May 1, 2019

Thorin's Fairlady Z


he Fairlady Z, or Datsun as it was called in the U.S market, has been an iconic car since its inception. The second generation 280zx is no exception, earning Motor Trends “Import Car of the Year” in 1979. When produced the second generation of 280zx’s put out 135bhp and 144lbft for the NA engine and 180bhp and 203lbft of torque for the turbocharged inline six. During their time these cars were affordable monsters for your average enthusiast. In today’s generation these cars have been used in varying motorsport disciplines with unique engine swaps to meet the need of the driver.

Meet Jeremy Lamkey and his son Thorin’s 1978 Datsun 280z. Jeremy bought this car for Thorin to use during autocross events (parenting at its finest). This 280z is currently powered by an LT1 SBC 350ci with a 700r4 transmission equipped with a sidewinder shifter. The LT1 has a mild camshaft, lifters and is bored to .030. This V8 engine is cooled by a four core aluminum radiator and electric fan set up. It is fed by an SFI fuel pump and a Speed Daddy fuel cell. The fuel cell tub had to be fabricated to make the work necessary upgrade work. An SFI fuel pressure regulator and gauge ensure the engine is being properly fueled to fight against lean conditions. The power is put to the ground through Form and Function coilovers. The old bushings have been replaced with Red’s Performance bushings. Vors 15x9.5 wheels are wrapped in the aggressive Toyo R888R 235/50/R15 front and rear.

The exterior is clean and track ready, painted in an LP2 Midnight Purple paint with clear coat. JDM fender flares give this Z an aggressive look from the front and rear. A custom made rear drift spoiler with the ability to be adjusted helps keep the rear wheels firmly planted on the ground. The interior has your common race car feel, stripped and functional. Bride racing seats in fabricated brackets keep Thorin firmly planted when rounding the corners along with a RJS 5 point harness and harness bar. Autometer Gauges give the driver all of the necessary information they need when pushing the LT1 to its limits on the track.

When Jeremy purchased the Z in November of 2018. The previous owner had done the V8 swap and painted the car. Jeremy and Thorin quickly realized there was a lot of work to be done. New mounts for the engine and transmission were installed as well as some refreshed engine components. The car was up and running in the middle of March 2019. They plan to autocross the car when a few more details are complete and are currently attending every car show they can. When we spoke to Jeremy about why he chose the Datsun his reply was,

“My son really chose this car because of his love for JDM cars like GTR's. I have always been a muscle car guy but this thing has grown on me because it is fun to drive but also because of all the fun I've had with my son building it.”

Check out Jeremy's Instagram for more, @datsun_dad and Thorin's account @datzilla_78. Photography credit to @chry_bmb and @fizz_works

Modification List:


Form and Function Coilovers

Red's Performance bushing kit


Toyo R888R 235/50/15 front and rear

Wheels Vors 15x9.5

JDM neo chrome lug nuts


LT1 small block Chevrolet 350ci, mild build with Cam lifters, bored .030.

4 core aluminum radiator

Electric fan


700r4 auto with shift kit.

Winters sidewinder shifter and linkage


LP2 Midnight Purple paint and clear coat. (R33 paint code)

JDM fender flares 2" front and 3" rear

Custom fabricated rear drift spoiler with adjusters


Removed interior

Fabricated seat brackets

Bride race seats

RJS 5 point harnesses

RJS harness bar mount

Autometer gauges

Fabricated dash for gauges and switches


SFI fuel pump

100-micron filter

Speed Daddy fuel cell

Fabricated fuel cell tub

SFI fuel pressure regulator and gauge