The 260Z's body looks like it has cheated time-there are no signs of aging and, in fact, the sheetmetal appears to have evolved all by itself for the last quarter century. With a name like Biondo, you would expect to see some Bondo body filler used in the body prep-not here. The rear side marker lights, mirror mount holes, keyholes, gas filler door, Z emblem vent holes and the entire rear end were all welded and leaded. The car was fitted with Callaway 'Vette taillights, and a third-generation Camaro flip-down license plate frame. The license plate lights are from a 1996 Contour, the front blinkers are 1996 RX-7 units, the front side marker and headlamps are from a '96 Taurus and the mirrors are '96 Tercel pieces. Jim had the rain gutters removed and positioned the window glass outboard an additional 1/4 inch to give the '70s car a more flush '90s look.
Cabin Fever Inside, a six-point...
Inside, a six-point cage is joined by a racing-spec driver's seat, the proper gauge readouts from Auto Meter and Cyberdyne and some weight reduction tricks.
The front end is a crazy one-piece affair. "When I started the project I had no intention of changing the car's appearance in any way," says Jim. "But when a wave of new styled headlights came out (Celica and Neon) I felt some changes were needed to modernize the classic Z. The Taurus lights were chosen after seeing an advanced copy of the dealer brochure. Through an unnamed source at Ford, I was able to acquire some early water test prototypes. Using some scrap Fiberglas, my father and I made a clay model of eight areas of modification, then Paul Langlois of Master Models & Molds in Canton, Mich. laid up the eight pieces and combined them with the scrap Fiberglas. From there my body man and family friend, Frenchy, surfaced out the front end using 17 gallons of Bondo. This finished model tipped the scales at well over 100 lbs and was used to make the mold for the final front clip. The top surface was done in carbon fiber while the curvy areas were made from fiberglass. The final piece weighs only 45 lbs.
Engine The small-block V8...
The small-block V8 has been stroked to provide 407 cubic inches of displacement. Internals consist of SRP forged flattop pistons (10.24:1 compression) Crower rods and a Callies crank. Ported Dart Sportsman heads are joined by a Holley Tunnel Ram manifold converted to EFI specs. This combo pumps out 11.57-second, 130-mph quarter miles with little effort.
Rollers The Z claws the tarmac...
The Z claws the tarmac with 17-inch WRD Euro three-piece, five-spoke wheels and Michelin Pilot SX MXX3 rubber. The old-school suspension has been upgraded with Tokico/Eibach coilovers and four-piston Wilwood binders. The front sports 11.75-inch rotors and the rear utilizes 11.50-inch rotors.
Since the car's completion, it has seen the road on a regular basis; a quick weekend trip to the strip netted an impressive 11.57 at 130 mph with little real effort on Jim's part. With more passes and some suspension tweaks, Jim says, "who knows how fast it could be." Regardless, this muscle-bound Z-car is certainly a top-flight performer- so, why did it take so long to get it in the book?