Cusco Strut Tower Bar for the Z

Finally, the bar goes on! Earlier this year, I ordered up a front strut tower bar (also known as a tower bar or strut bar) from Amazon – it was cheaper than the rest. But after nearly 8 months, it finally gets installed! It’s a quick and simple job, so let’s get to it!


Note: the bar isn’t blue…just the protective film on the chrome bar

A quick primer in case your not familiar, a strut bar is used to increase ridgity in the frame. Much like the A, B, and C pillars do for the cabin of the car, it also has the same effect on the body. With increased ridgity comes decrease in flex, and truer suspension dynamics. And with such a beautifully long hood of the 280Z, I figured, ‘why not?’. Here’s what we’ll need:

Cusco 240Z, 260Z, 280z front strut tower bar – Part#cus 246 540A

8mm Allen wrench

14mm socket / wrench (for the strut tower nuts)

17mm socket / wrench (for the tower bar)

Optional: WD-40


The only thing understandable here on this box label is ‘S30’ (which is partially scratched).


Bar came in retail packaging…and apparently instructions in Japanese with one translated line…


Upon inspection the Cusco strut tower bar for the Datsun S30 Z is a very nicely made piece – welds are uniform, polish is good, machined nice. Overall, it’s a well constructed tower bar that feels well constructed.


Let’s get to work! (Jarritos optional :] )


Start by taking off the existing nuts with the 14mm. Mine had been rusted on there so I let them soak in WD-40 while gawking at the tower bar. Then coerced them off with a hammer. Once off, you can put the bar on the towers, then washers and nuts. Prior to putting on the bar, use the Allen and 17mm to loosen the blue plate from the bar. Only loosely hand-tighten the nuts on one side before setting the other side, so it’s easier to adjust / fit before tightening it all down.

Now let’s talk clearance. Wow…


I thought I was screwed. The strut tower bar for the Z was already designed with tight tolerances in mind: it already has a narrow oval / box cross section in the bar itself, and see how it curves just over the engine. Above, I’m slowly closing the hood to see if it’ll close!


This one piece lightly touchs the bar..
   While others have a very close up view of the tower bar. Presto! The bar is installed! Now to take it out for a spin on those twisty roads…


Zpotted: 240z…in MA!

Now THERE’S two words hardly found in the same sentence! Rarely does a Datsun model meet a Northeast state!

This one is definitely a survivor from another state, and none of the typical rust showing in the dogleg panels.

I love hidden gems like these!



Anyone heard of the 240ZL?

I’ve heard of the ZG (g-nose racer), and the 432 (4 valves, 3 carbs, 2 camshafts), but a ZL? Interesting!

Here’s a short clip of the rare model, it’s owner, and just dreamy shots of it along the CA coast. Note the rear spoiler, very sweet vintage racing seats, rare race clock (i want oooonnnne!), and right hand drive. Thanks to my Gee cuz, Jackie for sending this over!

Zpotted: Undercover Z

 We know that shape anywhere…

My mom and I were checking out houses in the neighborhood, and I did a triple take. She was like, “what are you looking at?!”

Z’s can’t hide from us!

Zoom in and you can lines for thin bumpers, and those clean wheels peeking from under the car cover. From the back side I saw a patina’d reddish / orange body…

I’ll roll around again someday soon and see if we can interview its owner!

Datsun Meet: 10/25/15 San Jose!

From my daily check on Craigslist:

Datsun Car Show + Swap Meet

10/25/15 from 8am to 4pm 

Doors open at 6am for vendors to set up

2455 Masonic Dr San Jose CA

– $5 entrance fee (per car)

– $15 selling fee

– Food and drinks will be sold at the venue

So if you’re looking to buy much needed Datsun parts (who isn’t?) or want to sell some of your parts collection then start planning for this event NOW!

Please pass the word along to make this event a successful one so we can continue to plan events like this in our area in the future.

Best Z Car to purchase…

When you’re cruisin’ around in a S30 Z, you’re definitely bound to get looks. And when you park, conversations. Amongst it all, one of the most common remarks goes something like, ‘I used have one of those! Should’ve never sold it. Man, wish I could pick one up again’. True, right?!

But which one do you go with? 240z? 260z? 280z? The raw power of carb or daily drivability of fuel injection? Simply, what year was “the best”?

Here’s an article i found not too long ago that gives great point to one particular model / year over the rest – enjoy!

Write up from:



What is the best year to get a z car in? It’s suprising how much this question is asked. First of all, there is no “best” year z car. They all have their pros and cons. The 240z is famous for its lightweight chasis, classic look, and performance. The 280z made the z car comfy, had beefier suspension and included the blessing of fuel injection. However, we do believe we have found a year that is as close to a perfect year as possible.

