Rick Merz’s 280Z V8 Build Record

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Rick Merz’s Build Record

77 280Z with LS3 & Tremec T56 Magnum 6 spd

Rick Merz’s killer IMSA body with rocket motor

3-13-11 Purchased a very clean 1977 280Z from Rodney Goodwin that he listed on E-Bay for $7,502. This Z was only driven for 4 years when the owner passed away. The wife left it parked in the garage in Arizona until she passed away in 2011. Rodney got it for a very good price from her estate sale with the intent to flip it on e-bay. This Z had only 47,437 miles and was absolutely rust free, Z is silver with black interior 4 speed with air conditioning that still blows cold.


3-24-11 Purchased G-nose, IMSA wide body kit, front spoiler and G-nose hood hinges from Z Car Customs – JDM (www.ZCCJDM.com) for $2,750. I selected this body style after looking at several other body kits, front spoilers and, rear spoilers because it fit my taste for what I wanted to do to my Z. Kit arrived about 4 weeks later in 3 large boxes without any damage. Fiberglass work appears to be very well laid up, first rate work.


4-5-11 I started disassembling the Z. I am still amazed that all of the body panels and parts I removed are rust free and that the bolts still retain their original cad plating, after cleaning them they look like new. All parts that I removed were placed into boxes or plastic bags for storage and were labeled for future use.




4-11-11 purchased JDM style tail lights listed on e-bay for $159.99. I selected these lights since I like the look of the amber turn indicators versus the red turn indicators used for the USA market. Rear tail lights were in very good condition with only 1 plastic tab needing repair (this was mentioned in the e-bay listing).

5-23-11 purchased a 20 gallon fuel cell (with fuel safe open cell foam to control fuel sloshing) with a 0-90 ohm fuel sender from Summit Racing for $287.88 (including Cleco pliers and pins to fit the fiberglass panels). Parts arrived in 3 days without any damage, very good customer service.


5-25-11 purchased (4) weld in camber plates, (4) coil over strut kits, front roll center adjusters, front tension control rods, front lower control arms, rear lower control arms from Techno Toy Tuning (530.626.7334) for $1,874. I selected these suspension components after looking at several other offerings because I liked the look, form and function of these components better than what their competition was offering. Parts arrived well packed with no damage;  TTT was very helpful and had very good customer service.



5-25-11 purchased 240Z front turn signals listed on e-bay for 114.94. Needed 240Z turn signals for the G-nose since 280Z turn signals will not work in the G-nose.

5-28-11 purchased (4) Tokico adjustable struts from Sparktec Motorsports for $463. After several weeks I find out that the factory was relocated and that it would be several more weeks before I would receive the struts. In total the struts were delayed 16 weeks during which I was not able to work on my car since I had already sectioned my strut tubes (new struts are shorter) while waiting for my new struts and I could not put the Z on the ground to set the fiberglass panels. Very poor customer service from Sparktec, I will never use them again.



5-28-11 purchased flip down rear license plate bracket listed on e-bay for 30.94. I need this for my rear gas fill conversion that I am going to do.

5-29-11 cut out floor below rear hatch between the frame rails from strut towers to the tail light panel.


5-30-11 I designed a plate to hold the fuel tank between the frame rails without the tank hanging below the rear valance panel since I did not want it to be seen.

5-30-11 purchased Smoothy Hollywood style mirrors listed on e-bay for $55. I like the style and the cheapest that I could find them was $110, so this was a good deal.

5-31-11 purchased fiberglass hood and vents from Reaction Research for $708. I selected this hood because I liked the narrower width of the raised cowl versus the other hoods on the market. I also like the two smaller raised cowl scoops that cover the ’77-’78 Z hood vents. Hood and vents arrived well packaged with no damage, very good quality requiring little finishing to fit.


6-5-11 fuel tank plate was laser cut by Campo Sheet Metal for $120. Plate fits perfectly between the frame rails. I cut and welded 1.5” square tube to the plate to frame the fuel cell. Since I did not want a side gas fill I modified the rear tail light panel to accept the gas fill (from the Z) and flip down license plate bracket from a 1970 Camaro. I also had to add a fuel fill to the fuel cell.



7-8-11 purchased front (1.125” dia.) and rear (.875” dia.) sway bars (Suspension Technique) from Kuruma Motoring for $320.

8-21-11 purchased original rear window louvers listed on e-bay for $125 since I like the look of the Z with louvers.

8-30-11 purchased a 57” JDM 3D carbon fiber rear wing from Street Regulator listed on e-bay for $259. I like the drift style wings and since this car will see a lot of track time the extra 150lbs of down force created at 100mph should come in handy. The wing was originally $800 but since it has some very minor flaws that are hard to notice I got it for a very good price.

10-18-11 purchased (2) Sparco black with blue trim cloth racing seats listed on e-bay for $339.95. The black with blue trim will work with the planned blue exterior color of the car.

10-18-11  purchased NRG/JDM combo steering wheel and quick release with short hub with blue inserts listed on e-bay for $330.

10-19-11  purchased Shaved-40 door kit with door poppers from Spal USA for $210.81. I am going to eliminate the door handles so the electric door solenoids with the door poppers will be required to open the doors.

11-3-11 purchased rear differential support bracket from Eric Neyerlin’s ZPARTS.COM website (www.zparts.com) for $91.51. Eric has many Z cars so if you need that special part he probably has it, he is very knowledgeable and helpful with most things related to Z cars. I needed this additional bracket so that I could cut my bracket and this one in the center and re-weld them together so that I would have a double relief for dual exhaust.

11-7-11 purchased (2) 17” x 10” wide LM20 wheels and (2) 275/40-17 Michelin Pilot Sport tires for the front of the Z and (2) 17” x 13” wide LM20 wheels and (2) 335/35-17 Michelin Pilot Sport for the rear of the Z from Complete Custom Wheel (www.ccwheel.com) 386.258.0083 for $4,207 including the center caps, lug nuts, valve stems, mounting and balancing. CCW can make wheels from 5” to 16” wide with several different coating options. They are very helpful and their prices are much better than the competition. I took a tour of the facility when I picked up my wheels and I was impressed with the CNC equipment and the way that the wheel was produced from machining to assembly to polishing. I will definitely be buying my next set of wheels from CCW!


11-8-11 purchased the Competition 4 Wheel Brake Kit including new aluminum 5 lug front hubs, stainless steel flex lines and 5 lug adaptors for the rear wheels from Arizona Z Car (www.arizonazcar.com) 480.844.9677 for $2,265. Parts were very well boxed and arrived un-damaged. Machine work is first class! Dave is very helpful and will take the time to answer your questions. I am looking to purchase their aluminum radiator in the future.

12-28-11 purchased 4 point roll cage made from 1.75” x .120 DOM tubing from i/o Port Racing Supplies (www.ioportracing.com) 925.254.7223 for $604.90 with shipping. Fabrication and fit is first class with production taking 4 weeks.





  1. […] Late August:  Car is all put together, finished and out on the street for shake down tests.  Rick is working on assembling a detailed “build record” on the car to be published here in the near future.  (December Preview of the Build Record) […]

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