Restoring an Abandoned Datsun 280z – FIRST START IN 5 YEARS!

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Posted: 2023-11-20 18:00:35
Author: Dustin Williams
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*2015 Subaru WRX*
APR Performance GTC300 Carbon wing
Work Meister 18×11 +15 265/35
Crown Carbon Crafting Widebody
Seibon Carbon fiber hood
Tomei Exhaust
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Fujitsubo Headers
ETS intake
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Pro Tune
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Sway away front/rear sway bars & end links

*2005 Mitsubishi Evo VIII*
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VIS Carbon Duckbill Trunk
Rays Gram Lights 18×9.5 +12
Tomei Expreme Catback Exhaust

Dustin Williams Video Transcript

This is our Dotson 280Z I bought this car a little over 4 years ago to surprise my wife with her favorite JDM car early on and over the course of these 4 and 1/2 years of owning the car I was told the best way to do one of

These cars is to do a full restoration so very early on when we saved this car from the warehouse we immediately took it to my old shop and tore it down completely to a rolling shell which brings us to today you guys haven’t seen this car in about a year and over those

4 half years of owning this car A lot has happened so before we hop into it let’s go ahead and give you guys a complete recap of this 280Z let’s start from the very beginning I found this car in the middle of nowhere La sitting in a warehouse for 14

Years yes that’s true back in February of 2019 I found this car sitting in a warehouse in the outskirts of La it was left by the previous owner and the current shop took it on lean sale and they decided to find finally listed for sale which is how I found it now

Originally the car wasn’t running all right we’re going to give it the first try here oh that did not sound Good but when I bought it we took it back to the shop and did some basic maintenance luckily getting this thing running here we Go come on baby oh she’s she’s alive so we had a fully running and driving Dotson 280Z I lying if I said that I wasn’t pretty nervous and scared right now and I was able to surprise Tiana with her favorite JDM car which was awesome so there’s no power steering so it’s a

Little hard was that one yeah and like I said I was told that the best way to build one of these cars is to do a full restoration which is a great idea but back then almost 5 years ago I was nowhere near ready to take on a full

Restoration but we did it anyway FR is ready to come out and the motor’s ready to come out so it is officially time essentially we took this thing down from a running and driving car to a completely rolling shell so after stripping this thing down we took it to

The body shop which no longer exists anymore and we were going to get it painted one of Tiana’s favorite colors the porsa ceramic gray now after sitting at the body shop we waited and waited and waited unlucky for us it was actually painted incorrectly and they

Had to do it again so we waited a little bit longer and once the car was painted just how we wanted we went to the body shop to pick it up and unfortunately the shop lost all of our accessories meaning our door handles our trunk button our

Badging some of the lights Etc so we were left with a very very very bare car oh and not to mention they were also going to assist us in building the engine but during the process of them painting this car they left the engine upside down which means everything in

That engine was completely toast once we got the car back from the The Body Shop we essentially were so fed up with everything that we kind of let it sit and we had to figure out how we were going to get all of these parts that

Were just lost so we had so many other projects going on that this car kind of got left on the back burner but once we were ready to pick it back up we thought that the best plan of action to get everything we need for this car was to

Find another shell so that’s exactly what we did this car has literally everything every piece every badge everything that we need and it all works guys we did it we found our donor car for all of our stuff just in the back of some random lot we went to the junkyard

Found a very very bad 280Z shell but it had everything that we needed we got new door handles new trunk buttons some of the lighting that we need basically all of the accessory pieces we needed that car had which was awesome but also during that time we were in the process

Of moving shops so again we had so many other projects along with this restoration project that it was pushed to the back burner but when we were ready we took the engine that was basically completely unusable and took it to our friends over at Eric’s racing

So now we need to bring this guy back to life I don’t think it’s impossible who guided Us in the right direction getting the entire block built the head redone as well as triple we carbs making this thing an absolute monster now again the engine was just

The start we got the engine back from Eric’s racing and it was time to completely assemble this car and get this thing running in that process we put the engine in this car was completely stripped from top to bottom it needed new everything Tim went ahead and rewired the entire car from scratch

Which took a very long time and through that process we had to accumulate basically everything now this brings us to about a year ago when Tim wired this car up we finally heard it crank for the first time in almost 4 years oh my God but unfortunately that’s

As far as we got we needed a reputable and knowledgeable tuner to tune these carbs cuz this is something that we had never dealt with unlucky for us we didn’t really know anybody and not a lot of people tune these triple weers to begin with we have finally found

Somebody to tune this engine and get it started and running under its own power for the first time ever today we pick back up this 280Z build we’re going to finish it and officially surprise Tiana with a running and driving doson 280Z the infamous 280Z it’s been five of

The craziest most stressful years with this car we’re finally making progress I honestly kind of feel like this is our very own devil Z in a way you guys have seen all of the Heartbreak that we had the hardships with this car the engine being left Upside Down The Body Shop

Losing all of our pieces I mean it’s been an up and down roller coaster but today marks a very very big history in the 280z build let’s hop into it now that you guys are caught up on the build let me get you up to date on the current

Situation back in September in the midst of all of our SEMA car building we found taka he’s an excellent ztuner all the way from Texas he made his way all the way out to California to come see if he could get r z started in the next few

Episodes you’ll get to see the fate and outcome of r z will the past 5 years and all of our hard work be worth it ready here we we Go let’s get this Z finished this car has kind of been dormant over the past few months and what you guys haven’t seen is Tim has done a lot of work on this car with wiring figuring things out gauges Etc there’s been a lot going on behind the scenes that we haven’t shown

You guys which we will dive into later on in this video what’s most important right now is we have a very special guest in the shop with us this is taka from CA house hi so Tak T is basically a a z Mastermind right uh you do more than

