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My 1975 C110 Skyline Restoration

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My 1975 C110 Skyline Restoration

A quick introduction to this build, I had an old build thread from 2012 but the image links were all broken so I've started fresh in an effort to condense years of procrastination, so here goes...

A bit of a back story, in my foolishness (and excitement) I purchased a white coupe back in 2008 sight unseen on eBay. While the car looked OK the listing wasn't completely truthful and the car was really rough and full of rust.




It had been patched up very poorly and a lot of the rust was hidden. As I dismantled the car, the more parts I removed and the more filler I stripped, the bigger the problems were. Sure it was repairable but it was not the base I was looking for and it was too incomplete. The floor pan, around the windows and the sills etc were all rusted out and there were better bases available back then. 




Whilst I owned this car I managed to get onto another 240K though a work mate. His friend’s father was into Datsun in a big way and had many Z's and what he thought was a 240K. It turned out he was correct and the owner also had a shed full of panels and parts. I picked up this car and all the spare parts in December 2008. It was a tidy looking car, It was filled in the usual places and had a back yard spray job so it was a bit of an unknown quantity but along with all the spares it made for a good deal. It was also running and registered. 





Between 2008 and 2012 I bought a house and part of a business so I became pretty weighed down, at one point I had both cars for sale. I was lucky enough to get rid of the white car and a lot of parts for a reasonable price and decided to keep the blue car, this was a good decision.

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Since 2008 I've been collecting a lot of parts locally and from Japan and I've now got pretty much everything I need including JDM tail lights, badges, mirrors, centre console, dash and other interior parts. My plan is a full rebuild from the ground up, a GTR replica in white. This is virtually identical to what I'm aiming for, Hayashi wheels and all, apart from that S20 under the bonnet. 



I started stripping the car down recently and as I remove a piece, I'm restoring it, bubble wrapping it and then shelving it. As time and space is a problem for me this is the easiest way. Once I'm left with a shell it's off to the body shop.

I started by stripping out the carpet to get a closer look at the floor pan etc. I will need to redo the whole interior as this coupe has a blue interior to match the factory blue paint job, not a big fan...




Next I removed the front and rear end, I also took of the guards to have a peek, very little rust so far which was a good sign. 



2012-11-04 18.38.26.jpg


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My first task was the tail lights. I picked these up from Yahoo Japan. They were complete with genuine GTR surrounds but they had seen some hard times. The lenses were very faded and the chrome on the rings was chipped and marked. I disassembled the tailed lights and removed the lenses and stainless steel rings. I also removed the reflectors inside which had started to corrode. The seals on the lenses were deteriorated and had let water into the housings. One of the lenses had taken a hit and was cracked inside. The lens had to be repaired and we had to sand back the larger red lens to remove a chip from the hit.



With the help of my good friend Troy I cleaned and prepared the lenses then a layer of clear was applied, the end result is pretty nice.



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I had the small stainless rings polished and the reflective housings plated in the same coating they use in modern head lights. This should provide some serious light! The actual housings had some damaged and missing threads so I ended up using another set I had. I cleaned these up as best possible.




I also cleaned up the bulb holders that screw into the back of the lenses.


I pulled a nicer set of backings off a 3rd set of lights and started to reassemble the tail light assemblies. I bought all new stainless screws and used mastic to reseal the lenses after cleaning the seals as best possible. Mastic is horrible, horrible stuff to work with, it's so messy. If you don't get it right the first time or used to much, you'll spend a while cleaning up.


 was missing a cover from the back which I managed to source here in Australia


The other cover was really dirty and scuffed so I hit it with some wet/dry and the polished it. It came up like new in the end. I then finished reassembling the housings and swapped over the JDM loom.



Over all I'm very happy with the way these turned out.

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I picked up a new horn pad and Skyline "S" emblem. It was a GTR badge but had cracked with age which seems to be pretty common from what I've seen.


I dissembled the pad and removed the badge. I rubbed back the original backing paint and then hit the font of the badge with progressive finer grades of wet/dry to remove the cracks. We then polished the surface and sprayed the backing in a candy red.






