Sheryl, you have made our day with your stunning 1977 280Z, what a beauty! Tell us where you got this classic Datsun from…

Thanks for the kind words, I appreciate it! I had been looking for a classic Japanese sportscar for a while and particularly liked the 240Z and ideally I wanted one of these however, I found this 280Z online back in 2015 and went ahead and snapped it up.

It was already registered in Dubai and was available for a reasonable price. What’s more, since the car was already in the UAE I saved on the costs of getting one shipped and all the hassle in bringing a car here from overseas.

 

That’s great, however, it wasn’t in the best of conditions though was it?

No, it was pretty bad and in dire need of a lot of TLC! I had to completely restore it from top to bottom.

It got a bare metal respray which really brought it back to life as the original 40 year old paint was in a terrible state. It got a brand new radiator and fan to help keep it cool during the hotter months of the year, I also added a Link G4 Atom ECU, Eibach lowering springs (all bushings and struts are OEM replacement) a new set of Rota Shakotan rims and lots of new exterior trim pieces and badges.

The interior needed revitalising too and is now completely new but I kept with the original look of the car and even got the original radio but I added Speedhut gauges which I feel give me a more accurate reading of the speed I am going not to mention the RPM and of course the fuel and temperature readings.

These cars were extremely popular in the US and this is where I was able to find most of the parts that I had fitted and got everything online. I must thank Performance Garage in Al Quoz who did the bodywork and interior and Lap 57 Garage which took care of all of the mechanical work.

 

They’ve done a fine job — it looks as good as new now. It sure must put a smile on your face whenever you take it for a spin…

A very big one! I must say that I am very proud of my car and after investing so much time and money into restoring it I am really happy with the way it turned out in the end.

I drive it on the weekends during the cooler months and it doesn’t matter where I am driving it, it makes me feel really happy — and other people too. The amount of attention that it gets is incredible! Everyone gives me a thumbs up and whenever I park it people swarm around it and take selfies with it.

I have taken it to a few car shows like the Emirates Classic Car Festival and Overdrive at City Walk, and although these cars were sold mainly in the US, there are lots of JDM fans here and I always get a positive reaction from people.

Both of my sons absolutely love the car, and I feel they have a similar connection with this car as I had with my dad’s cars when I was growing up. 

 

What sort of cars did he have?

He owned a few cool cars including a BMW 2002, 1981 Mazda 121 coupé, and a second generation Buick Regal to name a few and I suppose growing up in Dubai influenced me quite a bit and piqued my interest in cars.

My very first car was a Tata Sierra (three-door short wheelbase) which I got during my graduation days in India. I was always buying parts and accessories to modify the car every time I visited Dubai on holiday. 

The first car I registered in Dubai was a 1993 5.0 Mustang convertible.

 

Those Fox body cars were nice. Where did you get that from?

It was passed on to me from my sister — you see, the passion for cars runs in the family! I have also owned a 2010 Corvette Grand Sport and my current daily driver is a BMW 535i with an AC Schnitzer performance upgrade and exhaust. I also own a first generation 1977 Toyota Celica which is currently being restored (and hopefully will feature in My Wheels sometime in future!) but the best car I have driven to date is the McLaren 650S.

 

Once the Celica is ready you can guarantee we’ll be featuring you here again!

Great, I’ll keep you posted!

 

Back to the 280Z, the previous owner had swapped out the original engine — what does it have now?

That’s right, he’d replaced the 2.8-litre inline-six for a RB25 Nissan Skyline motor which was in solid condition. It is a non-turbo engine and practically bullet proof, and has a five-speed manual transmission. Its output is around 190 horses at 6,500rpm, and it has ample torque too. What’s more it runs great and handles really well now thanks to all the work that has gone into the chassis.

It is fun to drive and I love the drivetrain that it has but I must admit that I love sitting back and appreciating its aesthetic beauty. I love the lift back shape and the long bonnet. I also love the fact that it starts every single time without fail!

That said, it can offer a varied experience — it is an absolute joy driving a stick shift but at the same time it is a 40 year old classic sportscar which needs some TLC from time to time. Part of the fun is in maintaining the car and hunting for parts online, and so far it has been a great learning experience for me.

 

Finally, we’ll leave you with a tough one — what is your dream car? 

Currently I am dreaming about my Celica and how it is going to turn out but my other dream cars would include a 2006 Ford GT and a 1995-96 Nissan Patrol short wheelbase. I know — keep dreaming, right!

 

Got a hot ride? Email us at mywheels@gulfnews.com with a photo and description and you could be our next my wheels star!