Just Z’s though right yes what what all do you do taka um mainly uh specialize in carburetors uh restoration and tuning service yeah so as you guys know we have a fully built l28 bottom end rework top head we do have a 10.5 to1 compression ratio a 550 lift cams I mean it’s

Gnarling so you can see in the shop we have a lot of different cars in here uh but this is probably our our most indepth and biggest build that we’ve tackled and like I told you over the past 5 years it’s been a nightmare but carburetors are something that we’ve

Never dealt with before so when we put them on we didn’t really know anything how to tune and and these are very particular so taka what are you doing here today with the cars um so today I am trying to uh synchronize the carburetors and get it tuned up uh

Unfortunately um it is quite not ready to drive yet so I can’t do the Drive tuning uh however um I just want to make sure everything runs it’s operable um in operating condition should I say and uh that I’m able to you know at least get the Baseline tuning uh figured out right

Now so that you know we can get to that next so as you guys can see the car is in pieces right now and it is this way because Tim wired this entire car and Tim wanted to make sure before we button this thing up tape all the wiring put

The dash back in that his wiring was correct thankfully today with the help of Taco we actually figured out that Tim did an incredible job and got this thing to actually work properly so what Taco is currently tackling is there may be a bent throttle yeah so there’s little um

Problem with trying to get the synchronization uh correctly um so these two are not synchronizing so I’m trying to see if I can make some adjustments to the uh carburetors um so I can get them fully synchronized um cuz you know having a proper properly synchronized carburetor is very

Essential for triple carburator of course of course so that is what he’s currently working on and when he’s he’s not sure if he’ll be able to correct the issue now if it comes to it we can take the carburetors off and send them off to his shop so that he can rework them

Himself but he can see how far he can get currently so that’s what he’s going to work on now we’ll show you guys the official first start with it running as good as it possibly can right now this is going to be awesome let’s get into it

Taka do also don’t find our little fuel setup here um when I was out of town as you guys know I don’t know at what point this video is coming out I’ve been out of town for the past month and again Tim’s been doing a lot of work and

Through his work he actually looked into the fuel tank and noticed that we have a completely just disgusting rusted out fuel tank much like how our Tokyo Drift Evo was and so we dropped that fuel tank and we are just using a temporary like motorcycle I guess we could call it fuel

Tank right now now that’s directing fuel to the engine so that we can get it started and the goal is to obviously just get a completely fresh tank um by the time taka gets back he can drive this everything the interior will be back in the fuel tank will be in I also

Should mention that at this point in time Tiana has no idea that number one taka is here number two that the car runs number three that we’re even thinking about putting it all back together so this is going to be a surprise for her but probably by the

Time you guys are watching this video Tiana’s already seen the surprise so for us this is going to be very exciting because Tiana has no idea that this car is about to turn on today granted we’re not going to show her until the car is completely finished on the ground put

Back together but this is pretty damn exciting and I hope you guys are excited as well for those of you that are ogs you’ve been tagging along with this for the past 5 years and it’s been insane so today is a very big day for us so let’s

Watch taka do his his Masterwork and let’s have some fun luckily like I said taka is a master of his craft soon after arriving Tako was able to listen to the car and dial in just what they Needed oh my God oh my God what the after getting the car running it was time for him to test timing and adjust these carbs as best as he can adjustments and we’re going to see if it helped at all but if not I mean as far

As we’ve gotten today is more than the last 5 years so Taco thank you here we go this is the the first start for all of you guys oh my God hold on let me adjust it yeah yeah yeah holy that was like a monster truck rally yeah honest I have no idea

What she’s getting into yeah I foret I forget this is Tana’s car now remember we don’t have an exhaust it’s just a pipe down there right now so don’t pay attention to that cuz K’s going to make us a custom exhaust but the car it runs and idles it’s insane oh my 5

Years 5 years second so now you you can really see taka adjusting everything making sure it an idle checking the levels of everything see his micro adjustments based off of what he hears and what he sees that’s so cool I’m trying to synchronize it but

Um uh yeah I’m trying to get the idol to stabilize itself yeah oh my God oh my God what did we create Frankenstein sounds great sounds really good devil z i I literally at the begin of the video I said this is our own version of Devil Z because of how much

Pain and suffering we’ve gone through this thing but all of it’s about to pay off oh my gosh taka I think I can speak for everyone in saying that we are so excited and pumped thank you so much all good man a and this is just the

Beginning you got you got to drive this thing yeah we’re about to go on a drive next time um it’s a little on the Rough Side still um I like to maybe when I come back do a little more fine tuning on them before we go on a drive but um

Uh yeah they actually synchronize now so yeah they’re they’re good yeah so yeah bracket you know that so yeah they’re fully synced now um so yeah next next step is find F tuning oh my gosh I’m so pumped now we just got to put this thing back together

Well now that it’s all done the engine’s running the wiring supposedly working right yeah then I can put it back together now and that’s that’s what I was waiting for oh my God for the first time in I keep saying 5 years we’re going to have full interior wiring new

Gauges a running car like this is just it’s unbelievable yeah I’ve been working on this thing for 3 years so we’ll show you guys that very soon yeah taka thank you so much all good man thank you pretty pretty pretty close man Tak is dropping some knowledge on us

Right now I love it all the information so that’s really freaking cool all right taka so carbs are good engine seems healthy good to go very healthy engine nice I’m very excited so um basically we will I guess we won’t have to do any Breakin until you drive it correct I

Mean basically we’ll button everything up and next time we see you it’ll be be first time we’ll do some tuning all the business you’re the man we’ll see you very soon I’m so pumped if you guys have any cars you need tune this is definitely your guy I’m excited to see

Where we go from here now me and Tim have a lot of work to do so let’s get Started Sh