The Exterior

After completing the mechanical work, it was time to turn attention to the exterior. I found a local body and paint shop (Accurate Lines Collision) that enjoyed doing other than normal collision repair. I stopped driving by after seeing a media-blasted Triumph Spitfire outside, and with the doors open, a JDM Nissan Skyline being repainted inside. The owner, Steve Velez was excited to do the Z8.

His shop removed the windows, doors, hatches and hood so that all the yellow could be replaced with a metallic gray color. Several small dings were removed. He found a little rust in the rocker behind the passenger door, so replaced the metal there. Inside that rocker panel, he found an inactive mouse nest. That probably was instrumental in creating the rust, although most Z-cars have some rust issues in this area. The shop also removed the side marker lights and filled the holes, and removed the hood emblem and Datsun logo on the hatch - small changes that made the car look a little cleaner to me. The cutout for the exhaust pipe on the passenger side had no shape (I had just made a cutout the same shape as on the driver's side), so they modified and installed a cutout that I had taken from the driver's side of another 240Z.

Here's what it looked like in the paint booth. The jams were all painted by this time and most of the doors and hatches reinstalled.

The shop installed the headlight covers which I had purchased to smooth out the front lines. They did a slight tint to them so that are more visible and your eye has a tendency to include them in the body lines.

The only glitch at the body shop was when I was waiting to pick it up. They were waiting for some clips to reinstall some interior body panels so had it out in the lot during the day. By a stroke of bad luck, someone backed into it, slightly damaging the rear quarter panel. Fortunately, the body shop stepped up to the plate and fixed it so that you can't tell at all where it happened. Color matching the paint wasn't a problem, the repaint had only had a couple of days to fade.

The original chrome wheels were replaced by 15x7 (zero offset) Panasport wheels which I sourced from Spruell Motorsport in Georgia. These are really nice folks to deal with, and excellent Panasport pricing. I'm still using the 195x60-15 tires that were on the car when I bought it (they were new), but after I burn them off, I will go to 215x60-15, at least in the rear.

The bumpers when I got the car looked ok from a few feet away, but on closer inspection were pretty rusty. When I took off the rubber strips, they looked terrible, with bubbling chrome/rust all over. I tried to find some good used ones via a wanted ad on CraigsList, but to no avail. When that failed, I took them to a high-quality plating shop (Queen City Plating) in the Seattle area for a bid on rechroming. I was told it would be three months and $3,500! He wasn't smiling when he said it, so I don't think he was joking. They know how to get rid of jobs they don't want. In the end, I found a new NOS front bumper and rubber strips, and a rechromed rear bumper with NOS rubber strips at Rod's Datsun in California. Not cheap, but very nice and a fraction of having Queen City Plating handle things. I decided they would look better without the over-riders, so I replaced those with chrome dome bolts. After my experience with 240Z bumpers, now I know why you see so many 240Zs running around with painted or missing bumpers.

Here are some shots of the car as finished, I'm very happy with the way it looks. It's hard to make a car as beautifully styled as the Z look bad no matter what you do, though.

Since I took these pictures, a couple of people commented that it didn't look finished with open centers in the wheels. But I didn't like the look of the plastic hub covers that came with the Panasport wheels. This prompted me to crank up the milling machine and make some billet hub caps.

Do you like this better?


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