My roadtrip to the french alps

So, I’m Back from France, and how could I start posting about this? So here comes my conclusion first: “This might be the best automobile experience in 22 years of motoring”. And this is due to the car I did it, my Datsun 240Z. Period.

Definitely a bucket list item that should be on every petrol heads list:

  • # Roadtrip through the alps in you classic car. (with a bunch of mates)

All in all I completed 2434km (about 1525miles) in 5 days/4nights. 23 passroads, the “route Napoléon”, some canyons, and had the best views.
I tried to be prepared the best I could, and had quite some tools an spares with me. All that was needed was 0.6l of oil to top up and a 22mm wrench. It really was a trouble-free trip for the Datsun. Every day after arriving at the hotel I did some 30mis of general checks. All that was found was a loose nut on the tie rod end. That’s why the 22mm was needed once 😉

When we left Luxembourg we had the following cars in our group of mates:
2x Datsun 240Z (1 yellow 1970, 1 blue 1973)
2x Triumph GT6 (1 yellow, 1 blue)
1x Porsche 911 964
1x Golf II GTI
1x Chevrolet Camaro 2016

But bad luck stroke fast. Even before crossing the french border the blue Triumph GT6 had a seized caliper and they went back home and changed it for the passengers ’85 Porsche 911 3.2.
The yellow 240Z had completely blown it’s brake booster, Unfortunately my spare 73 booster didn’t fit. So they changed the 240Z for a Toyota GT86 to continue the trip.
I would have loved to have 2 Datsuns on this trip, but maybe next year Yves + Tom have more luck, so that the yellow and blue 240Z can conquer the alps together

The map show you the interesting bit of our roadtrip, withe the daily stages. Nobody cares about the highway from Luxembourg to the alps, right?
As we where off holiday season, the passroads where actually quite empty. Not many bicycles, almost no caravans, a real pleasure!

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Unfortunately 2 cars broke down during our 4 days in the alps. The yellow GT6 had problems with the mechanical injection of its PI engine. And these things aren’t really user serviceable on the side of the road. The red 911 completely lost 2nd gear while shifting to pass a tractor. And doing alproads and hairpin bends without 2nd gear is no fun. So the GT6 was sent back home on a tow truck, and the 911 limped itself home in 5th gear on the highway. The GT86 had some minor brake problems, but some tinkering got the car through the trip.

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One day I will report some more about the driving, the alps, the vues,… but for now I’ll just let you admire some pictures I took. And I’ll start with 2 of my favourites.

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Project Datto: Roadtrip ahead

In preparation to a road trip to the French alps which includes 23 pass roads and approx. 2400km there was the urge to do some general maintenance and updates. I planned to do a Toyota front brake caliper swap to, but the parts did not arrive on time, so I’ll have to do this upgrade later.

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So after driving 500km on the newly mounted 5-speed gearbox (which I bought untested 3 years ago) I saw a small oil leak, so I replaced the rear transmission seal. While the gearbox was off, I also replaced the pilot bushing in the crankshaft as it had seen better days. Another item added to the driveline, a RT Diffmount.

Another thing I had laying around for moths was a complete engine-back exhaust from Zstory. After quite some fiddling to get everything right and a homemade header heat shield, I mounted everything up. It’s quitter than my previous pacesetter/homemade/… exhaust but the exhaust note is way nicer. In order to limit exhaust leaks to a maximum we decided to weld it up where we could 😉

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As I had to drain the coolant to remove the intake manifold to mount the header it was a good opportunity to flush the complete coolant system and even a better opportunity to change the tired old radiator to an aluminium Mishimoto radiator. As I wanted to stay with the mechanical fan on one side, but improve its effect I decided to fab a homebuilt fan shroud.

While cleaning the shed I even found the splash pan, which is rumored to improve cooling to. So I mounted this back up to.

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Another addition are front and rear tow hooks from Zstory

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I bled the clutch, renewed the rear fuel lines from the tank to the hard lines, mounted new Toyo Proxess CF2 tires in 195/65R14, changed the engine oil, replaced gearbox and diff oil, greased the U-joints, changed the auxiliary belt, got a oem replica 5 speed wooden shift knob…

And now wish me luck, I never drove more than 200km in one go, and now I’m trying to do 12 times as much in only 5 days. Let’s see if it can survive the torture. If it does, be prepared to see some super AWESOME pictures of these 2 Datsuns together in the Alps!

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Finally an update on my Datto

Sorry guys, but the blog is really running slow at the moment. But since I became a father, my free time is just way more limited. Owning 4 project cars (3 vintage ones and 1 track oriented one) doesn’t help either. I’m running behind on every single car.

