This is One Mean Green 280Z Machine
Go ahead and stare. I couldn't help it either.
We’re on a Z streak this week and I would be lying if I said I didn’t like it. This particular one is low, wide, and makes me feel nice things when I see it.
Say hello to Sonny’s 1978 Datsun 280Z (@sonn_y). A fantastic combo of vintage JDM styling and modern widebody beauty. Did I mention the black and chrome Work Meister wheels that help bring the entire package together? Ahh, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start from the beginning.
Sonny bought this Z from sunny Florida for a jealousy-inducing $5,500. At the time it was mostly OEM with minimal rust and the original red color. Under the hood was the original L28 engine mated to an automatic transmission. As you can probably tell from looking at it, that didn’t last for long.
Ask me why Sonny was looking for a 280Z. Go on, it’s that part of the article. Well, why wouldn’t he?! Z cars are some of the best-designed cars of all time. But there’s even a better reason than that. Like everyone should be, Sonny was always a fan of Z cars in general and when he laid his eyes on the 1st generation Z, it was love at first sight.
“There was just nothing like it that I’ve seen before and I knew that this was the right car for me to build.”
It’s also an homage to his father, who during that time, came to the US after escaping the Vietnam war with pretty much nothing. He told Sonny back in the day that the Z was “the car to have'' and when he actually got one, his father had a slight reminiscing chuckle when he saw it.
“Just having that piece of history in my garage makes me even prouder as a Z owner, it has meaning to me.” Absolutely heartwarming <3.
Now let’s pop the hood. In the place of that stock, L28 is an RB25DET from a Skyline, running on a Z32 ECU tuned by DRZA Auto and all new wiring from Wiring Specialties. A 3” turbo-back exhaust combined with a Greddy Evolution muffler help bring out the best sounds from that legendary RB25.
In terms of the styling, that’s a Rocket Bunny widebody kit on it with the carbon fiber option straight from Japan. The whole car is wrapped in Inozetek Super Gloss Khaki Green which gives it a color that is both fitting and eye-catching. It is sitting on 17” Work Meister wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Potenza S-04 tires and a custom air suspension made by Airtekk. Lastly, peep the JDM factory fender mirrors that really complete the look.
Open that long door and you’re greeted by an interior that is mostly OEM, and that’s a good thing. A set of Sparco R100 black leather seats was added to match the interior as well as a set of Takata harness seat belts. Lastly, electronic gauges from Speed Hut are housed in the OEM gauge clusters across the dash and behind the steering wheel.
Notice how I didn’t mention the wood grain steering wheel. That’s because it gets its own paragraph. lt’s a beeeeeeeeeeeeautiful wood-grain steering wheel from NRG Innovations with a short hub quick-release and a Datsun badged horn button. It’s more compact than the stock wheel and gives off that JDM feel you get from something like a Nardi wheel.
Much like my very own Corrie, Sonny’s 280Z has a name of its own: “Domu_Z.” Instead of paraphrasing the story behind the name, I think I’ll let him explain it himself.
“I actually own a ramen shop called DOMU in Orlando, FL where I am also the chef. DOMU is slang for “dream come true” which reflects not only my restaurant but now, also my Z. Growing up, I never really had the opportunity to fully build out a car the way I truly wanted to and DOMU gave me that opportunity. Cars and food have always been my passions so I am happy, appreciative, and humbled that I am able to fulfill both of those.”
Usually, I talk about future plans but Sonny and I both agree this car is perfect as it is. It’s a project that was four years in the making and now that it’s finally complete, look out for it on the streets and at shows around Orlando. As always, a big thank you to Sonny for agreeing to the interview and I look forward to seeing more pics of this beauty on my Instagram feed.