THE 1975 280Z

We think that the 1975 280z is the best year to buy a z car. Specifically, early 75. You may be asking, but why? That 280z car had massive bumpers, and didn’t perform as well as the 240z thanks to the curse of smog laws. That is all true, however; the pros of this year outweight any cons. We will go through each of these points in detail:

Smog Exempt:

This is one of the best features of a 75. No Smog checks. Most people think they have to get a 240z to be smog exempt, but the truth is the cut off year for the 30 year old smog law (which is no longer happeneing) is in 1975. This means you can still have the benefits of a fuel injection l28 and be smog exempt without having to swap all the 280z stuff into a 240z chasis. (This is all according to Cali law, soon the other states will follow so this can apply to all us z cars soon).

Bigger, beefier suspension:

It’s common practice to swap the stronger r200 diff from a 280z car into 240z. The r200 diff is bullet proof and can handle v8 torque to turbo power. The 75 280z already comes with an r200. The 75 280z also has bigger strut tubes, companion flanges, and stub axles. All of these are common upgrades to 240z when the 75 already comes with all of this. Most of the time the 280z is also much cheaper than a 240z.


This is something that mostly depends on the owner of the car, however if you’re looking for comfort the 75 doesn’t dissapoint. Because it’s a 280z, the ac and heater actually work. Unlike the 240z center heater vents which point nowhere near the driver of passengers of the car, the 280z has adjustable center vents so it can be aimed at the people in the car. The defrost also works,which usually doesn’t in early z cars. This is mostly due to better electronics. The 75 also shares its trunk space arrangement with the 240z. This is a plus because the 240z trunks are lower than late 280z. Late 280z cars lose trunk space and the use of the storage compartments because the trunk is lifted using cardboard.

NOTE: Make sure the 75 you get is an early model. Late model 75 280z cars trunks were raised. You can also tell this by looking at the gas tank of the car. Late model = Twinkie shaped gas tank , Early 75 = shoe shaped gas tank.

Stronger chasis:

The 75 280z is a hybrid of the chasis. It got a 240z style trunk, but the thicker 280z sheet metal. This did add a bit of weight to the car. However, this can actually be a good thing if you are doing a motor swap or getting more power out of your z car. The 280z needs less reinforcment to be stiffer than a 240z.

Fuel injection and 5 speed:

This is one of the best things that came on this model. No longer would you have to pull the choke cable and wait until the car is warmed up. Fuel injection was the way of the future and the 75 had made a wise choice by ditching the carbs. This also helps if you are going to a turbo motor from a zx or building it off the this fuel injected l28. Because the car is set up for fuel injection already, you don’t have to throw the ecu somewhere random, there is a place already for it. (this also means when switching to any other fuel injected motor swap you would also be able to put the ecu in the stock location in the z).

You also get the 5 speed in the 280z unlike the 4 speed in the 240z. This is great for highways. It’s a common upgrade for 240z cars for this reason.

The gas tanks out of 75s are also common upgrades to 240z because 240z came with carbed gas tanks with no built in baffles inside the tank. The 75 280z gas tank (early model) was the same shape as a 240z tank but was made for fuel injection and had baffles built in.

The downsides of having a 75 280z:

THE BUMPERS! Although not everyone hates them, it’s common to upgrade to the lighter, better looking 240z bumpers. There are kits out there to help with this conversion. However, it’s not that bad. The swap is simple, saves weight, and is cheaper than getting a 240z and swapping all the 280z car upgrades to that.  Another downside is weight. Although you can save weight by getting rid of the bumpers, the 280z cars are still a bit heavier than a 240z (not by much but it is heavier). This can be a good thing (if your doing a motor swap) or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.


With all the money you will be investing to upgrading your 240z with 280z parts, you might as well get a 75 280z. There are no benefits that the 240z have over a 280z. It’s also common for 240z zcars to be more expensive than 280z cars. If you are on a budget then it’s perfect. It comes with all the upgrades and it’s easy to ditch the bumpers if you dont like them. This is our opinion, if you have any questions or anything you would like to add to this please let us know!

Zpotted: SoCal seafoam

zippin around SoCal a while back [actually a year ago – i just found this in the drafts folder!], rippin up the freeway was this seafoam Z. keep it rollin’!

a 280z restoration one morning at a time

a 280z restoration one morning at a time

Dirty S30

a 280z restoration one morning at a time


Looking through the lens with rods and cones.


life on wheels

A Lot On Your Plate

A budget friendly blog (now an official website) that gives creative & practical tips, recipes, and more, to help inspire, organize, & simplify your life!


Just another site


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers