Great Moments in $2000 Challenge History: V5-Powered Nissan

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Mar 12, 2018 | Nissan | Posted in Features | From the Oct. 2016 issue | Never miss an article

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David Melton has brought more than a few Z-cars to the Challenge over the years, and for 2007 he entered this 1987 Nissan 300ZX. It started as a non-turbo automatic, but he swapped in a turbocharged five-speed driveline pulled from a $450 parts car. Then he added MegaSquirt and subbed in a larger turbo compressor, nearly tripling boost to 20 psi.

How’d it do? Sadly, somewhere before the autocross his V6 engine turned into a V5. The drag races were rained out that year, but he still finished 16th out of 46 entrants. He also took home that year’s Phil Kime Memorial Spirit of the Event Award.

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View comments on the GRM forums
edizzle89 Dork
3/12/18 12:53 p.m.

Hey I own that car now! Just bought it from Dave in March of last year. It's currently getting a 4.8 swap mated to a nissan 5 speed that came attached to an extra VG30ET which was included in the sale. Have plans to get a m122 blower on the 4.8 after i get it running/driving to get the bugs of the swap worked out.


It wont ever be a challenge car again unfortunately but in the sake of tight budgets, after selling the extra engine that came with it and engine/trans out of the car the total value of the car with the LS swap will be under $3k.


evildky SuperDork
3/14/18 4:08 p.m.

Why did you cut out the core support?


I did pass your info on to a couple of people looking for Z31 parts

Trackmouse UltraDork
3/14/18 5:10 p.m.

In reply to evildky :

probably the same reason I did it. No room for a proper radiator and proper e fan setup. Works wonders. He *could* bolt a new piece back in there and have it removable. But it did make a bit of difference on my celica as far as chassis flex. 

evildky SuperDork
3/14/18 5:16 p.m.

Looks like he mounted the radiator int he stock Z31 position.  Even the intake clears where the upper core was. Not seeing a reason to remove it. I've seen people fail to grasp the concept of putting the engine and trans in one at a time cut these out. I guess they'd rather cut out structure than to plug the engine and trans in separately.

edizzle89 Dork
3/15/18 8:33 a.m.

In reply to evildky :

Yea i did have a guy come get that extra hatch that i had a few months ago. But i cut the core support out for ease of swap. With how far back the LS sits vs. the VG30 its borderline impossible to get to bellhousing bolts in or out with it in the car. I do plan on making a bolt in piece to replace it.

evildky SuperDork
3/15/18 11:26 a.m.

When I did the initial build on the car I put the engine and trans together and on the crosssmember and put them in from the bottom (floor jacks and jackstands only, no lift). Total PITA, only did ti that way once. I just don't like the idea of losing structure.

spin_out HalfDork
3/16/18 10:25 a.m.

I thought this was  great moment??

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/18 1:53 p.m.

Cool, glad to hear that Z is still out there. 

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