin side drafts have some complexity too.

Rebel Z also had ignition problems and swappd their radiator which resolved their problem until they blew their head gasket.

Two other teams running 280ZX's had brake problems.  Low budget wore out their rear pads and the other guys blew a front line.  I consider that bad prep and somewhat negligent.  I've run 3 races on my front brakes and they still look great.  I swapped the rears to a more aggressive pad after the first race due to bias but neither set of rear pads has significant wear.  I replaced all of our hydraulics cuase they were really old.

Lastly, $500 doesn't go real far on new parts when lots of them start in the $100+ range if they are even available.  So you have to try and revive a dead car with more old crappy parts.

Mostly, we get penatlies.  Our car is pretty quick but still has limited grip.  We certinly have fun in Lemons and will continue to try and break the Lemons Z troubles.


#35 LRE
1973 Datsun 240Z

Re: Why don't Datsun Zs dominate?

4.8 residual value rule....snivel to Jay it might did with us

sawinatthewheel...sometimes too much, sometimes not enough...just like life