The Datsun name might have died in the mid ’80s in place of the Nissan nameplate, but the brand is coming back in 2014 as a low-cost label to be tested in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil.
For those who remember Datsun, the news is bittersweet. The company became synonymous with high-performance sports cars world because of the 240Z. The grandfather to Nissan’s 350Z and 370Z, the 240Z was the hottest car in the early 1970s and still has a worldwide cult following.
Among these people are Rejean and Richard Desjardins from Moncton, New Brunswick. When we caught wind of this father-son’s re-worked 240Z, we knew we had to get it into the magazine.
Desjardins updated the vehicle with a few modern touches without taking away from the car’s heritage. This is a 240Z through and through but, upon closer inspection, there are modern touches that make even non-classic car enthusiasts turn their heads.
The classic-contemporary design philosophy is evident in the bodywork. Wrapped around an MSA Type 3 body kit, the car is definitely wider and meaner than the original. The added grille on the front fender in particular gives the car a menacing demeanor that is popular in modern sports cars, while not taking away from the 240’s distinctive sleek angles.
The body is the main modification, but other exterior changes also blend the old with the new, such as halogen glass headlights and chrome accents around the car and a carbon fiber taillight accent piece.
Boasting a slightly newer engine in the 3.1-liter L28, the performance has been re-worked with a good mix of old and new parts. On the older side, there is a Datsun 280Z valvetrain and air intake, a two-barrel throttle body and an intake manifold from Mikuni-solex. Modern touches come from things like a K&N air filter, Bosch spark plugs and custom fuel rail and camshaft work done by local auto shop I.R.A.C.
The stock drivetrain has also been swapped with parts from an early ’90s Mustang and a 240SX.
Distinct Work Wheels VS-XX rollers match nicely with the chrome accents around the car. The round and angled wheel pattern also works well with the bodywork. Kumho tires surround the wheels and Wilwood brake calipers help stop the 200 horsepower this work of art is packing.
Inside, the seats are reupholstered using leather and vinyl from Colin’s Auto Upholstery – another local shop – and the floor mats have the distinctive “Z” logo emblazoned on them. A custom chrome five-point roll bar is a nice touch, both in terms of safety and as a matching feature. Perhaps the coolest thing inside is an autograph from legendary hot-rod modder Chip Foose prominently displayed on the dashboard.
The final touch of the old-new blend is the audio system, which isn’t the most pimped out, but definitely gets the job done with a head unit, amps, speakers and subs from Alpine and custom work in order to make this auditory goodness fit comfortably in the car.
Rejean’s 350Z was actually featured in these very pages in 2007, but it was his son Richard who did the majority of the work on this 240Z – showing the apple really doesn’t fall too far from the tree.
Originally purchased in the early 1980s, Rejean kept his 240Z in his garage until Richard decided he wanted to bring it into the modern age in 2004. Since then the car has been a nice complement to his 350Z on the Canadian show circuit, picking up a number of awards including accolades at ImportFest Toronto and Montreal.
Without a doubt those judges saw exactly what we’re featuring here: a perfect blend of great old-school design with modern innovation and flavor.
Model: 1970 Datsun 240Z
Built by: Richard Desjardins, Rejean Desjardins
Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada
Engine: 3.1L L28 (circa 1975)
Datsun 280Z valvetrain
Russell Performance (braided stainless steel lines, fuel pressure regulator)
K&N air filter
Mikuni-solex (air intake, two-barrel throttle body, 44 mm intake manifold)
Custom (fuel rail, camshaft, cast aluminum oil pan)
Holey 15 psi in-line fuel pump
Bosch spark plugs
Belden ignition wires
HKS (Hi-Power muffler and tip)
Custom (up-pipe, down-pipe, dual exhaust)
SPEC Mustang clutch
T5 Mustang transmission
Nissan 240SX CV joint axle swap
Custom T5 Mustang to Nissan 240SX
LSD driveshaft conversion
Chassis / Suspension:
Arizona Z Car front and rear shocks, springs, strut bars, control arms
ST Suspensions sway bars
Energy Suspension polyurethane bushings
Wheels / Tires / Brakes:
Work VS-XX wheels – 18x8.5 (f), 18x10.5 (r)
Kuhmo tires – 225/40 R18 (f), 295/30 R18 (r)
Wilwood brakes (black powder-coated calipers (f/r), master cylinder)
Two-piece slotted rotors (13-in. (f), 12-in. (r))
MSA (Type 3 body kit, Victory fiberglass spoiler)
Custom molded fiberglass flairs
Chrome door handles
Halogen glass headlights
Smoked headlight covers
Carbon fiber taillight accent piece
Shaved (marker light, antenna, badging)
Leather and vinyl upholstered seats
Chrome five-point roll bar
Grant carbon fiber shift knob
Carbon fiber print steering wheel
Custom leather (shift boot, E-brake boot)
Classic “Z” logo carpet
Upgraded fuse panel
Dash signed by Chip Foose
Audio / Mobile Electronics:
Alpine (CDA-9885 head unit)
M500 subwoofer amplifier
Type-S 10-in. subwoofer (2)
Type-R coaxial 6.5-in.rear fill speakers (2))
Custom (front kick panel, back speaker enclosure)
Kinetik HC1800 under hood battery