Driveshaft Disaster

Ah, the “joys” of classic car ownership.

Who knows when the trouble started? Did I push the car too hard on a club drive in the mountains? Was it a long-term problem that finally reached the end? Does it matter now?

A few weeks back I noticed a vibration in the drivetrain on acceleration. Having experienced loose bolts between the driveshaft and differential many years ago, I inspected that area and found loose bolts again. I tightened them and thought that the vibrations were lessened. I fooled myself.

When the vibrations returned, I started noticing that it wouldn’t always stop on disengaging the clutch. However, moving the shifter some, would cause some movement, and the vibrations would cease until I accelerated again. Strangely enough, going 70+ MPH would tend to lessen the vibrations significantly. I convinced myself that the transmission was going. I made arrangements with a friend to do a transmission swap. I fooled myself.

Yesterday, I took the car out for a club showing. It was more difficult to get the vibrations to go away. I thought I could get it to last a little while longer. Nope. While making a left turn, I engaged the clutch while giving the car some gas. There was a loud POP, and a thumping sound under the car. I knew immediately that the driveshaft let go. I was hoping it was the bolts at the rear differential. Not a chance.

I coasted to an abandoned gas station at the corner, set the emergency brake and looked under the car. The front of the driveshaft was hanging down. Game over.

I called Hagerty for a flatbed tow. The service agent handled it like a pro. She got my information and got a truck to my location in less than 45 minutes…on a weekend. While I was waiting, I texted a friend my dilemma. He let me know that he had a spare driveshaft. I checked with another friend to see if it would be compatible. It was.

The flatbed got the car home safely, and I pushed it into the garage. That was enough for one night.

I disconnected the driveshaft from the differential in the morning. Then I made the trip down to Tim’s for the replacement driveshaft. I drained the oil from the transmission since I knew oil would come out when I pulled the remains of the front part of the driveshaft from the transmission. I had the replacement ready and pulled out the damaged part. Fortunately the oil went right into the drain pan. No mess. I slid the driveshaft onto the splines of the output shaft of the transmission. Then I lined up the rear of the driveshaft with the differential. I put the bolts and nuts back in on the opposite corners to get everything lined up. Then I went to put on the third nut. Oh, I didn’t have them oriented properly. I took the bolts off, turned the driveshaft a quarter turn, and realigned the parts. That did the trick. Soon enough, all four bolts were back on.

All that was left for the night was to put the sway bar back into place and connect the exhaust hangers. With everything buttoned up, I put off refilling the transmission until later.

Posted in 260Z, Mechanical | Tagged | Leave a comment

Rise and Shine – Caffeine and Octane

Maybe it just takes a special kind of car nut to get up early on the first Sunday of almost every month and drive 40 miles to a car show. Maybe I’m just a nut.

The alarm rang early on this Sunday. It was the first Sunday of the month and first Sunday of the year. I gave myself some extra time to get ready and was able to stop and grab breakfast on the way in. I arrived at the REI parking lot around 6:15. I set that as a gathering place to make it easier for people to arrive together for parking. Not too many people showed up. That wasn’t surprising for the winter. It was good to see familiar faces and a couple of new faces. We started our cars and drove the last half mile to Perimeter Mall, the current location for the show. We parked our cars, and Scott helped me set up the Z flag. It serves as a good landmark for other Z cars.

Usually the cold months reduce the crowds at C&O and bring out some unique cars. Well, the crowd was strong today. Maybe people just needed to get out of the house after the holidays and rain. Sure it was cold, but it didn’t seem that cold to me. Some more friends gathered around where we parked, and a couple of more new faces showed up, as well. People came and went as they sought out breakfast and looked at cars then returned to see if any other Z cars arrived. Soon, the lots were pretty full, and the sun was lighting up the sky enough to start photographing.

I started with the older Z cars parked near me and moved over to the main lot. There were a lot of old hot rods, old trucks, and other classic cars. These are the cars that catch my eye the most. After I returned, I chatted with my Z car friends until the cold got to them, and they departed. I stayed around a little while longer, answering questions for passers-by, opening the hood for the curious, and listening to Z car stories from people who remembered when they had one. I told some people about the next Georgia Z Club meeting. I hope they show up and get to share their Z car experiences with the whole club.

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For more Caffeine and Octane photos, go to my car photography blog.

