Bloomington, Indiana native and railroad engineer Stephen Finnerty stopped by DPAN Indianapolis in his beautiful Triple Mikuni Carburetor ’71 240Z 5 Speed that he restored in his home garage. When he’s not riding the rails he’s riding this; daily!

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This build was truly impressive and very inspiring; especially considering he built it in his garage! Originally a California car that he purchased from Texas he says his wife is super sweet, very understanding and that she allows him to have his “TOYZ”.

The interior consists of a Momo Steering Wheel, aftermarket fuel pressure gauge located in place of the factory clock keeping track of carb activities, fully adjustable 350Z heated power leather sets, custom mesh headliner and Wilwood Brake Proportioning Valve located on the passenger side of the trans tunnel.

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The engine bay is nothing short of a work of art. We’re talking polished L24 original block spanked .030 over, original E-88 head with 39cc chambers, L28 valves and Isky Cam spec’n 490/290; all backed by an 1982 280ZX Turbo T5 Transmission sporting a 40 DCOE Tri Carb Mikuni setup flowing through a Mikuni Manifold from a custom Cold Air Intake made from a converted L24 Valve Cover that he (needless to say) modified the hell out of. Cutting and welding of the CAI was done by a friend of his who also plugged the oil fill hole with a by welding in a billet “Z” oil cap; and the backing plate between it and the carbs is, get this, part of the aluminum “X” from a CSX Railroad crossing sign! Timing and sparkers to the chambers are controlled by a Mega Squirt 3X setup, which Stephen programmed and installed himself, lighting up AC Delco D 585 truck coils of all things putting out way more voltage than considered reasonable; but this is a race car so there’s no such thing as “reasonable”. When the engine’s done taking names and snatching Social Security Numbers; the gasses get thrown out the back via MSA 6-2 ceramic coated headers to dual 2″ pipes routed out as true duel exhaust thanks to a trick gas tank being relocated to the center rear of the car. He estimates his current set up is cranking 180HP with more to come from ITB’s he’s installing next summer.

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The exterior is clean and tasteful with silver Rota RB 17×8.5 inch wheels hugged by 225/45/ZR17 Uniroyal tires with stop n’ go action controlled by Wildwood disc brakes front and rear with proportioning valve from (AZC) Arizona Z Car. Body is painted an insanely vibrant eye pooping red with matching hand painted emblems, smooth shaving rear lower valance panel, blacked out front bumper, MSA front airdam, blacked out chrome moldings & drip rails, black BRE spoiler, and very appropriate vanity plates that reads “MY TOYZ”.

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In person this Z was astonishing and that was before he popped the hood. The color combination of red & black, the machine gun style heat sheald over the gas tank and the just when you thought Tri Mikuni Carbs was the rave comes the knock out with his L24 Valve Cover Cold Air Intake. Being a fellow railroad buff like Stephen and talking with him was cool enough but looking at his and seeing all the orignal touches he did to his ride was an eye opening experince. Most of all remember; Stephen did all this in his home garage except for paint with limited space. This should give the rest of us pause to reflect on the old adage “Where there’s a will there’s a way”. Stephen was a Cool Cat to hang out with. He gave me a spin in his Z and taught a thing or three about carb tuning for Project Vengeance and the Dead Sea Webbers Saga. All in all he’s a very talented builder and many MANY thanks to him for coming by and sharing his Z with us here at DPAN.

Slide show of additional pics below.
~ Citizen Z ~

  • 1971 Datsun 240Z, Owner Stephen Finnerty.
  • Engine: Stock block L24 bored .030 over, E-88 Head with 39cc chambers, L28 Valves with Isky Cam 490/290, 40DCOE Mikuni Carbs flowing through a Mikuni manifold feed by a custom L-Series Valve Cover converted to an Air Box with help from a CSX Railroad crossing sign feed by a cold air intake.
  • Transmission: 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo T5 (5 Speed).
  • Fuel and Ignition system: Mega Squirt 3X EMS, AC Delco D 585 coil packs.
  • Exhaust: MSA 6 into 2 ceramic coated header and dual exhaust routing.
  • Wheels & Tires: Rota RB 17×8.5 wheels, Uniroyal 225/45/ZR17.

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