Datsun Fairlady Z06 Meshes Classic Lines and Modern Power

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With a wide body and over 550 horsepower, this Datsun makes the perfect Corvette-powered autocrosser.

LS Fest had its fair share of Corvettes, but some Corvette powered machines really stood out from the crowd. Larry Chen from the Hoonigans was out and about searching for those unique rides and stumbled across this gorgeous 1972 Datsun Fairlady containing a Corvette heart.

Tyler Powell, the owner of the car, goes over some of the details with Chen, starting with the engine. “It’s an LS7 that was in need of a re-build, but I had a custom cam made for it.” Lowering the torque (yes) was one main objective of the custom cam lobe profiles, all in exchange for power high in the rev range, making the engine a better match for this light weight car. With other Lingenfelter parts added, this Z makes about 550 wheel horsepower.

Fairlady Datsun 240Z Z06

Swapping this engine wasn’t a straight forward job, either, since the Fairlady Z has far different proportions than a C6 Z06. “It has the transaxle in the back, so I shortened the torque tube on the transaxle 15 inches to fit the 90-inch wheelbase on the car,” Powell explains.

Fairlady Datsun 240Z Z06

Speaking of new proportions, the idea around the wide body came more from Corvette than from Datsun. Powell didn’t want to restore this 1972 Z. Instead, after buying another donor car, he decided to play off the Fairlady Z name. “Once I decided on the Fairlady Z06,” Powell says, “it all took off. I looked at the C7.R race car and how they did the rocker panels. I just wanted to tie design elements in to re-imagine how Datsun would have done it if they were racing now.”

Fairlady Datsun 240Z Z06

Sitting a half-inch wider than a Z06 posed a challenge for Powell, since the selection of wide body kits made for the 240Z aren’t wide enough to span the 335 rear and 315 front contact patches. That led Powell to make his own.

Even with a fully built car like this, it’s still able to be driven on the street. Vintage air keeps things cool, and air ride adjustable suspension keeps things comfortable in this vintage coupe. We think it’s a great improvement on the original.

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Patrick Morgan is an instructor at Chicago's Autobahn Country Club and contributes to a number of Auto sites, including MB World and 6SpeedOnline.

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