Japanese classics are becoming harder and harder to source these days and finding clean, North American examples is even more difficult. The collector car world has begun to sweep over these Japanese cars, soaking up inventory and raising prices. Vintage Datsuns and Acura NSXs are not immune to this – especially here in Canada where production numbers were smaller to begin with.
If you’ve spent much time going to car shows and meets in Waterloo Region, chances are you’ve come across these two cars. You’ll also know that as great as they look in photos, they look even better in person. One of the reasons they stand out from the crowd (aside from being super clean Japanese sports cars) is the fact that this combo travels to events together. If you see one, you’ll likely find the other parked right next to it.
The NSX and Datsun are owned by Martin and Dorian of Kitchener, Ontario. These guys share the same interests, have similar taste in vehicles, and almost always go to the same events. Oh, and by the way – they also happen to be father and son. Cool right? Much like the cars themselves, they come from 2 completely different generations.
I don’t know how, but Martin managed to find himself one of the cleanest examples of a 1994 Acura NSX in the country. My standards for vehicles’ condition are pretty high, and in my opinion, this black on black NSX is the real deal. With only 64,000 kilometers on the clock, I would rate this car as collector grade, if not museum quality. Yes, it’s that good.
The NSX is a great car right out of the box. Martin didn’t feel the need to mess with a good thing, so he has kept the modifications fairly simple. This isn’t a car that you’d want to cut up or do things that can’t be reversed to. Save that for the high mileage or salvaged title cars. This is a piece of Japanese history and I share his same views – this one definitely needs to be preserved.
He wasn’t afraid of making a few upgrades though. The most noticeable difference over stock is the addition of a set of staggered 17″/18″ Advan AVS Model 5 wheels wrapped in Yokohama S Drive tires. To give you an idea of how particular Martin is with his car, he actually purchased a complete second set of Model 5s… because the rears were an inch wider. He just wasn’t happy with the stance of the first set. The revised fitment looks great.
The suspension was another area that Martin felt needed an improvement. He chose a set of Tein Street Flex coilovers to make the car handle even better than the original springs and struts. The NSX’s suspension design was one of the main reasons the car was so legendary, so further modification really isn’t needed.
For most NSX owners, the stock exhaust just doesn’t cut it. This one is no different. In this case, a Pride V2 exhaust replaces the OEM one. This system features beautiful 2.25″ stainless piping. It’s really a shame that everything but the large polished tips is hidden under the bumper. This V2 exhaust has slightly larger piping than the V1 version which allows it to still have a quiet rumble at low rpm, yet scream when you give it the beans. I think that’s exactly what a car like this needs.
The original Berlina black paint still looks great. It received a thorough paint correction a few years ago (not by myself) and wears a ceramic coating by 22PLE.
The interior of the NSX has been left alone for the most part. The only changes here are to the shifter. It’s been updated to a Zanardi-spec shorter throw shifter with a titanium knob and NSX-R leather boot.
Future plans include a StopTech big brake kit and a set of Science of Speed headers. In a day and age where it seems far too common for people to rush through their “builds”, it’s nice to see someone taking it slow and thinking things through. There’s no hurry here – I have a feeling the past few years are just the early stages of Martin’s ownership of this car. Although I’m sure that the appraisal figure has to be tempting at times!
When the previous owner of Dorian’s Datsun 280Z decided to put it up for sale, these guys were in the right place at the right time. Cars like this don’t exactly pop up for sale often, especially ones like this. This car was extra special because the owner had just finished restoring it.
This wasn’t just a lipstick-on-a-pig kind of restoration either. This Datsun has received much more than just a quick splash of fresh paint. The whole car has been gone over in an attempt to make it not just look, but drive as good as new. From the interior to the chrome trim, you’d never guess this car is 40 years old.
The styling of the 70’s Datsun Z seems to be both ahead of its time, yet perfectly period correct. The S30 chassis was really the first car to prove to the world that Japan could build more than just economy cars. The 240z-280z is one of the few platforms that is well-loved by fans of both American muscle and import cars. That’s no easy feat.
Dorian’s 280Z has traveled just 8,000 kilometers since its restoration. Whitehead Performance in Toronto has done a ton of work to freshen this car up mechanically. The original 2.8L inline 6 engine has been completely rebuilt with higher compression pistons and a bigger cam. The transmission and rear end have also been rebuilt by Whitehead Performance. It appears to have an upgraded aluminum radiator to aid with cooling, which is a big indicator that this car is intended to be driven.
The interior of the Datsun has little to no wear. That’s thanks to the slew of brand new parts that were added, including a new dashboard, headliner and center console to name a few. Other aftermarket items like a Momo steering wheel and updated audio system make this 280Z a little nicer to drive. I’ve always thought the interior of these Z cars looked very modern for a car from the 1970s. Back then, it must have felt like a spaceship. It’s cool to see how this car inspired the design of the 350z and 370z.
The exterior of the car is finished in a glowing Racing Green paint job. A sleeker looking 240Z front bumper takes the place of the original one. Dorian also plans to swap the rear with a 260Z bumper in the future as well. The JDM fender mounted mirrors give the front end a distinct, vintage Japanese appearance.
A set of 15″ Konig Rewinds finish off the exterior styling of this Z. 15″ might seem tiny by today’s standards, but they fit this car perfectly. These old school 8 spoke wheels are popular among Datsun owners for good reason. These ones are wearing a set of Yokohama ES 100 tires.
I don’t believe this 280Z has had any extensive detailing done to it since the restoration was completed. I’d love the chance to be let loose on this thing… who knows, maybe I’ll have a video series of that in the future!
Update: Just as predicted, I was able to spend a week with this Datsun – you can watch the full video below:
If you’ve become jealous after reading this article, don’t feel bad. We all are. The thing is, I don’t think they’re done. I’ve heard talk of plans for a new addition to the stable – everything from an S2000, MKIV Supra, R32 GTR, and even a first gen Mazda Rx7. Clearly, they have a real passion for Japanese sports cars and that’s certainly something I can relate to.
Before you scoff at the low mileage on these cars, it’s worth noting that neither of them sits in the garage collecting dust. The majority of the mileage on these cars has been put on during the time they’ve owned them. These guys love driving and I don’t blame them one bit.
If you run into Martin and Dorian at an event, make sure to say hi! They’re a friendly pair that loves to talk about classic cars. You can also follow them on Instagram: @martinbdiaz and @dorian_bodan.
1994 Acura NSX Mod list:
- 64,000 original kilometers
- Advan AVS Model 5 wheels (17″/18″)
- Yokohama S drive tires (215/40/17 front, 275/35/18 rear)
- StopTech brake rotors
- Tein Street Flex coilovers
- Pride V2 exhaust
- Zanardi titanium shift knob and shift stalk
- NSX-R shift boot
1978 Datsun 280z Mod List:
- 8,000 kilometers after restoration
- Engine, transmission, and rear end rebuilt by Whitehead Performance
- Tokiko shocks
- All new interior – dash, headliner, center console
- High flow exhaust
- 240z style front bumper
- OEM JDM fender mirrors
- 15″ Konig Rewind wheels
- Yokahama ES 100 tires (225/50/15)
- Momo steering wheel
- Updated audio system