The car was purchased roughly 5 years ago, one month after graduating high school. I was 18 at the time, and knew hardly anything about cars. I had previously been driving around a 93 Civic EX, which was bone stock, but I was hesitant to spend money on it because of the minimal power gains for the price (that and I was broke).
My older brother owned the car for 3 years prior to my ownership, and after being married for a few months his wife decided he should get rid of several toys of his. He phoned me giving me the opportunity to own the car first, since he didn’t want to see it leave the family. I sold my Civic in order to buy the Z.
The first year of ownership was very trying. Roughly 3 months after I bought it, a few of the stock injectors decided to die. Me not knowing anything about cars, took the car to the dealership for diagnosis. $75 dollars later they told me I had an injector going out, and handed me an estimate for over $1000 bucks! Extremely scared of that large of a bill, and only being 18, I decided it was best if I learned how to start wrenching. After all, my father used to be an old gear-head, and obviously my brother was into the whole car thing. I learned how to do the injector replacement off of another Z website.
Shortly after the injector death, I upgraded to “Stage 3”. This consisted of a reprogrammed ECU, Greddy Sp exhaust, and up boost to 14psi. It ran great for about a month and then the stock clutch decided to go on strike. Needless to say it was back to the learning board on how to do a clutch replacement. This being a much larger task, requiring a broader range of tools, my brother assisted me with this.
With the car running great for several months in a row, I decided it was time to make my first ever drag strip appearance. My first two passes I clicked off some mid-high 13 second runs, however following my string of luck with this car, it decided to develop rod-knock at the end of the 2nd pass. I could feel my stomach in my throat at that point. Literally 5 minutes after limping it back into the pits, it started pouring and everyone left for home. I had to desert my baby 3 hours from home. My brother and I returned 7 hours later to pick it up on the trailer.
With the car now needing a rebuild I decided I wanted to go all out. I didn’t want this type of thing to happen again, so I spent the entire next 12 moths saving and putting my engine together. This was also my first time messing around with internals so I was not the quickest on getting it back together. When it was all said and done the car came back out with a built block, bigger injectors, bigger turbos, and piggy-back engine management. After break-in the car was making ~475rwhp and in 2005 it bested an 11.5@118mph at IRP Raceway in Indianapolis IN.
In the winter of 2005 my thirst for more power grew, and I decided to complete the motor build by porting my own heads, adding a set of Jim Wolf Race Cams, and doing some aftermarket manifolds. This was a very rough period for me because I spent hours and hours (over 50 to be exact) learning how to port heads, it was very dirty as well.
I put the car back on the rollers and it put out 540rwhp on pump gas. In mid-June of last year the car ran a best of 11.2@124mph at Route 66 Raceway in Joliet. Shortly after, another clutch took a crap, and I was tired of pulling engines, transmissions, so I decided to stop with the car for a few months. I was debating on going to even bigger tubos and around December/January I finally decided I wanted to go RB.
There was really no information out there about the RB26 swap into a Z32. Plenty of guys had done it to older generation Z’s, as well as 240sx’s. There certainly were no wiring diagrams, no engine mounts, etc. I ordered the motor in Mid-January and received it about a week later. It was spotless, and I even found a new OS Giken Triple Plate clutch behind the motor all for free!
Over the next 4 months the car underwent a complete transformation. I ripped the old engine out, parted it out and sold it off in pieces. I completely threw away the old red interior, and began prepping it for the roll cage. The roll cage process took about 2-3 weeks, and after receiving it back, I went to work on doing the custom vinyl that replaces the tweed pieces on the doors.
Shortly after the roll cage was complete, I began work fabbing the motor mounts. Since I had discovered that the RB bell housing would bolt on to the Z32 transmission w/out any modification, it made the motor mount process very simple. I was able to utilize the stock 300ZX trans mount, drive shaft, sensors, and shifter. After everything was in place I completely deloomed the RB26 wiring harness and removed all of the AWD electrical components, and shortened the harness by about 4′ overall.
The car took its first breath of life shortly after and I spent a few weeks straightening everything out to make it road worthy. To date the car is now making 560whp on pump (11.60sec 1/4-mile) and 680whp on race gas.
1. 12.0@122mph in the Z (inside view, pump gas)
2. 12.0@122mph in the Z (outside view, pump gas)
3. 680whp on the Dyno (race gas)
4. 480whp on the Dyno (pump gas)
5. 680whp at the drag strip, broken output shaft