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His Japanese Porsche: A Datsun Garage Love Story


One day I'll be able to afford a Porsche, but until then this is my Japanese Porsche.

It all started right here at this Benihana. I was eating there about five years ago and there was a Datsun in the parking lot. I took a picture on Instagram and said, “One day you'll be mine”. Within a week I owned this one.

The Z cars were brought over to the US by the first president of Nissan, who is known as “Mr. K” in the Datsun community. In Japan, this model was known as the Fairlady, but Mr. K knew that the American market was more macho. They didn't want a car called a “fair lady”. So Mr. K said, “They need numbers! They need Zs!” Thus, they named it the 240Z after the 2.4 liter engine displacement. It was a hit.

My love for Datsun started from a young age, riding around in my parent’s Z. I have several fuzzy early childhood memories in that car, though mostly images and sounds. I vividly recall the concentric square design on the shift boot. I loved the soft click of the gear shift as my dad changed gears. Then we got older and they sold the Z for a more family-friendly Volvo. I was so bummed. That's what started the whole chase--I always wanted to get one back.

I’ve had this Z for 5 years and only made minor modifications. A lot of kids will cut the fenders, wide body it and slam it to the ground. I'm more about preserving what’s there originally. The side profile is such a classic shape. A lot of people who don't know what a Datsun is will see it and go, “Oh, nice Porsche!” It's definitely got that teardrop shape, like a 911. One day I'll be able to afford a Porsche, but until then this is my Japanese Porsche.

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