This Incredible Nissan 300ZX Has a Legendary Land Speed Racing Engine01/06/2022
Mention Nissan’s Z-car family and, depending on who you’re talking to, the conversation will probably head toward the bare-bones, ’70s-era sportscar icon, or it’ll settle on the easily obtainable, undeniably affordable 350Z and 370Z models. If I were to butt into the conversation and give my robotic two cents, I would absolutely bring up the 1990 300ZX.
Ahead Of Its Time
Likely not your first thought when discussing the lengthy Z-car family tree and that’s fine, you’re not alone. Following in the footsteps of a certified legend like the early Z models is no easy task, but break out the catalog on the 300ZX and it’s not hard to realize just how ahead of the curve Nissan really was at that time.
A breakaway from its predecessors in terms of styling and aura, the Z32 sat close to the pavement and stretched much wider than its older siblings. The unique rear quarter window just below the waterfall roofline and its fixed headlight treatment placed it in a class all its own. Add to that a twin turbo, 3.0-liter V-6 that belted out 300 hp over 30 years ago and a suspension that, even today will plaster a smile across your mug, and you can understand why I feel like this model deserves a brighter spotlight.
Dream Car Collective, a group that specializes in obtaining virtually unobtainable vehicles and shipping them worldwide as well as helping their customers handle associated paperwork, customs, and even titling, is offering this stunning 300zx with a one-of-a-kind heart. The 2+2 model has had a single owner for almost all its life and is in remarkable condition inside and out. Yes, it’s modified, but it’s not the dirty aftermarket air filters and obnoxious muffler combo that accompany so many other examples.
This Z32 is powered by a piece of automotive history: a JUN Auto Mechanic-built salt flats race engine. If you’ve never heard of JUN, the Japanese tuning brand was the brainchild of Junichi Tanaka, who originally ran a machine shop in the early ’80s after having worked with the family business, Tanaka Industrial Ltd., which engineered and manufactured two and four-stroke engines. He would go on to make a name for himself modifying 240Zs and later Z models, often pulling monumental power numbers from the native L-series engine before finding his way to turbocharging where things escalated quickly … literally. The JUN Auto engine building and go-fast parts line would eventually branch into JUN body shop that served as an early adopter of composite body parts to help cut weight.
Making His Mark
In 1990, JUN Auto built a Z32 and traveled to Bonneville alongside fellow Japanese tuners TBO and Central. The trio would make an impact at the salt flats with both TBO and JUN running exceptionally well, even with their limited access to high-powered passes on unsettled surfaces like the salt flats. Before returning home, JUN was the front runner of the three Japanese entrants with a 228.3 mph pass. Tanaka and crew would later build another Z, even fiercer than the first, and return to Bonneville to eclipse 260 mph on the salt flats – the first for a Japanese car. In 2019, at the age of 76, the legendary Junichi Tanaka passed away. The JUN Auto legacy lives on through his next of kin and he leaves behind an unmatched resume of motorsport-related research and development, race victories, and multiple instances of absolute dominant performances in competition.
Upon the return from that first Bonneville visit, a collector’s request to purchase the car was denied by JUN, though the idea of building a one-off Z using that lethal engine setup wasn’t out of the question, and that’s how this black Z came about in 1990. Currently the chassis carries very low mileage with even less on the unique engine set up. Pristine paint and not a ding or dent in sight, the original body remains picture perfect. Inside, a full roll cage snakes through the interior and travels through the original dashboard with trim pieces used for a nice, clean appearance, the factory seats are replaced by Recaro buckets, and a bevy of gauges are housed in the center console to monitor engine vitals. It’s an all out racecar engine seated in a time capsule chassis and is well-mannered and reliable enough to be street driven.
Over 30 years later, the high-performance heart is still pumping with its polished, oversized custom intake and all, and it’s up for grabs. Capable of 800-900 hp with the dyno sheets to back those claims up, Dream Car Collective says it’s ready to export now and they can have it delivered to its new home just about anywhere in the world. If this is your calling, contact DCC via Facebook or their website to talk turkey.
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