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I started on the headlights next.




I stripped whole assemblies down and removed the nylon grommets by shaving some material from the back of the plugs with a dremel. I took off just enough material so I could push the plugs through with some force. I then hit the rust with a wire wheel and sent the assemblies off for gold zinc plating. The springs and clips were acid bathed and coated in blue zinc. I managed to source some head lamp retaining brackets from a local NOS dealer. The parts came back looking like new!



I re-fitted the plugs and used epoxy to fasten them. They are used to adjust the lamps so it's pretty important that they stay in place.


I reassembled the housings and polished up the lamps. They came up looking fantastic, especially next to an old set!


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The sealed beam lamps are not the brightest of lights so in keeping with the Japanese theme I picked up a set of Koito semi-sealed head lights. These use a standard H4 and H1 halogen light which means I can fit any bulb for optimum brightness! Here's the new compared to old and the finished light.



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Fender mirrors are expensive! I picked up a separate left and right hand side mirror from Yahoo Japan. The finish of the mirrors didn't match but this wasn't really a concern as I planned to rub them back and respray them anyhow. One was NOS and the other was used.



You can see how different they were in these pictures and the damage is apparent close up. I rubbed them back to remove any imperfections and them masked them up for respraying.




My friend Troy sprayed them. While I was moving them to bake I managed to bump a door frame and gouge the fresh paint but Troy with his expertise was able to fill the gouge then once baked, rub the overfill back and then buffed them to perfection.


I had the metal parts electroplated and cleaned up the plastic and rubber. 

2012-10-24 20.07.15-1.jpg

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Some things are a bit more tricky than others and this is certainly the case for the combination parkers/indicators on the front bumper bar. Inside these units there is a thin reflector which is held in place by the bulb socket. The sockets are actually pressed into the housing and the only way to remove them is to grind back the lip of the bulb socket. I figured that I would remove the old sockets for plating and then replace them with some generic sealed press in sockets.



I had a lot of trouble finding something to suit, I ordered many different shapes and sizes and most either did not fit or would house the bulb too far forward meaning the lens would not fit. I was also going to have some issues trying to make sure the unit was well sealed again so I decided that this might not be the best path. I was lucky enough to pick up a second set of housings from Gerry (Kid-K) - Thanks! Seeing as though I had a second set of reflectors (which may not even be necessary) I wasn't really worried about acid dipping them. I cut the plug off the end of the loom, removed the wiring, spring and grommet which just press out and sent the housings away for Zinc plating in Blue Zinc. When I got them back other than looking great, the reflectors had been vaporised!


The lenses on these lights are all pretty rough, being so close to the ground and plastic the get a lot of stone chips and cracks. The plastic also tends to deteriorate over time. My plan was to sand back the lenses and then clear them the same as I did the tail lights.


I spotted some clear lenses on Yahoo Japan which I was considering using when what do you know, a brand new set popped up on eBay from the UK! I was wrapped when I found these.


After reassembling they looked great. 



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I called into my parents placed recently to pick up some parts they are kindly storing for me, I've got pretty limited space at home so I only take parts around as I'm really to deal with them. I picked up a lot of this gear back in 2008/9 and it's been sitting in their roof since so it was nice to pull it out and get it cleaned up.





They came up really well. I'll remove the wood grain inserts from the centre console (although it almost seems a shame) and fit some stainless inserts to match the GTR. Pics to come.

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The GTR tail lights I brought out from Japan were in reasonably good condition but the ring surrounds had been knocked about and the chrome was stained and damaged. I considered buying some replica rings but I'm keen to use as many genuine parts as possible so I looked into having them stripped and re-chrome plated.



I also wanted to have the rear bumper indicator housings cleaned up too. A common problem with these die-cast housings is that the bolts used to hold them rust. Because the housings are under so much stress, the rust seems to make the plastic swell and crack and eventually the mounts snap off.



I removed most of the existing chrome plating then sent them away for chrome plating. I received the parts back this week after about 2 months of waiting but it was certainly worth it! The finish on them is perfect.




