Recently DPAN had a chance to sit down with Daniel Song and talk with him about his experience at last years SEMA show and about the car he brought, a beautiful 240Z dressed with a unique vintage livery.
DPAN: I’m sure all of us would agree that being able to have a car at a booth in SEMA is a dream for a lot of builders. That must have been an awesome experience, tell us a little bit about how it happened?
Daniel: SEMA was an incredible experience. The 240Z was actually my 4th vehicle to be shown at SEMA but easily the most special one. Every other vehicle was intentionally built or prepared for SEMA whereas the Z was never built for the show or a magazine. The Z was simply a personal project meant for me to enjoy. I had no idea that 3.5 years after starting the project that the car would end up being shown at SEMA and covered by so many media outlets. The car was shown in the Eneos booth and had a special vintage race livery on for the show. Eneos knew that they wanted to do some sort of graphics on the car for promotional purposes and Eric from JDM Legends wanted to make sure the graphics would fit the look and feel of the car. After doing some research, Eric found an actual race livery used on a Datsun race car that was then lifted and modified to work with the Eneos brand and colors. It was super cool seeing the Z in the vintage race livery and I think a lot of the people who followed my Z build enjoyed it as well.
DPAN: Very cool, pretty awesome the car was able to get that kind of recognition without being built for that purpose, it really goes to show what the level of this build is. But we have to ask, of all the cars you could build, why a Datsun?
Daniel: Why not?! I try to enjoy a wide range of vehicles and not try to corner myself into just one type or brand of car. I’ve been very fortunate to own some amazing cars over the last decade. Each car I buy has to have a special or unique characteristic that makes it different from anything else in my collection or previous ownership. Up until this project, I had never built or owned a vintage car. Every car I’ve bought and modified has always been a modern sports compact, or exotic super car. The profile of the Z is striking and so timeless. I knew that if I were to dive into vintage car ownership, the Datsun would be the ideal choice for me.
DPAN: That’s definitely true, the design still works all these years later. Tell us about the build!
Daniel: The project took about 3.5 years, which was a lot longer than I thought. I didn’t really have any pressures of a deadline since the car was never really built for a specific show deadline like SEMA. I bought a clean, semi-rust free Z to use as the base car to build off of. Originally I thought the car would end up being a personal garage project that I would work on at home during my free time. I definitely bit off more than I could chew. I did the full deconstruction on the vehicle and then had my buddy Tuan Hoang of Pigment help me do the body work and paint for the car. We did a complete color change to white and left the fender flares, front air dam, and rear spoiler in a satin black finish. Once the car was painted, it came back to my house where we started the initial reassembly. I quickly realized that when it came to the drive-train and other mechanical components of the car, I didn’t have the right equipment or knowledge to tackle this portion of the project. Right around this time, my son was born and my time became quickly consumed with the family and not with the Datsun build. The car literally sat in my garage, untouched for about a year. After a year of just collecting dust, on brand new paint, I reached out to Eric and his team at JDM Legends to see if they could finish the project for me. After some initial conversations, I knew he was the right person for the job. He understood my vision for the car, and was able to help in the areas that I had very little knowledge about. The car was at JDM Legends for about 13 months before she made her grand debut at the 2017 JCCS show in Long Beach. Fast forward a year later, and Eneos wanted the Z in their SEMA booth.
DPAN: I’m sure we can all relate to things getting in the way of a project, but seeing the car finally take shape I’m sure was very rewarding. Tell us about the direction you went with the car and why you chose to go the way you did with the build?
Daniel: I wanted to create a tribute Fairlady Z vehicle. We wanted to capture as much of the Japanese aesthetic details and components as possible for the car. I knew we’d have to stray away from a purist restoration, but also wanted to make sure we didn’t deviate too far from the original ethos and spirit of the Z. I knew immediately doing a big engine swap, turbos, or over-sized wheels was out of the question. I went with a clean white paint with black fender flares and body details to keep the car classic in feel. I ditched the US door mounted mirrors for the Japanese fender mounted mirrors and all the badging for the 240Z was ditched for the Fairlady Z badging.
DPAN: Well the car came out beautiful, simple, clean and perfectly executed. Tell us, will you be back at SEMA this year? What will you have this time?
Daniel: Yes. I will be back at SEMA 2019, but this time with the brand new 2020 Toyota GR Supra. The car will be shown at the Toyo Tires Treadpass booth and will be heavily modified. There’s a lot of big things being prepared for the new Supra and can’t wait to show you guys!
DPAN: Awesome we can’t wait to see it. I know the new Supra has it’s fair share of haters, but I’m a fan! Definitely looking forward to seeing what you do with it. Do you have any other projects in the shop? Any more Datsuns planned?
Daniel: No other new projects other than the new Toyota GR Supra. That’s kept me plenty busy the last few months. No current Datsun builds in the pipeline, but if there was an opportunity to buy, and restore a clean 432, I think that would be a dream Datsun build for me!
DPAN: Well if you get your hands on a 432, please let us know! I’m sure our readers would love to hear more about your Z the 2018 SEMA Eneos feature car, what can you tell us?
The car is a 1972 Datsun 240Z…
· 240ZG Front & Rear Over-fenders
· Type 1 FRP Front Air Dam
· Z432 style rear spoiler
· 432 Fairlady Z Front Mesh Grill
· OEM Bluebird Fender Mirrors
· OEM Euro/JDM Style Turn Signals & Tail Lights
· Fairlady Z Badging (Fender, Hood, Spoiler)
· House of Kolors – Custom Pure White Pain
· L-28 Motor (Fully rebuilt)
· 280 ZX Flat Top Pistons and Street Cam
· 45mm OER Carburetors
· JDM-L Custom Stainless heat shield
· JDM-L Custom velocity stacks w/mesh filters
· JDM-L Custom shaved valve cover
· Vibrant oil catch can, AN fittings/lines
· KAMEARI 6-2 SS Header (Fujitsubo)
· KAMEARI Twin Pipe SS Exhaust (Fujitsubo)
· JDM-L Spark Plug Wire kit
· KOYO Radiator
· KOYO Oil Cooler
· T3 Steering Coupler
· 280 ZX 5-Speed Transmission (Fully rebuilt)
· EXEDY Clutch
· Competition Clutch Lightened Flywheel
WHEELS & TIRES
· Volk Racing TE37 V Wheels (including 5thspare wheels)
· TOYO R88 Tires
BRAKES & SUSPENSION
· WILWOOD Front & Rear Big Brake Kit
· T3 Front & Rear Lower Control Arms
· T3 Front & Rear Coil Over Conversion
· T3 Front & Rear Strut Brace
· T3 Mustache Bar
· T3 Roll Center Adjusters
· Koni Shocks
· OEM 15/16” brake master cylinder
· MSA Front & Rear Sway Bars
· Urethane Bushing replacements
· SS Brake Lines
· OEM Fully Restored 240Z Dash
· OEM new door cards
· JDM-L custom 432 Style Tachometer & GPS Speedometer
· JDM-L custom Water, Oil, Fuel, & Temperature Gauges
· Datsun Competition Steering Wheel
· Datsun Competition Shift Knob
· Bride Histrix Carbon Bucket Seats
· Custom diamond quilted Transmission Tunnel & Headliner covers
· New carpet kit
~ WORDS by Logan Neet
~ SNAPS by Daniel Price / Car Culture AE.