We were really excited about having the opportunity to work on our 1978 Datsun 280Z because almost everyone we’ve spoken to owned one at some point or knew somebody that owned one. This car had such mass appeal due to it being compact, stylish, and athletic for its time. So nearly everyone from your classic muscle car guy to your average non-car enthusiast respects and appreciates a Datsun. What made this car even more interesting was despite its size, it could deceptively make some much taller drivers very comfortable behind the wheel!
Normally, a lot of our builds involve packing in loads of horsepower, installing advanced high-performance upgrades, and making them obnoxiously loud. But for our Datsun 280Z, our plan was to go down more of a modern-day “nostalgic” path. So while we’d be giving it a lot of small upgrades, the mission was to complete a build that paid homage to the Z’s history as if this same car was still made today.
While most of the upgrades we added were relatively simple, one of the trickiest parts we had to install was the CD009 6-speed manual transmission that we got from Nissan. While these transmissions are universal in the engine swap world, we needed to make some enhancements to make it adapt to our Datsun’s L28 inline-six engine. In order to do that we needed to cut off the bell housing to the CD009 and then add an adapter plate attached to a separate bell housing better suited for this engine. Even though this may sound extreme, this kind of conversion happens quite frequently. We just needed to be extra careful and precise not to cut anything that we need to make this operation successful.
While we don’t normally find ourselves working on imports, we can say that we are very proud of the work we did with this project. We wanted to keep the heritage of the Datsun’s pursuit for performance and style alive with this restomod, and we were able to make our friends at Nissan very impressed. By taking the best parts of the old, and adding in some modern-day accents, along with some of Nissan’s top-shelf performance upgrades, we believe our Datsun 280Z Heritage Restomod is the perfect collection of all things “Z.”