2/8 – The Starting Line, racing against the clock

Hayden V -

Hello everyone, my name is Hayden Valmonte Macklin and from my senior project title, you can tell that I have an huge passion for cars. Models, toys, memorabilia, pictures, wall decoration–I have it all when it comes to cars. My future plans are to eventually get into designing and fabricating parts for the race divisions of big manufactures, like NISMO, Gazoo Racing (GR), and Toyota Racing Division (TRD).

Even though it is not on the website, I have 2 different site placements for my senior project. One is at UMS Tuning, a tuner shop in Mesa that builds racecars for the track, as well as just high horsepower street cars for customers. From the short time I have already spent at the shop, they are very welcoming and had no hesitation at putting me to work. I will be at UMS Tuning on Mondays and Wednesdays since I go to my welding class at Mesa Community College and the shop is 5 minutes away. My second site placement is at TurnStyle JDM & Euro in Apache Junction. They are a shop offering many services, anything from general maintenance to full-on engine rebuilds. They enjoy building drift cars during their off hours and their passion comes from old cars that are barely street legal. Since TurnStyle is 5 minutes from my house, I will be at their shop Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and potentially weekends.

I hope to use the knowledge and expertise from both shops and translate it to working on my final product, my 1975 Datsun 280Z Restomod. I will be doing lots and lots of work.  I hope to be able to at least drive it to Prom and Graduation…. which is in 3 months. To bring everyone up to speed, I have had 3 different Datsuns over the past 4 years or so, a 76 280Z, a 1980 280ZX Turbo, and my current 1975 280Z. I will be dropping information about each of them over time when it makes sense to include it.

It is ambitious to say I will get the car done in time, but I will use every moment I have free and dedicate it to pushing my car forward. I am planning frequent blog posts, with lots of progress on my Z car, potentially some progress onmy dad’s BMW, many images, and stories from my experiences throughout this process.

I am pictures of the 1975 Datsun 280Z to show where I am starting from at the time of this post. I am currently in the process of doing the body work so I can get the car painted, and start reassembly. The photos I have uploaded is when the car was first put in primer, and the process of using guide coat (the black stuff on the car) and block sanding to make the panels as flat as possible.

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    Hayden, This project is one of the strongest I've seen in years. I love that you are working with two different sites. The pictures you posted are just fabulous, and a great way to orient us to exactly where you are starting. I did want to know what a "drift" car is. Let us know when you have a moment!
    Thank you for the kind words. A Drift car is, in terms of the ones I will be around, are purpose build cars that are made to go sideways instead of in a straight line. The idea comes from racing on dirt tracks in the 1960s in Japan. The fastest way to get around a corner was to go full speed and slide the car instead of turning. Drifting as a sport and idea was relatively small until Fast and the Furious Tokyo Drift was released and brought a lot of attention to the idea.
    I am honestly impressed that you are trying to reassemble a whole car. Why did you pick the Datsun to restore as opposed to another type of car?
    Very good question, the Datsun was not even in the top 5 cars when I started looking for a project, I didn't even know what it was. I was actually looking at old mustangs, Porsches, and a slew of other cars, but I went to a car show and saw a Datsun Z for the first time and knew it was the car I wanted to build.
    That's awesome! My dad almost bought a 280z while he was in the navy. Were you thinking of swapping a different engine in place of the 2.6L I6 or keeping it with all-original specs?
    This is very ambitious and I love it! I can't wait to see the before and after photos of what you've done.
    I mentioned the 80' 280ZX Turbo earlier in my post because I only got the car to pull the engine out of it and use it. We got it and the motor was blown so we had to completely rebuild it, and I did a lot of research to build a frankenstein motor with the best parts possible. So I will be putting in a single cam 2.8L Turbo motor in now with the hope of making ~300 HP or so.
    This is an incredible passion project! Can't wait to see you pull up to Graduation day with this car.
    This will be so cool to see at prom and graduation hopefully! How long have your previous cars taken you to complete?
    It has taken me and my dad about a year and a half to build his BMW, but some have taken multiple years since life gets in the way.

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