Keep it simple, make it nimble. It’s not quite as clever as Colin Chapman’s “Simplify, then add lightness” ethos, but feel free to make it into a bumper sticker if you like.
Over many decades, Saitama-based kyusha specialists Mizukami Auto have been perfecting their own lightweight recipe, and the fruits of their labour have been distilled into this bare-bones, time attack-spec S30 Nissan Fairlady ZG.
When I visited Mizukami Auto last month, Hakosuka Skylines and Porsche 911s were a common sight in the outdoor storage yard, but there were no shortage of Z coupes around the place, all waiting to offer up their bodies to any project in need. Inside the shop, it became clear that the S30 is their favourite.
Mizukami-san told me this all started out as a hobby, and back in the day he built Z-cars for the zeroyon (quarter mile). The hobby soon blossomed into a vocation, and Mizukami Auto was set up to buy, build and sell a wide variety of cars, which enabled its camera-shy owner to work on his own projects on the side.
With its staunch rear end and long aerodynamic ‘g-nose’, in some ways the Fairlady ZG was the perfect Japanese drag car base in its time. In fact, if you head along to any Japanese drag racing event today, there’s a good chance you’ll still see a bunch of old Z-cars hitting the strip.
But times change, and while Mizukami Auto’s demo Z is still all about straight-line speed, these days it’s about speed through corners too.
I keep hearing the phrase ‘simple is best’ on social media and in train conversations around Tokyo. It’s a tad pretentious but It rings true here in a number of ways. The easiest way to improve a 50-year-old car’s power-to-weight ratio is to put it on a diet. Less mass equals more fast. Simple.
Inside, the S30 has been gutted, bar the dashboard, which makes sense because it’s a thing of beauty in original form.
A roll cage that extends all the way from the rear suspension towers to the front suspension towers plus extensive spot-welding throughout the shell keeps things rigid and safe, while carbon fibre door cards keep things civilised. Mizukami-san has also fitted a Bride seat with TAKATA Racing harness, a Nardi Classic steering, and various gauges and meters from HKS, AEM, Stack and AccuTech
Under-hood, Mizukami Auto could have gone crazy with turbocharging, but that would have added weight and over-complicated things. Instead, Mizukami-san has built the best version of the original L-series, now bored up to 3.1L.
Additional power-making upgrades include three Weber 55DCOE side draft carburettors, a custom pie cut 6-to-1 header and exhaust, and MSD ignition products to produce 375hp and 39nm of torque at the crank.
The fuel cell and surge tank in the rear ensure uninterrupted delivery of dinosaur juice through hard cornering.
The suspension is by Spirit, and there’s a brake bias adjuster next to the driver that enables split control between the 4-pot AP Racing front callipers and the 2-pot HiSpec units at the rear.
Outside, the 240ZG benefits from front and rear overfenders, with custom Mizukami Auto canards providing smoother airflow over the front and rear wheels. The rear of the Z is already pretty sleek, but the ducktail spoiler adds a little more stability.
The wheel and tyre combo is classic JDM – RAYS Volk Racing TE37Vs shod in Yokohama Advan A050 semi-slicks.
And that, my friends, is all there is. A simple machine from much simpler times, updated and refined for the modern era. It’s a beautiful thing indeed.
I’ll leave you with a clip of Mizukami-san driving his Z around Tsukuba’s TC2000 course back in 2011.