MTI Racing Datsun 240Z (S30) – Fastest in World


MTI Racing, located in Marietta, GA, is a famous Chevrolet performance specialty shop, listingCamaro and Corvette, and even GM truck parts since their forte. The quality of the race application parts that they design and build in-house for these domestic monsters, plus the work that is carried out at their facility, has earned them a reputation as the authority on all cars wearing the Bow Tie badge. Currently, much of their focus is on the new C7 Corvette, having acquired one for a testbed for developing parts and, of course, to race. Unlike this C7 Corvette, a brand-new project, they also race a Datsun 240Z. Naturally, the previous Datsun is not really powered with the straight-six L24 that it came equipped with if it was built half a world away four decades ago. As a Chevy specialty shop, there was clearly little doubt that the fastest way to get this little import around a road course would be by using a big-block V-8 under the hood.The owner of this S30 Datsun 240Z, Matt Isbell, is also part owner of MTI Racing, and has been fascinated by everything automotive coming from a young age. He describes his childhood to be completely centered around cars, racing whatever he could afford, starting with Hot Matchbox and Wheels cars-which may not be an officially recognized motorsport class yet, but we won’t let that little detail keep Matt from listing it on his resume. Eventually racing Hot Wheels gave way to racing slot cars, and the joy of controlling a self-propelled object had him hooked for life. The slot cars led him straight into the transition to your short stint with radio-controlled cars that kept him thoroughly occupied until he was actually racing cars from inside them, at many autocross events lastly Road Atlanta the local (and world famous) road course.

1971 datsun 240Z rear wing 20

1971 datsun 240Z interior 19

1971 datsun 240Z z car customs IMSA widebody aero 15

The list of Matt’s previously and currently owned cars is, without a doubt, impressive. The abridged version on this list as described by the person himself goes something like: “Quite a few AC Cobras, a Shelby GT500, VW Beetles, a great deal of trucks, and several Z’s.” The point that he appears to have trouble recalling the exact quantities of these cars raised a few concerns, but we decided to let them slide. Whether or not this selection of cars is known as “healthy” often will be debated by a panel of overpaid “experts” in white coats who have never driven an appropriate car, but we’ll nip that discussion in the bud here and (despite our lack of white coats) declare him “totally fine and exhibiting warning signs of awesomeness.” As car guys tend to do, Matt cycled through cars on a regular basis, buying, tinkering with, racing, and ultimately selling many amazing machines. He eventually noticed a trend. Regardless of how many he bought and sold, he always found himself in an old Datsun Z car-there seemed to be something special about these small, sleek, lightweight imports. He decided to keep one around, which was much easier said than done, so he resorted to the only methodinvolved: Create the fastest road racing 240Z. A lofty goal, but Matt was confident that it was within his reach. It could be the perfect candidate for what Matt and the crew at MTI had planned, although the base platform was chosen, a ’71 240Z, not an especially desirable year of the S30 chassis regarding collector value. As we mentioned earlier, this Datsun is not really powered from a Japanese straight-six, but by an American V-8-or even to be more specific, the American V-8. The LS family of GM-built engines have proven their worth time and time again, and have been shoehorned into pretty much everything that one could physically fit within, for good reason. This specific powerplant started its life as a typical LS7, normally found in ’06-13 Corvette Z06s and ’14-and-newer Camaro Z28s, cars that weigh double of what this 240Z registers on the scales. The combination of 505 hp, 470 lb-ft of twist and a sub-2,000-pound car would be enough for most people to call it every day and move onto figuring out how to drive such a monstrosity, but Matt had not been interested in simply building a terrifying 240Z, although the fastest 240Z. The LS7 was torn apart, the heads were ported, a Comp MTI and camshaft Racing dual valvesprings were installed in addition to Mahle pistons, a Callies crankshaft and connecting rods, the fortified engine was buttoned up using ARP hardware. Before exiting though a totally custom exhaust system internal-house at MTI, a custom MTI intake pipe leads air via a 102mm throttle body into an LSX FAST manifold to be compressed and ignited. This formula will work for some very impressive numbers, 650 whp and 625 lb-ft of torque to get exact. Matt then shifted his focus on the suspension, as putting this much power to the floor and keeping the car stable at the speeds it was now capable was going toThe notion of “good enough” is all but completely foreign to him, so he chopped the front one half of the car completely off and fabricated a whole tubular front end to house the LS7 and serve as mounting points for your front suspension components, even though rate of acceleration this car was now able to was the least of Matt’s worries at this moment. Bilstein double adjustable struts paired with Eibach springs regulate the movement of a blend of Arizona Z Car and MTI custom fabricated arms with Aurora Heim joints, which serve to allow changes in be made in addition to keep the alignment perfectly true while driving. A set of monstrous 17×10.17×12 and 5.5 CCW Classics wrapped in 335 and 315 width Hoosiers maintain the car secured to the pavement. You can find no bolt-on flares around the world that can house such a wheel-and-tire combination, so the guys within the Z Car Customs were commissioned to create a full carbon-fiber widebody kit, from a 35-year-old original IMSA race car mold, no less, since you can probably imagine! The interior is kept as simple as possible, only the absolute necessities remain in order to keep weight down. A complete rollcage was fabricated and welded to the chassis in-house at MTI, the iconic diamond pattern vinyl has been replaced by a simple coat of white paint, and the only remaining pieces even remotely resembling any sort of comfort would be thethe easiest is such a simple yet beautiful concept; it’s an absolute that may be questioned at any moment, yet requires solid proof to be challenged. One of the advantages of racing may be the fundamental idea that we start at a set point, adhere to a set course, and the first back will be the fastest.”””” It’s indisputable with no room for opinions or personal preferences, just straight unadulterated facts. Matt may just possess the winning combination of parts to carry the title of the fastest S30 Datsun 240Z ever, by combining a classic lightweight Japanese chassis with modern American power and a a lot more than capable suspension. Anybody trying to dispute that crown, however, may have to wait a few months. The auto met a wall at 80 mph shortly after these photographs were taken due to a bolt failing in the front suspension. The car is now being rebuilt, and it’s likely Matt is already working on ways to go even faster when the car is back on thefor highengine and transmissionin theMany of us thought it was the automobile nobody needed, the answer to a matter that hadn’t been asked. And yet the BMW X6 coupe Sports Activity Vehicles (SAV) is phenomenally successful since its arrival.