Spotlight: Landon Shore’s 300zx

Sometimes it’s best to let the owner do the talking. Landon, take it away!

Landon: Where do I start? I have always been a Z fan. The first car I bought was a 1991 Z32 2+2 automatic, pearl white with tan leather. It was spotless to the naked eye, but had acquired 203,000 loving miles on it before the keys where handed over to me. As much as I was granted a smile every time the VG30 would bark to life through the budget Magnaflow exhaust, I knew a naturally aspirated, automatic transmission, extended wheel base car would never completely satisfy me.

To fast forward, three Z32’s later we have my current ride. This is my fourth Z, and second twin turbo. It has been a process of buying and selling each Z to achieve this level. It has always been an upward climb in overall quality and performance. I am a designer – an artist, some may say. A car is just another canvas for me.

I was very lucky to find this 300ZX, complete with pedigree of winning it’s class at the Redline Time Attack. Granted, I already was driving a mildly tuned twin turbo already, but this one for sale had my entire dream parts list already installed. I had to jump on it. The price was very high initially, so the previous owner agreed to lower the price after removing some of the easy bolt on parts like the coilover suspension, wheels, Recaro seats, 1 pc driveline, Stoptech brakes, multi-link control arms, etc. During this time I was able to sell my current twin turbo Z for a bit higher than I paid for it. I still had to damn near drain my savings at the time, but this Z32 was more than worth it.

That was three years ago, in which time I have been working on building it back up to where the previous owner had it. I built everything besides the multi-link suspension, back up to its class winning spec. Plus more, the interior was a recent modification, along with the 4:10 rear end.

I had a taste of Kart racing during high school, I knew I wanted to get back on the track, this car was to be my welcome back to motorsport. I started working my way up through the HPDE groups with NASA, in order to compete in the time attack events. My first track day, the Z was on 10-year-old factory size tires, and stock brakes. By the second event, I was a set on of Toyo RA-1’s with much larger Enkei RPF-1 wheels. It was a few events later that I maxed out the capability of the pancake sized factory brakes and opted to go all out with moon sized rotors and calipers by AP Racing. That was how I went about building this car up, waiting until I truly felt I had maximized the performance of the OEM part before purchasing upgrades.

I had a good reason for changing over my stock shock set up to coilovers. It was my third track day. As the day went on, and my confidence grew, I was asking more from the car each session on the track. What started as a minor vibration was quickly growing to a teeth chattering judder. The puzzling factor was it only happened on right hand turns under power. Since I was paying the big bucks to be on track, I decides to ride it out and just try to limp through right hand corners. By The last session, the three fastest cars on track were a E92 M, a Porsche GT3 RS and my 300ZX with an awful case of wheel-hop. Overbearing ego did not allow me to just let those two shiny new sports cars walk away, so I put up a fight. It took them several laps to catchup and pass. Where I expected the Porsche GT3 to streak away on the straights, I found my determined Z keeping right up to the GT3’s exhaust fumes.

Coming into the hot-pits after the checker flew, the GT3 driver shook his head in disbelief and inquired about my set up. Stifling a laugh I answered, “stock, and I think one strut is blown”. Both the M3 and Porsche driver didn’t seem as friendly after that. So naturally it was time to stiffen the Z on a set of adjustable coilovers.

Grip and control has always been my main priority. That’s not to say power hasn’t been scratching at the back of my head. I feel very comfortable with the setup of the car and parts that have been installed. The next step of modification will be larger turbos. With 100 octane, the car lays 450 horsepower and 500 torque to the ground. It is my goal to have the ability to push over 600 horsepower but detuned to about 550. With all the work that has been done to this car, the best aspect it retains is driveability. It is almost too easy, too comfortable and too reliable. I am grateful for the build quality with which this car has been put together. No corners were cut, and that pays dividends.

The more I get into motorsport, I find myself drifting back toward Karts, and away from the time trails. I like this Z too much to ever put it in a real wheel-to-wheel race and that’s where I feel would be at the next step up from time attack competitions. The Z is mainly used now for fun at local autocross events, in which it dodges the cones with surprising agility for a relatively heavy car.

Sorry if this all is a bit long winded, I have a hard time leaving out details, and I got excited to talk about my baby.

Thanks again for this,
-Landon