The 1975 Datsun 280Z probably isn’t the first car that comes to mind when it comes to building a project car that you’re planning on dropping boatloads of money into. At least that’s how I used to feel before coming across this magnificent 280Z built for drift-pro Chris Forsberg. It has everything that a hardcore Datsun enthusiast would want in a car, while also making it appealing to the rest of the moto community by giving it just enough “restomod” flavor.
It may not be as flashy and extravagant as Forsberg’s friend, and fellow drift champion, Ryan Tuerck’s GT86 with a V8 from a Ferrari 458 providing the power. But it was still very tastefully built to stand out from all other 280Z’s. This isn’t a car Chris had built for competition, he just wanted something cool to drive and that’s exactly what this is. No roll cages or ridiculously powerful motors. Instead, Chris had the car built to be a driven on public roads, and to put a giant smile on his face along the way.
Speaking of under the hood, before we get to some of the other upgrades on this sexy machine, I should point out what’s powering this beast because it’s something special. I said it didn’t have a “ridiculously” powerful engine, like the twin turbo four-rotor monster under the hood of Mad Mike Whiddet’s Radbul that puts out over 1200hp. But that’s not to imply that it’s a lawnmower engine either. It’s called the RB25DET which is the twin turbo straight six that powered the R32 Nissan Skyline that’s good for approximately 250hp in stock form. This motor is a hugely popular with tuners because of its reliability when adding additional horsepower to the mix. And reliability was something that Chris really wanted out of the car, but still wanted it to be as powerful as possible. What he ended up with is near bulletproof motor that’s pushing out around 500hp.
Even though Chris won’t be using the car for competitions, he’s still a pro drift racer at heart. So naturally, the car has been fitted with things like a hydraulic handbrake, bucket seats with four-point race harness, as well as an upgraded suspension system. That way, Chris would get the comfort when driving on the street, but also be able to handle a proper thrashing at the track on the weekend. It Still has most creature comforts like a stereo and air conditioning so that when Chris does take it for a spin he can do so with a cool breeze in his face while rocking out to his favorite tunes.
In regards to the handling of the car, Forsberg opted to use GTX2 components from Techno Toy Tuning which replace the caster rods and front control arms and make them fully adjustable in the process. It also converts the front suspension to an adjustable coil over setup which should help keep him planted when sliding sideways through a corner, or the middle of the lane where he’s supposed to be when heading to the grocery store.
With over 500hp on tap, the skinny “pizza cutter” tires that come stock on the 280Z just weren’t going to cut it, at least for very long. It would only take one smoke show drift around one corner and the skinny little things would be toast. So to drastically upgrade both the performance and aesthetics, new wheels and tires were fitted on the car. Upfront there’s new 16-inch rims that are 9 inches wide with 225/50R16 Hankook Ventus R tires. And the rear gets a 17-inch rim that 10 inches wide with 255/40R17 Hankooks. The extra meat on those tires is quite noticeable when you look at the car and in my opinion they really bring the whole thing together.
So while it may not be your everyday restomod, it’s still one I would absolutely love to own. There’s no denying this car is absolutely gorgeous and would be the prized piece of any car collection. Plus it’ll fit nicely with Forsberg’s 370Z he uses for his drift competitions.
Photos by Larry Chen @ Speedhunters