Small Tire Gangster: Nathan Kahler’s 1973 Datsun 240Z

Small Tire Gangster: Nathan Kahler’s 1973 Datsun 240Z

Photography by Nathan Kahler, Roger Pederson (RPM Photography).

If it has wheels, there’s a good chance Nathan Kahler is a fan. Growing up around go-karts, motorcycles, and mini-trucks, it was only a matter of time before he found himself infatuated with drag racing and hot rodding. Kahler cut his teeth on drag racing with a 2JZ-swapped Volvo 940, but eventually decided he had to go all-out to pursue his drag racing dreams. When he finally got the chance to pick up a 1973 Datsun 240Z in town, he knew what he had to do.

02 Nathan Kahler 1973 Datsun 240Z Import Face Off pasmag

The Datsun at one point had an LS engine in it, as Kahler was trying to balance street driveability and drag racing prowess in the same build. As he spent more and more time at the track, he realized he would have to give up some street comforts, and eventually went full race car once he broke into 8-second passes. The 2JZ was just the next step in a long line of transformations. These days you can find Kahler slaying the strip at Import Face-Off events, representing for classic Japanese drag racer fans.

03 Nathan Kahler 1973 Datsun 240Z Import Face Off pasmag

Nathan Kahler’s 1973 Datsun 240Z is featured in PASMAG Tuning Essentials: Performance Vol. 7. CLICK HERE to order.


Owner/Driver: Nathan Kahler
Location: Aberdeen, WA
Vehicle: 1973 Datsun 240Z
Engine: Toyota 2JZ-GTE 3.0L I6
Horsepower: 1,150 (est.)
Club: NIW Motoring
Competition: Import Face-Off


Facebook: /nathan.kahler.10
Instagram: @nathaninwa


  • Toyota 2JZ-GTE engine swap
  • Precision Turbo Gen 1 7685 turbocharger
  • R+R aluminum connecting rods
  • CP 1,600-hp real street pistons
  • Ferrea (dual valve springs, valves)
  • Brian Crower 276+ cams
  • ACL race bearings
  • ARP (625+ aged head studs, 2000 main studs)
  • Real Street billet main caps
  • Custom (intake manifold, twin-scroll header, valve covers, front and mid engine plates)
  • Grays Harbor Coatings ceramic coating
  • AEM (IGN1A coils, 4-channel AFR boxes, failsafe wideband)
  • Firecore wires
  • Ross Machine Racing 90mm throttle body
  • Mezzire 55 GPM stand-alone water pump
  • Speed Factory Racing small race radiator
  • ETS 5-inch intercooler w/ custom end tanks
  • Bosch (2200cc injectors, 1000cc injectors)
  • Shimless buckets
  • Nitrous Outlet X series kit
  • Aeromotive red mechanical pump
  • ATI balancer
  • GZ Motorsports crank case vacuum pump
  • Titan adjustable cam gears
  • ThunderBolt E98 fuel
  • DIY Autotune (engine management system, 8-channel canbus EGT box)
  • AMPEFI MS3Pro engine management system


  • 4-inch fender-exit down pipe


  • ATF billet flexplate
  • FTI torque converter
  • Reid cased 1.80 Powerglide w/ FTI components
  • The Driveshaft Shop carbon fiber driveshaft w/ billet ends and 1350 joints
  • Rhoades Racing Ford 9-inch housing
  • Yukon (aluminum carrier, 4.11 gears)
  • Moser (35 spline spool, 35 spline axles)


  • Race Star front wheels - 17-inch
  • Weld Racing rear wheels - 15x12
  • Moroso DS2 front tires - 26-inch
  • Hoosier C07 rear tires - 28x10.5
  • Wilwood (drilled front rotors, dual piston front calipers, rear scalloped/drilled rotors, 4-piston rear calipers, 1-inch master cylinder w/ dual diaphram 8-inch brake booster)


  • Custom (4-link setup w/ wishbone locator, chromoly lower control arms, tension rods)
  • Rhoades Racing chromoly roll cage
  • Chromoly (back half, front half)
  • Dual adjustable QA1 rear shocks w/ 80lb springs
  • Viking Performance Fbody Crusader front struts w/ 100lb springs
  • Modified S30 spindles
  • 1.5-inch chromoly rear anti-roll bar


  • Corvette Atomic Orange paint
  • 280Z front splitter
  • Seibon Carbon hood
  • Retrospec carbon fiber cowl
  • Ztricks (fiberglass headlight deletes, fiberglass doors)
  • Rear hatch delete
  • Tinted lexan side windows
  • Shaved gas door
  • Custom (roll pan, drag wing w/ carbon fiber struts)
  • Stroud parachute


  • Gutted interior panels
  • Kirkey (aluminum seat, seat cover)
  • Aluminum dash
  • Hurst powerglide shifter
  • Joes aluminum steering wheel


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