Posted in 260Z, 280Z, Caffeine & Octane | 4 Comments

GZC Karting Event (10 Photos, 20 GIFs and 4 Videos)

Some members of the Georgia Z Club gathered at the karting track at Atlanta Motorsports Park on October 24 for a morning of driving and spinning.

The karting track at AMP is a challenging course with some significant elevation changes, four 180 degree turns, and a long straight that lets you get up to about 50 MPH or more before one of those 180 degree turns. It will test your skills, especially as you negotiate the track with people of different driving talent and experience.

I chose not to drive in order to take some photos and video of the event. I got in my driving afterward as Robert, aka El Prezidente Zupremo, took us on a backroads trip to Jasper for lunch. I would have video of that, too, were it not for a camera battery dying less than a minute into the drive.

Enjoy the photos, gifs and videos. Click on the photo below for the album.
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Update – Flickr changed my GIF files into JPGs. What do you want for free? I have hosted them on WordPress so you can enjoy them.
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Friday at Jai’s

Today was dedicated to helping out Jai. She has a 280Z that has been giving her problems. A couple of us have tried to help her before, but while her car was running slightly better, it wasn’t running reliably. This trip though, I had an Ace up my sleeve.

I packed my tools up on Thursday evening. Earlier in the day, I had installed some new LED headlights. I gassed up the 260Z as evening fell, so I could see the results. Boy, were those headlights misaligned. I aimed the headlights better, got the assortment of tools together (with the assistance of my wonderful wife), and loaded up the Z.

I like to get up early in the morning to go to Jai’s house. She lives close to two hours away. I started out about 7 and headed in the opposite direction of most traffic. The chosen route consisted of wandering country roads. They were perfect for the Z. About a month ago I saw a website that said maximum fall colors would be on October 24th. Well, that wasn’t quite correct, but there were plenty of red and yellow leaves mixed in with all of the still-green trees. Fall has been moving in, but summer had not given up the fight, yet. Traffic was light, and I arrived at Jai’s around the expected time.

The first order of the day was to charge the battery. I connected the charger to the battery and plugged it in. The car hadn’t been run in about a month, and the battery felt it. Mix in a few cold mornings in the last week or so, and a boost was required. The charger was pumping out around 5.5 Amps. If the battery could talk, it would have said, “Feed me, Seymour.” Of course, I would have been confused, since my name isn’t Seymour. Next I sent a text to Tim, the Ace up my sleeve. He was leaving his house just then because unlike me, he could not take a reasonable route that would avoid the city traffic. Therefore he was waiting out rush hour before driving up.

To be productive before Tim’s arrival, I decided to look at what electrical contacts I could clean. I started with the fusible links. They were oxidized, so I put a wire brush on my rotary tool and beat the oxidation off. I followed that with a good coating of dielectric grease and put the links back into place. Not long after that, Greg showed up to hang out and help wherever possible.

I set my sights on the ECU for the next clean-up. I removed the driver side kick panel and studied how to remove the ECU. Greg suggested disconnecting the battery first. Not being one to ignore a good idea, I unhooked the battery and went back to the ECU. The interesting thing is that you need to remove the ECU before you can disconnect it from the wiring harness. After removing the ECU from the car, I sprayed the electrical connectors with Caig Deoxit and went at them with a wire brush on the rotary tool. Convinced that I had removed as much oxidation as I good, I sprayed the wiring harness connector with Deoxit and got the ECU back in place.

Tim arrived around 11:30. He is a great guy to know if you own an early Z. The Yiddish term for someone like Tim is Mensch. He unpacked his tools and immediately started to assess the car. By now, the battery was in much better shape, so we took it off the charger. Tim used a remote starter to bump the engine over to get to the timing mark to highlight it for setting the timing later. Then he was ready to listen to the engine, so Greg started the car for Tim. Tim unplugged with Throttle Position Sensor (TPS…no reports needed), and the car ran the same. That shouldn’t happen. While it was unplugged, he cleaned the contacts. He removed the cover from the Air Flow Meter (AFM) and moved the vane. He determined the car was too lean, so he went to adjust the spring only to find that the bolt that holds the tension on the spring was cross-threaded. That was my fault from trying to adjust it during a previous trip. It was ALL TOO CLEAR to me now why many people say to leave it alone. Tim was not going to let that ruin the day. He went back to his truck and returned with…you guessed it…another AFM. He cleaned the contacts and got the replacement AFM situated.

