1977 S31 Datsun Fairlady Z

1977 S31 Datsun Fairlady Z – A large garage ornament which took up space


I’ve always loved the 240Z silhouette, with it’s classic design and styling and after a number of years, I bit the bullet and purchased a rolling chassis out of Franklin, Auckland back in 2015.

At the time of purchasing the chassis, I also got some parts for the Z restoration:

  • rear sway bar (as the car didn’t have a rear sway bar from factory)
  • adjustable rear lower control arms
  • genuine long stalk fender mirrors
  • genuine Fairlady badges including some NOS (new old stock) c-piller badges
  • new indicators
  • rear fibreglass duck bill spoiler (shitty quality really)
  • some repair panels including the rear end of another Z

The previous owner supplied some chassis plates and memorabilia from other dead Zs, but I always planned on putting this Z back on the road with it’s S31 chassis code and own build number.

Planning a Resto-Mod and Accumulating Parts

Since 2015, I slowly developed a resto-mod plan for the car including retrofitting the drivetrain of a 1996 R33 Nissan Skyline GTS25T under the old Z chassis with the intention to repair and modify the body at the same time.

Over the years, I continued to plan the modifications in detail, purchase parts to support the resto-mod and got quotes to undertake the mammoth job of chassis modification to accept the R33 Skyline drivetrain. I won’t go in to too many details yet of the overall plan, but the accumulated parts list was:

  • RB25DET Neo with ECU/Loom
  • R33 GTR gearbox converted to RWD
  • 200ZR rearward sump with factory OEM oil pickup
  • R33 Skyline R200 4.1 diff and 5×1 axles
  • R32 EFI fuel tank
  • Holset HX35 with Bullseye Turbo 0.7 A/R T3 housing 3″ outlet
  • Genuine cummins 90deg metal inlet for the Holset
  • S15 5-stud hubs and arms
  • Energy Suspension bushings kit from Summit Racing
  • Toyota Wish Electric Power Assist steering module and ECU
  • Link G4+ Extreme + ignition modules
  • Wilwood Superlite 6-pot calipers
  • Bride Ergo2 seats

Changing focus to the new Nissan Z and VR30DDTT

But as we can all understand, priorities in life can change and with the release of the new Nissan Z, the time and budget to complete a resto-mod Z to my design and intent became unrealistic and in some ways unnecessary as the new Nissan 400Z had more power, had classic styling cues from the S30 chassis and by my estimation, would be cheaper to purchase a brand new car with warranty instead of building up and modifying a car designed in the 60’s.

Of course there are disadvantages, namely not having a cool classic car to drive around in with those classics lines, the long hood, seating position pushed back to nearly over the rear wheels, and of course, the power to weight ratio to make lots of donuts and skids haha.

Time to move on from the old Datsun

So here we are, with the S31 Datsun Fairlady Z rolling chassis for sale. Granted it’s not a 240Z, but at least it is right hand drive, which is reasonably rare in New Zealand, and a rather large project for the next owner who is willing to take it on.

Cheers to the Z, which took up workshop and garage space while hibernating in dry storage for 7 years. And yes, I used to sit in it and make vroom vroom noises, while looking through the large rusted holes in the floor pan at the concrete pad..

As much as I have really really wanted to keep you, restore you and possibly turn you into an electric car – because that would be super cool! – I need to finish the Celica GT-Four and target the new Nissan Z as my coupe for the future. At least I’m keeping it in the family 🙂

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