The 240Z’s engine bay is finished and back together. At the moment I’m fighting a bit with my brakes. Might be the reaction disc in the booster. Have to investigate a bit further.

So we left with me DIY zinc plating parts. The finish is nowhere near professionally plated parts. But I love it and the fact it’s done by me is just satisfying.

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So after I chemically and mechanically stripped the engine bay, I treated some areas with rust converter (Kovermi) and later painted it in 2 layers of a 3in1 product for rust protection, primer and base coat (Brantho Korrux 3-1)photogrid_15130756883626286390548691154149.jpg

Once dry, I made my color choice. At first I was unsure if glossy black, silver, blue. But I decided to have it the same colour as the rest of the body, wich is Bahama blue #352 by Mercedes. Added a special clearcoat for engine blocks (KSD).

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Some minor details have been addressed to: painted the airbox in factory orange, new rubber on the wire loom holders, cleaned the wire loom itself and wrapped it in new wire harness tape…

Next step was mounting a 5 speed gear box and starting to reassemble the bay

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Made my own “molded” hoses with the help of a little trick

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Engine back in, new “awesome” plug wires, diy battery hold down bracket…

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I will post a complete before/after picture in the near future. Here are the 4 major stages of the bay

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And just for documentation purposes, the completed interior as it is at the moment. Still need to find a stock radio some day. Doesn’t need to work, just to nicely fill the hole!

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Project datto: I <3 this car

So, it’s back on its wheels, on the ground, washed,…
I managed to do 99.5% of the work I wanted to do over the winter and I’m really satisfied with the result of everything. Now all I need is better weather. Let the winter end!
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Oh and the work I did the last week to my floorboards. Quite the same procedure as the front wheel wells I did a few weeks ago. Spent 8 hours to get the underside of the floorboards, rails,… back to bare metal. Treated the metal and put on primer and special paint (Brantho Korrux). Hopefully they will last for another 20years now.
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Project datto: inspirations

So I was asked why the 240Z is such an iconic car to me and what I want to do with it and what my inspirations are… And this led me to search my own memories.

I remember seeing a yellow 240Z in my really early teenage years. Don’t remember where or when exactly it was. But I still remember my father referring to it as a Datsun. A what? As a kid you know most car brands, but I just didn’t know what a Datsun was. My dad surely explained it for me, but I can’t remember. All I know is that I really liked it. But hey every kid loves cars with this kind of body lines. Pic for starter:

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So I quickly forgot about it. My teenage years were all about 4x4s and Jeeps. At the age of 24 (so in 2002) I was all over the new Nissan 350Z. Quite literally pre-ordered one (new from factory and blue) as soon as it was at the dealerships here in Luxembourg. And back came my interest in the Datsuns, because it was where the 350Z came from, its roots,…

One of the first precise Datsuns I remember reading about on the net was Yukis V8 swapped blue 240Z. It might be better known as the Dookies 450Z:

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As the time flew by, my “hero” 240Z changed. There was the widebody period, the G-nose period, the fender flares period, big 17” wheels,… I mean, I would still love to own a g-nose with zg flares, but only if it left japan like that.

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But as I grew older my interests were changing. And I got into vintage cars, learned some mechanics and how to work on my own cars, the rarity of parts for old cars (especially from japan)…
So what are my ‘’visions today’’? I’m not necessarily a purist, but I would never cut up a body in good nick, so the fender flares idea is nice, but just not for me. My 240Z should be somewhat period correct and original but you can’t deny the lack of handling on old cars, the body roll,…

At the moment I really like Datsuns wich are looking like they could have been modified back in the 70’s (14” wheels, suspension,…) paired with better handling, a bit of comfort, refined details…
So these are some of the cars that inspire me the most at the moment.

  • The Bingo Sports 432:

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  • Kyusha’s hawaian 240Z kyusha

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22 Inzane 240Z

  • and quite some more

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I could post like 50 more cars, but hey, you got the idea what I mean.
Here is the latest teaser pic of my own car. I’m in the process of adding a BRE style lip
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Project datto: back on the ground

So after over 4 months on jackstands I managed to have most of the parts bolted back onto the car. I mounted my freshly painted rims and put it on the ground. Feels so good to see it sitting on all four tires. Need to dial in the coilovers now and do a complete geometry. For reference, the coilovers (BC Racing) are lowered all the way down at the moment. The rear is exactly where I want it to be. The front will be raised 5-10mm and I’ll have to dial out quite some camber!
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And there is a change under the hood. I added at least 30hp 😉
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