It was time for round two. Greg started the car, and it was immediately running better. Tim guessed at the RPM and checked it with his timing light (that also will show the angle and RPM). He was pretty much spot on. He set the timing and the idle. I secured the kick panel, and we cleared the tools out of the way. It was ready for a test drive…after we checked the torque on the lug nuts. After torquing the lugs, Tim and Jai went for a short drive. They came back a few minutes later, and Jai was ecstatic. The car ran great on the test drive.

The next order of business was somewhat bittersweet. It involved the sale of Jai’s 240Z. She is the original owner of a 71 240Z with a manufacture date of 10/70. That is referred to by many as a Series I car, sporting many features carried over from the 1970 model year cars. Nissan phased in some changes as the 1971 model year progressed resulting in some cars that have Series I and Series II traits. Jai had to park her 240Z many years ago due to some issues with the brakes; issues that she could not afford to fix. Sitting out exposed to the elements is not good for a 240Z. The tires were flat. The paint was ruined. An ant colony had taken up residence under the battery. The seats were decayed vinyl and crumbling foam. Several of us had looked at the old 240Z and said that all we saw was a parts car. Tim has a different mindset from most Z car enthusiasts. I told him about the car and sent him pictures. He believed there was enough there to save. It also doesn’t hurt that he has an excellent support network that can help him. It would end 44 years of ownership for Jai, but there is hope for continued life for the 240Z.

Jai and Tim agreed upon a price. Next we needed to extract the 240Z from its resting place for the last 8 years. That was not going to be easy. The key was not readily available, so Tim had to remove the ignition switch in order to be able to steer the car. Meanwhile, Greg set about removing the wooden plate that had graced the front of the car during most, if not all, of the time of Jai’s ownership. Then it was on to the wheels. Wheel locks! Damn! At least we had the key for that. Tim got the right rear tire replaced and moved to the right front. The wheel lock wouldn’t budge. No problem. I had a breaker bar. I put the wheel lock key into the socket on the breaker bar. Then I found the correct angle to exert plenty of torque on that wheel lock. As I applied the torque, the key broke off into the lock. I don’t like wheel locks. Now we were stuck with 3 flat tires. Not good. Still we were determined to give it a go.

Greg offered up the use of his SUV to perform the initial part of the extraction. The come-along was secured to the 240Z and then to Greg’s SUV. Tim and I attempted to assist by pushing as the SUV pulled. At first, the car was being dragged. The parking brake had been pulled up for Lord knows how long. That can result in brake shoes bonding to the rear drums. Fortunately, the rear tires finally broke loose. We got the car out far enough that Tim could line up his trailer for loading.

Loading a car with three flat tires onto a trailer with the trailer uphill from the car does not fit into the definition of fun for a sane person. Yet that was the task at hand. Tim ratcheted the handle on the come along while Greg and I tried to be helpful pushing on the back of the car. Our assistance to the cause was dubious, but at least it felt like we were contributing. Periodically we would chock and re-chock the wheels to prevent the car from rolling back and destroying our progress. With progress being painfully slow, Tim decided to see if the flat tires would hold air long enough to load the car onto the trailer. Fun fact: PB Blaster can be used in an act of desperation to lubricate a tire valve enough so that it will allow air in. The front tires cooperated, but we still have the left rear tire flat as a pancake. We kept at it until we finally met with success. Money exchanged hands, and Jai managed to hold it together somehow, seeing the car that brought her so much pleasure taking a long trip without her.

Tim drove off to do battle with Friday rush hour traffic. I finished loading my car. Greg, Jai, and I said our good-byes, and I started back home. I had the radio off and enjoyed the Indian Summer temperatures as I had the window down to begin the trip. With the sun still high enough to light up the hillsides, I got to enjoy many wonderful vistas on the drive. I had the opportunity to reflect on the events of the day and the previous efforts to get Jai’s car running right. I saw things as going beyond just ownership of similar cars. What I had been experiencing was community, drawing on the bonds of ownership to answering the call to help others. I am lucky to have developed relationships with people like Greg, Tony (who helped out previously), Tim and Jai.

