When you build a garage project car, you usually have one goal in mind. You’re either working on a daily driver or a racing car. It’s not easy to combine the two, but that’s precisely what one garage builder did with a 1972 Datsun 240z. Build Biology gives us a closer look at this project car mod by mod.
This beautiful 240z is built on a stock 1972 Datsun frame, but there’s nothing stock about the finished product. This particular build is the brainchild of Kyle Kuhnhausen of Kuhnhausen Metal Concepts. The customer’s requests were simple. Build something that can make the two-hour drive up to Portland for races, tear it up on the track, and drive back home. All told, it took five years to build the 240 in Kyle’s dad’s two-car garage in Oregon. Sounds like a pretty simple request, but the final car is anything but.
The exterior of this street legal car looks like it belongs on a racetrack, but it would be just as at home on the highway. Instead of using a pre-made body kit, Kuhnhausen customized the entire exterior to optimize air intake for the custom radiator, brake, and transmission coolers.
To keep the rear end looking smooth, he ran the exhaust pipes out either side of the body, underneath the doors. The rear bumper was shaved completely down and replaced with a custom wing, and a sub-mounted 11-lb lithium-ion battery that’s mounted in the rear. If this car ever needs a jump-start, there are positive and negative poles just above the license plate because the battery itself is wholly contained in a custom steel housing.
The cockpit is inspired by aircraft design, and it looks the part. All of the interior electronics are housed behind a removable steel kickplate in the passenger footwell for ease of repair. The driver has control of everything at their fingertips, from the brake bias to the fire suppression systems. Even the upholstery is custom with a hex pattern instead of the popular diamond design.
There are even fuel and differential vents, equipped with active carbon to keep your interior and garage from smelling like exhaust or gasoline, in the rear hatch area. All in all, this is a gorgeous design and looks like it would be comfortable driving down the highway or at top speed on the track.
Under the hood is an LS1 V8 engine from a 2004 Pontiac GTO. Surprisingly the engine is mostly stock, with a few performance modifications here and there. Most of the engine bay is custom fabricated, from the brackets and strut towers to the tension bars that allow the driver to shift the weight distribution of the engine. The cold air intake for the engine runs through the unibody structure of the car, providing efficiency without cluttering up the engine bay.
You wouldn’t think this thing has ever been driven, by how clean and pristine the engine is. It might not last long once the owner takes it to the track a few times, but for now, it’s charming to look at.
You don’t usually expect much from the undercarriage of a car — even a custom mod — but the underside of this 240z is awesome. The exhaust piping is custom, with each side feeding the other’s muffler. The suspension is a full-billet Arizona Z-Carb kit. It’s even got a custom dampening adjuster that you can access without even having to take off the wheel.
Custom brake coolers keep the rotors cool, and the undercarriage has additional frame supports even though it’s already equipped with a 10-point cage to keep the drive safe.
This custom 240z is something you have to see to believe. We can’t wait to see what the car’s owner does with it next. At the same time, we can’t wait to see what amazing builds are in the works for Kyle Kuhnhausen! This 240z sets a new president for custom modding, and we’re excited about the future.