Mar 10, 2014 update to the Nissan 350Z project car

Dusting off the Z Car

Scheduling project cars around here can be tricky. We have to balance our publication schedule, our promotion schedule—so we can tell the right people what projects we’re working on—and the actual work on the car, which you’ll note we must also photograph and document. So it’s not surprising that some cars sit for a bit before getting ready to make their big debuts.

In the case of our 2003 Nissan 350Z, there were other factors as well. We found a great deal on the car about a year ago, but weren’t sure what we wanted to do with it at the time. We only knew that a 350Z project would serve the readers well, as those cars are becoming downright affordable.

Fast forward to today: Several inches of dust and little progress have settled on our Z. So we finally came up with an excuse. The Tire Rack SCCA Championship Tour kicks off this weekend with the Dixie Tour in South Georgia. That would be our coming out party.

But before we could even safely drive the Z to the event, a few things had to be taken care of. The clutch on our 176,000-mile car was shot, as were most of the rubber bushings in the suspension and subframes. It also didn’t have a battery that would hold a charge.

We had to pull a few favors with suppliers, but after 31 years of publication, we have a few favors in the bank. Exedy got an OEM-spec clutch to us in a couple days, Whiteline expedited a set of urethane bushings, and Optima Batteries quickly provided juice for our Z car.

It now looks like we’ll be able to drive our newest project car (newest we’ve gotten our hands dirty on, anyway) to Georgia for the event. The question is how competitive we’ll be. The car currently sports a set of no-name shocks and “lowering” springs slapped on by a previous owner. Eventually, real suspension will take it place, but for this first event it will have to do.

The Z also sports a set of 19-inch Volk wheels with mismatched tires. We’ll later install a set of 18-inch TSW wheels and BFGoodrich Rival tires when it’s competing in the STU Solo Class. We have our fingers crossed that the wheels and tires will arrive before we leave for the event, so we can at least get a realistic baseline.

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View comments on the GRM forums
coachmk21 None
7/3/14 2:58 p.m.

Which specific clutch did Exedy send you that meets OEM-spec regulations?

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