In planning the trip, I looked up gas stations on I am convinced that my Z runs better with ethanol free fuel. Fortunately for me, I found a station along my route. I stopped by on the way back and filled up with Regular gas. The owner of the station came out to look at my car. He was knowledgeable about Z cars, and we chatted for a while. The store owner said he sold his MGs and Triumphs to buy the station. He expressed a desire to convince some friends of his to part ways with a 72 they have been storing for a few years. I went in to get a snack and pay for my gas. I was just about to receive my change when we were distracted by a car zipping by the station, barely missing my car sitting by the pump. Someone in the store said to call 911. I walked out to see what happened and rushed over to the overturned SUV. The driver and his dog were crawling out of the wreckage. Somehow they both appeared to have escaped unscathed. The driver had fire in his eyes as he walked over to the driver of the truck he had just swerved to avoid. I did my best to try to calm him down, telling him that he didn’t need to get in trouble on top of having an accident. A nurse saw the overturned vehicle and stopped to see if anybody needed help. The driver said he was okay, but I cautioned him that he was full of adrenaline and might not realize that he is hurt. I suggested that he sit down and let the nurse check him out. I turned back to collect my change from the store owner. He and I talked some more. I told him that I also had a 240Z. He asked how much would it take to part with it. I told him, “Too much.” The 240Z still just has too much sentimental value for me to consider letting it go.

I got home safely, though somewhat sunburned from the day. As I parked the car in the garage, I noticed the running light came on when I hit the brakes. I tested the lights later, but the problem had gone away. Something tells me that I need to clean out some light sockets.

I’m sorry I don’t have pictures to document all that happened today. It was a really good Z day.

Posted in 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, Electrical, Mechanical | Leave a comment

ZCON 2015 Epilogue and Recap

My wife and I got up early to make the trip home. I wanted to get well down the road before the heat of the day beat down upon me again. There were many others preparing to hit the road at 5 AM. With the persistent heat of the past week, who could blame them? While I looked forward to getting home, I admit that I was a little misty-eyed knowing the fun was over for now.

Looking back over the week…

On Monday, we packed the cars and started out just after the morning rush hour. While my makeshift ice chest A/C working for a little while, I quickly found it was better for turning ice into water than for cooling down the car. I chose a route that was a little off the beaten path. I found an address to use as a way-point and plugged it into the Garmin along with the hotel’s address. This route had its advantages. There wasn’t much traffic, we got to see some nice vistas, and a lot of it was new to us. We took our time and stopped a few times. The Z purred the whole way there. For a car that is over 40 years old, it is fairly quiet with the windows up.

Eventually, I had no choice but to roll down the window. The dash was 148 degrees. The air coming through the vents was 105 with the window up and 100 with the window down. It dropped to a nice 96 degrees if there was a large cloud overhead. Still I didn’t mind. I was looking forward to what was in store. We got to the hotel, and there were already quite a few cars in the lot. We parked, checked in, and surveyed our room. There was a NISMO roadster in the hotel lobby, courtesy of Nissan. After verifying our room was in order, I moved my car to the Z parking, and we unloaded Wendy’s car. (You didn’t think she would tolerate an almost 8 hour drive in the heat, did you?) After washing off the road sweat, I took the opportunity to relax. The heat had drained me, and we didn’t feel like going out to eat. I scoped out the registration area in preparation for the next day. Once the sun had almost completely faded into the west, I realized it would be a great opportunity to play with the ambient light and take some Z car photos. While down in the parking lot, I struck up a conversation with Bob from Hamilton, Ontario, who drove down in his Z31.

Tuesday, we got up and went downstairs to the hotel restaurant. Okay, maybe that wasn’t the best start to the day. We drove around the area and did some shopping before registration opened. When we returned to the hotel, I prepared my video equipment and politely lobbied to take some video. Chris Karl agreed to let me in despite the frenetic pace of activity to be ready for the 1 PM deadline. The first few people queued up outside the door, and when the clock struck one, the doors came open. I went back to the room a few minutes later to deposit my video equipment and bring Wendy back down for registration. While there still was a line, it moved quickly. We got our badges and wrist bands for the activities. We paid for our tickets to Winning and moved over to the merchandise and raffles. While we were down there, we found out that Toshio Yamashita, aka Yama-San, would be giving his presentation of the design process he led for the Z32. Then Wendy and I returned upstairs to go through the program and plan our week, as well as look at all of the goodies that were in our bag.

