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1991 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo - Timeless Lines

Keeping a project in the family leads to a Z with style that will stand the test of time

Austin Lott
Dec 15, 2017
Photographer: Alexander Hou

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.

  |   1991 Nissan 300ZX Stillen Side Skirts

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.

  |   1991 Nissan 300ZX JDM VG30DETT

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?

  |   1991 Nissan 300ZX Mission Japan Front Bumper
  |   1991 Nissan 300ZX JDM Taillight Garnish
By Austin Lott
3 Articles
1991 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo - Timeless Lines
Tuning Menu
Owner: Joseph Joaquin
Hometown: Cerritos, CA
Occupation: Seven-speed single-clutch automatic transmission
Engine: JDM VG30DETT engine; Z1 Motorsports 2.5" four-bolt downpipes, silicone hoses; Selin dual MAF sensor; dual K&N intake; ARC Japan blow-off valve; HKS Twin Power DLI, oil cap; custom test pipes; GReddy Ti-C exhaust, side mount intercoolers; Koyo radiator; Samco silicone intake pipes, radiator hoses; CZP radiator brace; Carbing radiator cooling plate; Carbing radiator cap; Powertrix Carbon Kevlar fan shroud; Unorthodox Racing crankshaft and water pump pulleys; Wiring Specialties engine harness
Drivetrain: Z1 Motorsports short shifter kit; 350Z shifter fork; chrome-moly ball pivot; RPS segmented lightened flywheel, street clutch; Baker Engineering stainless steel clutch line
Wheels & Tires: 19x9" f, 19x11" r wheels, 255/35 ZR19 f, 295/30 ZR19 r Pirelli P Zero Corsa
Engine Management: Specialty Z ECU tune
Footwork & Chassis: Powertrix coilovers, HICAS delete bar; Abflug front strut bar; Carbing rear strut bar; Kazama Auto tension bar, traction rod; Stillen rear upper control arms; Whiteline front and rear sway bars; Energy Suspension bushings
Brakes: StopTech cross-drilled rotors, street pads, stainless steel lines; Z1 Motorsport brake booster brace
Wheels: 18x9" +26 front, 18x10" +26 rear NISMO LM GT2 wheels; H&R 10mm spacer with extended studs (front); Muteki extended lug nuts and locks (rear); JDM Ego valve caps
Tires: 235/40R18 front, 245/40R18 rear Falken Azenis FK510
Exterior: Mission Japan front bumper; WINFactory front diffuser; Stillen side skirts; Aeroduo rear under diffuser; Veilside EC1 rear wing custom fitted and reshaped; Revolfe S.A. carbon-fiber roof wing; 90 center cowl; NISMO clear corner lights; HID headlights; naturally aspirated OEM third brake light; JDM taillights, center garnish
Interior: Recaro Pole Position seats, side mounts, sliders; Wedge Engineering brackets; MOMO steering wheel and hub; Cusco shift knob; Veilside pedals; broadway rearview mirror; Omori boost gauge; HKS turbo timer; Blitz Dual SBC boost controller; GReddy Multi D/A gauge; Stillen pod holder; Interior Innovations shifter boot, e-brake handle and boot; LED interior lighting
Thanks You: All my friends and family for all the help and advice, especially Dennis Lapidario and Steve Bolger; Rollie Ronquillo for selling me the Z; Hubert Barnum for all the aero install; Noel Barnum for figuring out drunk wheels specs; Krist Srivivitanakul and Stickyicons for all the vinyl work; Rich Langi and Falken Tires for the support; Team CP family-Albert Roxas, Pat Au, Jon Sibal, AW and Mel Williams for all the advice and support; Allen Lugue; Sylvain F; Jp P, Dan K and the boys at Rstrada; Carlo at Bellflower Auto Square Collision; Edgar Ferman; Cons P, Elliot L, Arnel S, Edgar U and all the Z32 fam

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