The builds that you and your friends take part in are what truly bring people together, from wrenching for hours to talking late into the night, they fuel your collective affliction. So when Joe Joaquin's friend Rollie Ronquillo had to sell his project of more than 10 years, Rollie knew he had to keep it in the family. That's when this Pearl White '91 300ZX Twin Turbo came to stay with Joe. Having owned a laundry list of enthusiast cars that reads like an education in the classics—S13, MK3 Supra, Mercedes 190e, two Porsche 996s, and a current '02 IS300 as a daily—you might be surprised to hear that Joe kept the Z32 stock for nearly two years as he daily drove it. Then one day, on the way to work no less, the engine seized up. That's when things began to snowball a bit and the "while I'm in there..." took the 300ZX from its mild bolt-ons stage to the clean build he's driving today.
Now, if you've ever worked on a twin turbo Z32, you know the engine bay can be a bit cramped. Joe took the opportunity to replace as much as possible since he'd have the engine out. Instead of a rebuild, he sourced a JDM VG30DETT from an automatic-equipped car (more aggressive cams, but smaller turbos) and swapped it in his garage with the help of a few friends. The engine received a full service before being installed with OEM bits and a full 120,000-mile service. The internals were left stock, but nearly everything else under the hood and between the fenders was touched, making sure the Z has the supporting mods ready for when more power becomes a priority. He has a set of NISMO injectors to install in the future, but currently the car is right where he wants it power wise. When your other weekend car is a '93 Porsche 911, we understand why Joe is content to enjoy the 300ZX without pushing the reliability envelope.
The exterior has been tweaked with Joe's vision for the car firmly in mind: to build a perennially tasteful car that will look clean and classy today or 20-plus years down the road. Most of the styling bits are either incredibly hard to find, discontinued, or period-correct JDM parts that were manufactured in the '90s. The front bumper is from Mission Japan, and to the knowledge of the owner, one of only two in the States. That rare piece received a fresh coat of Pearl White in '16, along with the rest of the body. As for wheels, the Z32 rolls on a set of NISMO LM GT2s that have been re-barreled by VR Wheels in Southern California. They were one of the first sets to be step-lipped from 17 to 18 inches and are wrapped in Falken Azenis FK510 rubber, which give him plenty of grip when the going gets twisty.
What do you do with a build that's right about where you want it to be? Drive it. All the time. And if that Porsche is collecting too much dust, call us?