Later, I wandered through the Z car parking lot and snapped photos of people washing their cars to remove the bug strikes from the trip in. When I was going back to my room, I crossed paths with Al and Robert from the Georgia Z Club, and we made tentative plans for the opening reception. Later, we gathered with the growing crowd outside the reception area. We made our way inside when the doors opened, and I secured the table for those of us from the Georgia Z Club and a guest. Soon I was mugged by my friend Philip, and we chatted for a moment. We dined on hors d’oeuvres and listened as Chris Karl and Mad Mike went through the opening ceremonies and followed it up with some nice Texas chili, provided by the Z Club of Texas. While chatting with Philip and Bryan (another online Z friend), we were joined by Yoshihiko Matsuo, the designer of the 240Z. We were talking about various options that were available in Japan, but not the US, and he was telling us how they used different spring rates between the right and left sides of the car to balance the weight of the driver and engine bay components. Of course, we talked about more than just cars. When Philip asked Matsuo-san about his favorite music, we learned he preferred classical music. I responded that my favorites were straight-sixes and V-8s. He enjoys those, too.

Wednesday morning saw us getting up early to go watch track day at Memphis International Raceway in Millington. We probably couldn’t have slept in anyway with the slightly muffled Zs driving down Ridge Lake Boulevard. Wendy would shoot over to the window to look out any time she heard the rumble. It gave me a nice feeling that coming to the convention wasn’t just for me. We grabbed a quick breakfast and headed off to the track: me in my 260Z for parade laps, and Wendy in her properly air conditioned car. When we arrived, we were greeted by my friend Dai, who drove his Z06 to Memphis for the event, and Mike the Powdercoater (though he’s semi-retired from powdercoating). I shot plenty of video and lots of photos, both in the paddock and of the cars on the track. The Memphis heat got to Wendy, so she headed back to the comfort of the hotel. I decided to relax by my car and wait for the parade laps. Now parked next to me was a trailer with a BRE tribute car. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the owner had recently moved to a town only about half an hour from me. Several of us chatted for a while, trying to take our minds off the soaring temperatures. Eventually we queued up for the parade laps. Soon I figured out the pattern. Someone well ahead of me would slow down to open up some room in various parts of the track, especially before the front straight. The cars would accordion in and out as we bunched up and floored it when we had the chance. I probably could have pushed it over 90 on the front straight, but I had my carburetors too lean for the heat and 10% ethanol gas. Also, I didn’t want to test the resiliency of the relatively low-cost brake pads on my car. After the parade laps, they lined us up four abreast on the front straight to take photos of the cars. The front straight is also part of the dragway. Those of us toward the back were in an area heavily coated with rubber from the drag racers. With the heat and lack of precipitation, the rubber on the track tried to hold firm to our shoes. Fortunately, I was able to keep breaking free from the track’s grip. As soon as we were done taking photos, I headed out to return to the hotel to shower and cool down.

Wendy and I met up with Robert, David and Nancy to go enjoy Corky’s BBQ. We managed to beat the dinner rush and make it back in time for Yama-san’s presentation on the design of the Z32. He didn’t think his English was very good, but in a room full of Z enthusiasts, he had no problem communicating. It was an amazing opportunity to hear the process of developing an iconic car.

Originally I was planning to go out to MIR for the autocross and drag racing on Thursday, but Wednesday’s heat changed my mind. I received a message from Chris about getting copies of the photos I had been taking so far in the week. I took the hard drive with the files down to the registration room. While Chris was copying the files, Mauricio from the Toronto club was talking about seeing a bunch of photos on Flickr. I got to tell him they were mine. I directed Mauricio to my photo blog to show him some of my other photo collections. While we were looking at them, Matsuo-san came into the room. I navigated the computer over to YouTube and showed Matsuo-san a video of my car driving on a mountain road in Georgia. I was telling him about how hot the inside of the 260Z was while driving out to Memphis, and he told me that in Japan, some people have used Kei car A/C compressors in S30s. I heard he was returning at 10 to sign autographs, and I rushed back up to the room. Wendy and I hatched a plan to make a quick trip over to Target and buy some Sharpies. I got the poster I wanted autographed and headed back to the registration room. Matsuo-san arrived shortly after that, and I showed him the poster of the two men working on a clay model of a 240Z. He told me those were his assistants for the design process. He autographed the poster and posed for a couple of photos for me.

