We recently had the privilege of talking to Jay, a very nice guy in England who happens to have an RB 240z and a pretty clean 911 as well. I’m a fan of people who have a wide interest in cars and aren’t limited to one make or model. And with all the jokes about people not knowing the difference between a Z and a Porsche, I was intrigued to talk to someone who owns both. Jay is further proof that not all millennials are idiots (I’m one too), we get a bad rap but more and more of my generation are coming into the car scene and drive Datsuns. And we can drive manuals! Jokes aside, Jay has an awesome Z and we at DPAN wanted to find out more…
Tell us a little about you, where are you from, background, what got you into cars?
My name is Jay, I’m 28 and was born and raised in the South of England. I’ve been into cars for around a decade now and it has become a big part of who I am.
When I was young, my parents got me a PlayStation and a few video games, and I instantly fell in love with Gran Turismo. My dad owned a bunch of cool cars when he was younger and I grew up with him wrenching on various cars and motorbikes.
I went to university to study engineering and was surprised how little I knew about the subject, so I thought it would be a good idea to buy a car that I could work on myself, to learn the same skills that I saw my Dad using and also to modify and personalize something I wanted to drive.
A friend was in a similar boat and went out and bought a Mazda Mx5, and it wasn’t long until he convinced me to pick one up too.
Ah.. Gran Turismo, the memories. One look at your Instagram and it’s pretty clear you have great taste in fun cars, but what lead you to buying a Datsun, and why the Z? Have you always been a Datsun fan?
I’ve always loved older cars, something about the way they drive, sound, smell.. My dream car was always an old air-cooled Porsche, and I would frequently search online in hopes to find a dirt cheap project I could pick up. As I began to modify my Mx5, I started attending track days. I remember being overtaken on the track by something that I didn’t recognize, but I instantly loved. I pulled in and waited for the car to pull off the track where I tentatively followed. The car had ‘Enter the Darkness’ on a black duck-tail spoiler and ‘Datsun’ ‘240z’ emblems next to it. My love for the car started that day and my searches for an old 911 were replaced with Datsun 240z. I signed up to a few websites and began reading as much as I could.
That’s a pretty great reason, but what made you buy your particular Z?
Datsun 240z’s are rare here in the UK and significantly more expensive than the USA. My searches had taken me onto various websites in the US, with the plan to fly out and buy one. I had been searching for around 5 years and watched the prices begin to rapidly rise when I decided I need to make a jump ASAP. I had been modifying the Mx5 for quite a few years and I knew I wanted something that I was able to modify, so I limited my searches to cars that had engine swaps. There’s posts on HybridZ dating back to 2012 where I’m looking for the ‘right’ car that had a clean body and an RB, VQ or JZ engine. Import engines are common here and lots of tuner support so I was keen to choose one of those over an American LS. I had come close to buying a couple of cars, a white VQ 240z and a Black JZ 280z, both fell through at last minute as the sellers were unhappy with dealing with a foreign buyer.
Then I was contacted by someone who had a Blue 240z for sale that had an RB25DET engine already installed and was already driving and at a very reasonable price I instantly replied and after several phone calls we agreed to the sale of the car. It took around 4 months to work through the logistics of payment and transport but eventually in mid 2017 the car landed in the UK.
That’s awesome. I sold my 240z roller to the UK, always wondered what happened to it. You also have a 911 in your garage, we’ve gotta know, how do the two cars compare?
The cars are totally different and I’m so lucky that I’ve managed to own both at the same time. The 911 is unbelievably quick and comfortable, you hit illegal speeds before you know it and it happily sits there all day. I’ve used it as a daily for over 3 years now and I can’t think of any other car that would be a better choice than it in its class.
The Datsun on the other hand feels ‘special’. Just walking up to the car makes me excited, the Blue really pops and there’s not a single unflattering angle. Opening the classic door and sitting inside the 70s cockpit is special, there’s nothing fancy and it really feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Turning the car on and hearing the RB fire up makes me smile, it has such a nice cold start and the idle burble is perfect. As soon as you pull away you’re having to wrestle the car; there’s no power steering and the 17″ wheels make slow speeds a challenge, but as you pick up speed the steering becomes sharp and you can point the bonnet exactly where you want to go. It’s such a visceral feeling that you just can’t get in a modern car.
Very well put. This is exactly why I love old cars. It might be an obvious question but which car is more fun to drive?
No long reply here the Datsun!
Haha, that was an easy question. Tell us about the Z, specs…
The car is a 1973 Datsun 240z, delivered to Arizona in the USA. The car has a stock RB25DET pushing around 240hp mounted using McKinney mounts and a 3″ custom stainless exhaust system. Externally the car has been made to look like the Devil Z from the Wangan Midnight Japanese anime: ZG flares, duck-tail and front air dam fully restored and resprayed in Royal Sapphire Blue. It sits on 17″ Rota RB wheels, brand new BC Racing Coilovers and 4pot disc brake upgrade. Interior is mostly stock, except a Momo Prototipo Steering Wheel and fully electric adjustable 300zx seats.
Good choice on the Z32 seats. Any future plans for the car?
Loads! Last I checked my list was over 30 items long I bought the car as a running project something I can slowly improve and modify whilst still being able to go to a car show or take for a drive if the weather is good. I’ve just finished upgrading the suspension and brakes, next I want to reduce the smell of gas in the cabin (as does every other Datsun owner).
Haha! Ah man… Sounds like we might be writing about this car again… Are there any other Datsun owners you hang out with?
Funnily enough my friend from Uni, who convinced me to buy my first Mx5, has just finished importing a 240z into the country and a friend also recently picked one up from Scotland.
I imported another Z over with the intentions to fully build an RB26DETT track car but I’ve sold that to my brother. So that makes 4 of us who now own a 240z! The Z community is small over here and I’ve already met a bunch of Z enthusiasts.
Awesome. Glad to hear the scene is growing over there. We look forward to hearing more from you!
Words by: Logan Neet