Nestled deeply in unassuming suburbia along the outskirts of Tokyo is a shop that specializes in the painstaking restoration of Nissan and Datsun sports cars of yesteryear. Take one look at Star Road's facility and you'll see a very tightly packed collection of projects that are waiting to be built or serve as parts donors, and the builds in progress or completed remind us that artisanal craftsmanship is alive and well. The staff seems to favor the Hakosuka, Kenmeri, and Yonmeri Skylines most, but they give plenty of attention to the car that's represented by the last letter of the English alphabet: Z.
The '75 Fairlady you see here is a picture-perfect, textbook example of the level of quality that goes into every project commissioned by Star Road. The shop's owner, Seiji Inoue, prefers a more traditional approach to building his customer's cars, sticking with the older powerplants versus a shop like Rocky Auto that is more likely to swap in newer (and turbocharged) RB25/26 engines, hence the classic L-series setup in this Z's engine bay. The rebuilt bottom end now pushes three liters, and with the addition of a custom header, exhaust, and Solex carburetor setup, it's able to make 370 hp while offering close to 300 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine bay is minimally arranged and gleams extra bright with plenty of polished surfaces.
Though Star Road's clientele represents a very specialized community that enjoys period-correct styling, Inoue-san continues to look for innovative ways to build these cars that remain true to the old school, even if they aren't period correct. The SuperWide kit represents this new-school aero design that widens the classic lines of the S30 with bubbly over-fenders that flow beautifully starting from the front bumper, along with a rear end that is more subdued with a lower bumper opening and duckbill spoiler. The Z was also painted with a custom orange metallic hue to make it stand out in a sea of classics. Star Road developed a custom suspension setup to help bring the chassis closer to the ground, and ultra-wide (and staggered) Glowstar wheels give it that much needed touch of truly retro styling.
What really surprised us was the interior work: Visually, it combines a bit of old with a lot of new, mainly OEM parts that have been replaced with fully functioning pieces. The dashboard and center console are filled with newer Defi and AutoMeter gauges and Bride seats that provide comfort for the original seats that are probably now long past their prime.
Star Road knows its niche role in its aftermarket, delivering pristine examples of how to go about restoration the right way. Relying on classic but proven setups, yet refining them with modern twists is a thing of magic. We wouldn't change Inoue-san's approach one bit.