After having lunch with a friend from my Air Force days, Wendy and I planned on having a quiet afternoon before going to see Winning at the Predisio Theater. Then the skies let loose. It rained pretty good for a while. When I was convinced it finally stopped, I grabbed my camera to capture pictures of the cars before the owners could dry them off.

We went over to the Predisio that evening. Wendy picked out the seats she liked, and we sat down. We got to see Philip and his wife again, and we were joined by another online friend, Bruce. (Imagine my surprise that all of these “online friends” of mine were actually real people!) Adam Carolla knocked it out of the park with this documentary. The theater was completely packed with rabid Z car fans, and no one left disappointed. It may not win an Oscar, but it was a fantastic view of Paul Newman.

Friday morning came, and Wendy & I took Bruce out to a traditional Southern breakfast place. I only clogged one artery in the process. Then we went back to the hotel to pack up some drinks and head down to Beale Street for the judged car show. I got to spend time with Philip, Bruce, Charles, Jim & Jim. (Yes, more online friends.) Mad Mike called over to Bruce about filling out the NISMO survey. After that, Wendy was talking with Bruce about Mad Mike, unaware that he was approaching her from behind. I managed to avoid laughing until he had the chance to let her know he was right there. Wendy took it well and posed with Mad Mike. (What would a convention be like without him?) We walked up and down Beale Street enjoying the cars. Again it was broiling hot, so we got some lunch, chatted with the group from ClassicZCars for almost an hour and drifted in different directions. I think Cliff may have even popped in for a moment. Wendy and I headed back to the hotel to cool down and clean up. When we got back to the hotel, we ran into another contingent from the Georgia Z Club. Unfortunately, they got into town too late for Friday’s car show. For dinner, Bruce joined us again. He wanted to try a place suggested by locals he met at a microbrewery. Unfortunately, one place was too busy and another was too weird, so we just got burgers and called it a night. (Thanks for being a trooper about that, Bruce.)

Dang! It’s Saturday already! Where the hell did the week go? I packed a lot of water to go into the Z and prepared to go to Millington Regional Jetport for the People’s Choice show. I was stopped by Jim Daniels on the way to my car. He was asking for Philip’s number to help tune his carburetors. There was no need to bother Philip. I went and got my sync tool from Wendy’s car, as well as my tachometer/dwell meter, grabbed a set of gloves from my car, and went to help Jim. I balance his carburetors as best as I could and as quickly as I could, and I set off for the airport. Well, I tried to. When I searched for it on my Garmin, I came up empty. I used my phone to find an address and punched that into the nav unit. NOW, I was on my way. I navigated through the construction zone and went north to Millington. The Garmin directed me down some roads that made me question its ability, especially when I saw the entry control point for the Navy base. I drove around a little until it gave me another path. Eventually I found the hanger and was directed to park. I got out my video and camera equipment, and I raised my Datsun flag again. After I shot some quick videos, Matsuo-san happened to wander by and posed for a picture by my car. Bruce suggested I climb up an aircraft boarding ramp to shoot some photos, and then I wandered around a lot talking with people and taking plenty of pictures. During all of this time, I was passing out bottles of water to my friends. The heat was brutal, as usual. I got Philip to operate my camera for a few minutes to take some group photos of the Georgia Z Club members. I finished taking photos and relaxed a little while, talking with any friends or strangers who wandered by. The corporate types from Nissan were also there in force. I got a call from Jim Daniels, who had the same Garmin issue I had earlier. I gave him a good address and directions. Eventually Jim and Jim got to the show. However, he said he was still having a problem with his car. I asked for more details, something I should have done to begin with, and found out the car was hesitating. It was the 10% ethanol gas and the heat conspiring to rob Jim’s car of its performance. After a while, we looked at his plugs, and they indicated lean. He turned the nozzles on the carburetors a quarter turn richer. Soon after that, people were clearing out. I decided to do the same with Jim & Jim following me. When we got back to the hotel, Jim told me his car ran a whole lot better. I was relieved to hear that considering he would be driving home the next day. Both Jims wanted their glove box doors signed by Matsuo-san at the banquet, so I suggested they go over to Target to get sharpies. In the meantime, I was going to clean up and get ready for the closing banquet.

