Budget-build Nissan 300ZX takes on Adelaide Classic

By: Dave Carey, Unique Cars magazine

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Meet a car with a colourful history, that's about to go racing

Budget-build Nissan 300ZX takes on Adelaide Classic
WIll the race car be heavy and slow? We'll see...

The Adelaide Motorsport Festival and Classic Adelaide rally together promise to be a veritable orgy of exotic metal and carbon fibre, with some machines commanding values with more zeros than a beachside property.

But not all entrants are so well heeled; the Ross Smith and Gavin Porthouse entry contains just two zeros; both in the name! The 1984 Z31-model 300ZX they are campaigning in this year's event was originally bought by Ross for just $350 and given to a mate, Bart Smith (no relation!) to turn into a track-day special.

It had received a turbo upgrade, but wasn't running. "Together we started stripping it out, but then Bart decided he needed to impress a girl, so he purchased a bunch of new interior stuff and I helped put it back together again!"

It must have worked, as Bart now has two kids with that girl and his new lifestyle dictated a new ride. Ross bought the car from Bart, but not before they had kitted it out with full TOKICO suspension, a rebuilt R200 differential, 3-in turbo-back exhaust and a manual conversion.

Bart, Ross and computer guru Anthony Symons replaced the factory computer with an AC Delco unit from a Camira working through six Holden LS1 coils. "It's tuned for torque to drive it out of the corners; the Delco has a self-learning capacity, so it tuned itself off a bunch of sensor readings," he explains of their unorthodox installation. "We then checked the data and tweaked it. Ant spent considerable time mucking around with the power enrichment table on his laptop."

Since Ross, his girlfriend Emma and his team, started the process of converting the Z to a log-booked rally car back in April, they have congregated every Wednesday night to work on the project. "We've fitted a PWR radiator, a Walker Chassis cage, a pair of Velo race buckets, Terraphone intercom, RallySafe computer, removable Momo wheel, a brand-new Garrett T3 turbo and a Turbosmart blow-off valve," he checks off.

Ross continues, "The whole build has come in at a bit under $20k, which is cheap for a national log-booked rally car. Nobody races the 300ZX; they're heavy and slow!" he laughs.

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