Our adventures with this 1978 Datsun 280Z Convertible have been a blast.  We have covered the structural reinforcement, suspension package, braking system, drive train and fuel system.  So what else is there to do to make this Z everything its owner dreamed of?  I guess you would call it the icing on the cake – The Interior.

When we received the car, it possessed all the original components: the gauge bezels and door panel trims had a red paint to match the exterior pin stripping and the original vinyl bucket seats had a red vinyl insert with a black wrap.

We knew right away that the existing seats would not properly support the occupants under high boost, so we opted for something with a bit more bolstering and less sponginess.  Space to install comfortable seats was already at a premium due to the fiberglass seat humps behind the seat-  allowing the seats only to recline back so far.  We chose a pair of seats from one of the smaller modern cars out there - The Honda S2000.  Fitment with these seats was no small task. We reworked the S2000 seat rails, removed the original floor pan seat mounting brackets and redesigned and fabricated new solid brackets.

We installed updated sound deadening materials under new carpet padding and a new carpet set.

1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Fat Mat1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Seat

The Seats were re-wrapped in black leather with red stitching. Seat belts were re-webbed in black, with red highlights. 

1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Custom Seats1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Custom Seat Belts

We also updated the gauges with retrofitted modern gauges that were made to fit into the original bezels and then wired into the stock dash harness. Since the car is turbocharged we needed to add a few more gauges without making it look we needed to add more gauges (like the mini gauge pods you see running up countless a-pillars).  We added boost and air/fuel ratio gauges in the middle pods and retained a modern, matching clock in the original clock space.  We did not delete the water temp, oil pressure, voltage or fuel, as they were integrated into the 2 main speedometer and tachometer gauge pods. Speedo is GPS.

1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Gauges1977 Datsun 280Z Convertible Custom Gauges

The steering wheel was upgraded to a comfy MOMO and the shift and e-brake boots maintained the same black leather with red stitching motif. Door panel trims and center console were re-painted to match the red stitching.

One of the things that really made this car feel good was the installation of electric steering. It made slow speed turning of the 245/40/17 Michelin's a breeze.  Oh what fun!

Tune in next time to hear and see the final product in this amazing project…