The mounts for the reflector housings are all fixed!


I also went to work on the reflectors when the housings were away. They were pretty dull and scratched so I hit them with some Novus plastic polish. I highly recommend this stuff, it worked really well! Here's a before and after shot of the completed units.



Now all that is left to do is mask and spray the tail lights rings.

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After getting my tail light rings back from chroming the next parts to do were the fuel cap and breather.



I pulled apart the fuel cap completely so I could send the cover alone. The pin in held in place with a small cir-clip, once removed it just slides out with the spring etc. I'm going to look at fixing the lock up also, it's pretty sloppy. Not sure what the options are here at the moment.


Just got the parts back today and they look great.



Next I need to mask them off then respray the parts that should be black. No doubt this will be a fiddly job because the top of the fins need to be chrome. I'll have to wipe the paint of by hand with a cotton tip and some thinners after it's sprayed. I'd LOVE to know how this was done from factory?

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Masking them was a pretty fiddly task as there are many small faces and lots of angles.


Once the parts were fully masked off Troy hit them with some 3M adhesion promoter to help the paint stick to the chrome surface and then a 2 part black with flat clear. Then I had to use some thinners and cotton tips to remove paint off the top of the fins.


So finally these parts are complete, they now look brand new again, much nicer than the way they started out.


Now all I need is some replacement centre caps.

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I dug out this gem. I picked it up from Japan a few years ago as new old stock. It suffered some minor damage in storage, a couple of scuffs on the paint work. We tried using some thinners to clean off the paint scuffs and the original paint wiped straight off. It turns out the original paint is acrylic so its a bit of a blessing in disguise, I'd much rather repaint the whole piece in 2 pack and match the over fenders and grill. The thing I'm most pleased about is that having this part will allow us to colour match to factory spec. 


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I sent my bumpers away to be straightened and re-chromed. They were in pretty poor shape with a lot of dents and surface rust etc. I used the same place that did my electroplating on the headlights and tail lamps.




I picked them up from Vinny's (http://www.vinneys.com.au) yesterday and the results are spectacular. They look better than new, I don't think the chrome finish would have been this good from factory! I'd highly recommend them for any Australians looking for metal work. The turn around time on work is generally very good and the cost per bumper is $300ex tax. When you consider the finish of these bumpers and the work that goes into this I think it's very good value!





The next thing I need to do its fit some stainless bolts into the reflectors so I can fix them to the bumpers and then source some replacement chrome plated fixing bolts for the bumpers, I'll try Rare Spares or worst case, Yahoo Japan. I'm also going to assemble the parkers/reflectors and fix them back into the bumper so I'll take some shots of the finished product.


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The pillar covers in C110's seems to deteriorate really badly from UV exposure. I have two problems, my interior is blue, and most of my pillar trims are warped and cracked beyond repair. I sourced a passenger side c-pillar trim from Japan and a forum member was kind enough to donate a snapped drivers side a-pillar trim.


Troy has some plastic welding tools he uses to repair motorbike fairings which are perfect for this job. A soldering iron is used to join/melt to two pieces together and create a channel to fill with new material.


The channels are loaded with plastic which is heated by a heat gun, it's almost like soldering!


The end result is extremely strong, so strong in fact that you can actually flex the entire piece without breaking the join, it would probably snap elsewhere first.


Next I sanded back the piece and drilled out the fastening hole.


I bogged up the pillar cover, sanded it back and then sanded the entire piece ready for high fill.


I hit all the pieces with a soft pad ready for high filling, rubbing back and painting.



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This is the final result. Sure it's not a factory finish but I actually like it better, it's a little more modern without standing out too much. 





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love this detail work

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30 minutes ago, GH05T said:

love this detail work

Thanks man. :)

Next up was the bright work, it's all stainless and a lot of it was either covered in paint, scratched or dented. I had a few sets so I picked the best and sent it away for polishing at Vinny's. 

2012-11-21 08.18.24-2.jpg

2012-11-21 08.18.40.jpg



Eventually everything came back fully repaired and looking amazing. 



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