Roger S 1977 Datsun 280Z 2dr Coupe

She Lives Again

My saga of my 1977 280Z is hard to believe. When I was planning for my retirement in January of 2000 and happily anticipating leaving the ice and snow of Northwest Indiana for the sunny climes of Greenville, North Carolina, I thought that the dream of a ground-up restoration of his original, beloved 280Z – bought new  was dead (HLS30-405670). Even though I’d only driven her for the first five years in the salt and slush, the deed was done. My restorer looked underneath and pronounced, “Find a new shell!”

However, through the help of the Z list serve and Carl Beck, I found the same car I’d bought in 1977 for sale in Anderson, South Carolina (HLS30-412310). She was identical, even the same color (301), except she had a 4-speed instead of a 5. She had been bought new in Chicago within months and fifty miles of my original purchase. Better yet, she had been on blocks since 1978 and had only 15,000 original miles on the odometer. Sadly, it was November of 1999, and my retirement stash wouldn’t be available until 2000. The day looked dark. However, the sellers were great and took a deposit after Carl found someone from the same small South Carolina town to inspect her.

Shortly after my arrival in Greenville and amid the ice aftermath of the great Raleigh snowstorm, I tried to drive the new girl back from South Carolina. Time had taken its toll: rotten fuel lines and bad gas clogged the injectors. It took nine hours at 5 mph on the dark interstate amid the blaring semi horns and ice to bring her home. I had held the steering wheel so tightly in my left hand that it was weeks before the pins and needles went away.

So the old Z was sadly dismantled for her parts, 5-speed transmission, and modified engine. Roger Williams, who gave her her funeral drive, remarked, “Get many tickets with this.” However, the old girl will live again. A Cartech turbocharger has been added to her now-gold engine and soon the old girl will come back to life in the new body with the 5 speed and a brand new emblem compliments of Jay Miller and some cash. The turbo project has demanded a rebuild, visits to machinists, and frequent parts scavenging. After all, it’s the original Cartech system that was offered as an aftermarket bolt-on in the late 70’s. Right now, the new girl has 300 HP at the rear wheels, 36,000 miles, Dayton chrome wire wheels, and NISMO headlight covers. She is a frequent winner in class at Z events, especially in stock and for her beauty.

Please note that I have always owned female cars; I’ve never gotten along well with male ones. You’re surprised that cars have gender? That’s why you have to be careful what you park next to in malls. Some cars are promiscuous and have the morals of alley cats. After all, that’s where Yugos come from.

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