Small block Chevy swaps into Datsun 240Zs have been happening for as long as the 240Z has been around. Back in the 1970s there were already guys pulling the straight sixes out of their nearly new Zs and replacing them with 327s, 350s and other V8 engines that Z’s engine bay happily accommodated.
The Chevy V8-powered Z became a popular choice for a homebuilt hot rod, and even as the early Zs began to rise in value and a achieve classic car status, the Chevy V8 swap has continued to be a popular and cost effective way to upgrade a Z Car’s performance.
The car you see here though, is something much more extreme. Yes it's a Datsun 240Z and yes there’s a tried and true Chevy V8 powering it, but Tyler Powell’s Fairlady Z06 is the V8 Z taken to an entirely new level. And it’s downright incredible.
Tyler has been an avid Corvette fan, builder, and racer for many years but he’s always had a soft spot for the Datsun and Nissan Z as well. After acquiring a pair of early Zs for cheap, Tyler’s initial plan was to retrofit parts from the newer Nissan 350Z and 370Z to create a classic Datsun with modern performance.
But then he imagined something even more extreme, with the words “Fairlady Z06” spinning through his mind. Not surprisingly this meant combing the 240Z with a Corvette Z06’s LS7 V8, but that was just the start. And the car you see here is much more than just a Datsun with a powerful V8.
Being an engineer and fabricator by trade, Tyler’s goal was to build something crazy from the ground up - a Datsun 240Z body but with the engine, drivetrain, suspension, and the engine of a C6 Corvette Z06. To pull it off, it was going to take some serious effort.
With the help of his dad, Tyler fabricated a one-off chassis that would house the Z06 suspension cradles and used custom pickup points, and hopefully when it was all put together it would work with a lightly massaged 240Z body.
That wouldn’t be the case though. After first testing a relatively simple flare kit from Japan, the new chassis and suspend proved to be far to wide, so the next step was to try an even more aggressive aftermarket wide body kit from ZTrix. But even that proved to be not slim.
So Tyler got to work modifying the wide body. After countless hours of cutting, laying down fiberglass, and shaping things to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing, he finally arrived at the shape you see here - and I can’t help but think he nailed it.
It still looks like a 240Z, but one that’s wider and much lower. In fact, the car was designed from the beginning for this ride height, and given Tyler’s race car building background, it remains fully functional despite the sinister lowness.
Throw in the big fat 18” BC Forged wheels with 315 and 335 tires and it looks like an old Datsun mated with modern GT racer. And with the modern Vette suspension and breathed on LS7 under the hood, it runs like one too.
Tyler tells me he went two days without sleep as he prepared the car for its debut at LS Fest but that was just the beginning. While Tyler has plenty of autocross experience, he’s also built the car with a serious roll cage that’s ready to tackle the Time Attack scene. He also said he has a new aero setup in the works for next year, and based on what I’ve seen already it should be pretty radical when it's done.
Back in the ‘70s when guys first started shoving small block Chevys into their Zs, they never could have imagined a car like Tyler’s. But that’s all part of the fun of this hobby we all love. I’ll certainly be keeping touch with Tyler and following along to see what happens next with the Fairlady Z06.
Check out my video from the Bonus Channel below.
VEHICLE: 1972 DATSUN 240Z
ENGINE: GM LS7 V8, Forged pistons, titanium rods, forged crank, Lingenfelter heads, custom cam grind, MSD Atomic intake, Holley HP EFI, Katech LS9 dry sump pump, Aviaid trap door pan assembly and Aviaid dry sump tank
DRIVETRAIN: C6 Corvette transaxle and diff with shortened torque tube
EXTERIOR: Heavily modified Ztrix fenders with custom extra wide flares, odified ZTrix hood, hatch, bumpers, and louvers, carbon front splitter, Marugen Shoukai fiberglass doors and rear three-piece spoiler,P lastics4Performance polycarbonate windows
INTERIOR: Full roll cage, racing bucket seats, Speedhut gauges
SUSPENSION & CHASSIS: Custom -built tubular chassis designed and fabricated by Tyler, CX-R tubular monoball C6 Corvette control arms b Fab-worx and Finch Performance, JRI Hydraulic coiliver system spec’d by Ultimate Performance (JJ Furillo), Hotchkis C6 sway bars
BRAKES: Wilwood Aerolite 14” front calipers, Spec 37 rotors, Superlite rear calipers, BP-30 Smart Pads
WHEELS: BC FORGED RS40 18"x11 (front) 18"x12 (rear)
TIRES: BFG Rivals S 315-width (front) 335-width (rear)