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SP Rides: Rain or shine, it’s Z time

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BY MICHAEL KITCHENS

Name: Jonathan Sison
Age: 28
Occupation: NEX distribution center worker
Hobbies: Japanese classic cars, anime, Japanese pop culture
Year, Make, Model: 1972 Datsun 240Z
Color: British Racing Green
Engine: 280z L28 engine Schneider stage 1 cam, carbon fiber valve cover Triple Mikuni 40 phh carbs, Mikuni intake manifold, Crane cams ignition, Custom 3 row radiator
Exterior: BRE rear spoiler, 75-78 280z OEM hood with MSA one piece ducted airdam, FRP bumpers
Suspension: Eibach springs on Tokiko Ilumina struts
Wheels: 15-by-7 Konig Rewinds, Federal SuperSteel 595 tires at 195/50ZR15

Although at 5 years old, Jonathan Sison was surrounded by Ford lovers such as his father and grandfather, his uncle talked a good game about Nissan. Wowed by stories about the Nissan GT-R and the Z name, Sison was force-fed a love of JDM classics that soon became second nature to him. His first car was a 1986 Toyota Corolla. However, soon after, he purchased his first Z-car, which was a right-hand drive 280ZX.

Fast forward to now, at 28 years old, he’s the proud owner of this 1972 Datsun 240Z. First introduced to the United States in 1970, the vehicle was an instant hit. It was so popular that there was a waiting list at many dealers across the country.  The “Z” had arrived and since then it’s become an iconic model that’s continued on ever since.

What made the “Z” popular was its affordability as well as its impressive performance and handling all wrapped up in a front-engine, rear drive layout that screamed sporty. It certainly looked the part thanks to its swooping bodylines and aggressive appearance.

Although well loved, this Z had sat for about seven years, and required some sorting after its initial purchase by Sison. The basic maintenance was completed immediately, including a replaced fuel tank. However, even that couldn’t stop the dropping of a valve seat three months into ownership. Regrettably, it happened after the installation of some triple Mikuni carbs.

Undeterred, Sison acquired a new head for the L28 engine and had it redone by Snyder Machine Works. In addition, a Stage 1 cam was added for good measure. Combined with the Crane Cams Ignition as well as the custom three-row radiator, the vehicle runs just as good as it did off the factory line now.  It also looks fantastic thanks to a carbon fiber valve color.

The classic bodylines are better left untouched, so they’ve been mildly augmented with a 75-78 280Z OEM hood that has been altered with the addition of an MSA one-piece ducted air dam. A slick BRE rear spoiler helps provide additional downforce with a classic touch.  Although we were blessed with a smattering or rain during our photo shoot, it only served to enhance the curving bodylines of this beautiful vehicle.

The car rides on an old-school street setup that includes on Tokiko Ilumina struts that also include Eibach springs. This provides a comfortable ride on the 15-by-7 Konig Rewinds which are also four-lug versions. 

The interior is relatively untouched, although it does feature an upgrade when it comes to the audio with a Blaupunkt head unit and a wooden 240Z shift knob. The wooden steering wheel is also a stunning throwback to the era.

The 240Z is the car that sold Japanese cars in the U.S. It took the country by storm and was competing with the likes of Porsche and the MGB-GT as well as domestics. It’s a timeless classic. For Sison, it’s about chasing a dream, finding the one car you love, and then not wanting to let go. With this build, he’s trying to match the standard without deviating too far from what made it great in the first place.

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