Even more time was spent finding the right rear spoiler for the car. Again, Photoshop helped us visualize spoiler options, allowing us to virtually fit dozens of spoilers to the rear hatch until we hit upon the prefect choice. The Jones’ team crafted a custom base for the Pontiac Grand Prix’s trunk wing; an odd shaped disk that looks more at home on the restyled 240Z than it ever did on the large Pontiac.
The custom base positions it to mimic the highly effective whale tails popular in the 80’s, “spoiling” the air as it flows over the hatch. The spoiler’s LED third brake light finished off the look and adds an element of modern functionality to the tail light system.
Staggered 3 piece aluminum wheels were manufactured by Boze Forged Wheels. The wheels have modern looking 6 spoke center sections with striking deep dish polished aluminum lips. The rear wheels are 18” x 11” shod with Sumitomo HTZIII 295/30 ZR tires. The 9.5” wide front wheels are fitted with the 245/35 ZR HTZIII variant.
Engine and Drivetrain Mods
One deficit was power. I set a 400HP goal for the engine and originally decided to stick with the Nissan L series engine. I installed forged rods and pistons in a 2.8 liter 280ZX turbo block and used all of the latest turbo, fuel delivery and engine management technology to achieve this horsepower goal.
The engine delivered incredible power and torque with limited lag thanks to a T03/04 hybrid turbo that effortlessly spooled up to deliver 12 pounds of boost at just 1800 rpms. The problem with an engine like this is that nothing better go wrong at the limits. Unfortunately, the ignition module failed at the limits and the engine essentially blew up. I needed a more reliable powerplant and started entertaining the V8 option.
GM’s LS1 engines deliver phenomenal horsepower and torque with normally aspirated reliability and modern electronic control modules. It was late fall when the Nissan engine blew up and the car was going into hibernation for the winter anyway, so the timing was right for an engine swap.
A friend of friend had an early Z car with a nicely modified Corvette LS1 and 6 speed transmission. The car had been wrecked and we made a deal to have the engine and drivetrain installed in my car.
The results are spectacular. The lightweight LS1 looks at home in the 240Z’s large engine bay. Modified with mild cam, 90mm TB, Wilson “FAST” Intake, headers and free flowing exhaust, it delivers in excess of 400 hp. The 6 speed’s ratios compliment the 3:70 LSD gearing and 295/30 ZR 18 tire OD.
The car rockets off the line with controllable wheel spin, sending the car sideways (if you want it to) as one shifts into 2nd at 6500 rpms, still propelling the car forward with