Then it was time to go downstairs for the banquet. Wendy looked great. We met up with friends down in the lobby. Jim and Jim were having all of the ClassicZCar friends sign their glove box doors in addition to their Matsuo-san autographs in order to remember the week. We filtered downstairs and mingled until the doors opened. Several of us grabbed a table and enjoyed our meals. Matsuo-san spoke about developing the 240Z. He may not speak perfect English, but he can communicate about cars very well. One of the guest speakers was Hiroshi Tamura. Tamura-san is a current designer for Nissan. He talked about how he doesn’t believe a GT-R type powertrain is appropriate for a Z car. He said he thinks the GT-R is like a monster, chewing up the road, while the Z is a dance partner that reacts gracefully. I like his way of thinking, and I hope the next Z can be a graceful dance partner like my 240Z & 260Z. Mad Mike held his usual roast of the convention goers and later spoke of Katayama-san’s passing. Mad Mike had a very close relationship with Mr. K, and you could feel his grief as he spoke about his loss. Then came the awards. I was shocked that I knew many of the winners from the car show. As a matter of fact, I was privileged to be at the table with the owner of the Best-in-Show car, Jim Arnett. He was so elated upon hearing the news. When I went to shake his hand, he almost crushed mine, he was so excited. They finished the show by showing the nice video the Toronto gang made for next year’s convention in the Great White North followed by the raffle prizes.
ClassicZCars Group

After a long day, it was going to be a short night. Wendy had already packed most everything before the banquet. I set the alarm for 4 AM, but I woke up half an hour early. We got up and got ready. We retrieved a luggage cart and loaded it up. Wendy brought the car around, and I put all of our things into it while she checked us out. We drove down to my car, and we got ready to drive home. A couple of Z cars passed by as I arranged everything to my liking in the 260Z. One driver flashed his lights and honked as I waved to him. Then it was our turn to hit the road. While I was looking forward to going home, I felt a little sad since it’s not often I have this much fun in a week. I got out of the regular grind for a few days and got to spend some time with a lot of nice Z enthusiasts. To some extent, I believe one will get out of a ZCON what one tries to get out of it, but the people who organized this one gave me a lot of opportunities to find things to enjoy.

Now I had another almost 400 mile drive in front of me. As the sun rose, there was a little bit of fog along the highway. I couldn’t resist trying to snap a quick photo of it.
photo 3
After a couple of hundred miles of four-lane highway, it was back to the two-lane roads. It was nice to get off the main roads for a while. We took our time again, and made it home safely.
Steve driving home

Today, I decided to wash the 260Z, just as I did before I left. It ran over 800 miles flawlessly. I was never worried about whether or not it would make the trip. It was now covered with over 800 miles worth of bugs. It deserved to be cleaned.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you’ve never been to a ZCON, I hope it gave you some idea of what it’s like. This was only my perspective, but considering there were about 500 people who attended at least one day, I would dare say that a lot of people enjoy the experience. Now that I’m refreshed, maybe I can look at creating some more technical articles.

Posted in 240Z, 260Z, 280Z | Tagged | 6 Comments

ZCON 2015 – People’s Choice Show (175 Photos)

The last car event for the week was the People’s Choice show. As I was leaving the hotel, one of my 240Z friends was asking for a phone number of another friend in order to get some carburetor tuning help. I told him that I could help, since I brought most of my tuning tools with me. I tweaked on the carburetors and then went over to my car.

The show was across town at the Millington Regional Jetport. Unfortunately my Garmin did not want to acknowledge the existence of the place. I went to plan B and got the address from my iPhone map. I plugged the address into my Garmin and hit the road. Unfortunately, the nav unit wanted to direct me through a Navy security gate. I drove around until I got some better directions, and I eventually arrived at the location.

I parked my car and got ready to take photos. Matsuo-san was walking around, and he graciously posed for a photo by my car. More and more cars streamed in, and a bunch of Z car lovers were able to commune in the summer heat.





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ZCON 2015 – Zs on Beale Street (103 Photos)

For the judged car show, the convention organizers arranged to have Beale Street closed off. While the heat continued to be strong, it was great to have the iconic street all to ZCON. While the S30s continue to be my favorites, the more time I spend around them, the more the other generations grow on me.

I’m sorry about a couple of the blurry pictures. Sometimes autofocus decides not to cooperate with me.





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