The Z32 Nissan 300ZX is an interesting car. Loaded with technology from the factory, it was marketed as a workable supercar alternative and, based on the success of earlier Z models in the United States, aimed at American buyers.
Over 30 years after its debut, the Z32 still enjoys a loyal following worldwide and its design has survived the test of time. The same can be said of the A80 MkIV Toyota Supra which, thanks in large part to its 2JZ-GTE engine, is another Japanese performance car icon. Imagine then, combining the best parts of each car. Finland’s Jesse Laaksonen doesn’t need it; he has already done this – and more – with his “Zupra” version.
Thanks to a father who tuned and slid race cars, Jesse became fascinated with the automotive hobby from an early age. In 2019, this 1995 300ZX – a USDM model that had been exported to Finland a decade before – became Jesse’s first car. At the time, it was still powered by its original VG30DETT engine, and the idea of swapping it out, not to mention going crazy with other modifications around the car, hadn’t even crossed my mind. of Jesse. But this reflection did not last long.
About a year into the project, Jesse started researching the 2JZ platform and the exchange process. Shortly after, the Nissan was beating to the sound of a Toyota drum.
Before being installed in the Z32, the 2JZ-GTE received a new set of bearings and the factory twin-turbos were ditched in favor of a single large Holset hybrid unit. But Jesse only went as far as the first dyno session before the engine came back for a proper refresh. It now features an upgraded crankshaft and forged pistons and rods, along with billet main caps.
The Toyota gearbox supporting the 2JZ uses a three-disc OS Giken clutch that Juha Rintanen previously used in his Nissan Silvia S15 Formula D car.
With the mechanical aspect of the rebuild complete, Jesse turned his attention to the look of the 300ZX. Rocket Bunny S13 overfenders were purchased and reshaped for the Z, and 18-inch deep Weds Kranze LXZ wheels were installed.
At this point, Jesse thought the build was headed in the right direction, but he felt like the exterior still needed a bit more aggressiveness. A GReddy front bumper and Bomex side skirts were acquired and installed, the latter receiving custom detailing from a local carbon fiber specialist. Finally, the steel and FRP body was painted in a custom Midnight Purple shade with chunky metallic flakes for added shine.
The aero look was completed with a massive custom rear spoiler and my favorite little touch, the Aerowolf mirror visors.
To put it all together, Jesse wanted to be able to drop the Z on the ground. A set of coilovers paired with a Stanceparts air cup lift system allow the car to ride low, but also be lifted 50mm at the push of a button if needed.
The modifications continue inside the cabin with Bride Gias II carbon fiber seats and the sought-after Willans x Nightrunner 4-point harnesses. The steering wheel is a similar Hellboi item and behind that is an AiM MXG dash display.
Currently the 2JZ delivers close to 600hp to the rear wheels of the Z, but in the future Jesse wants to hit that magic 1000hp mark. He says the car is best described by its looks, but the mean, low look isn’t just for show. Jesse isn’t shy about hitting the trail once in a while, and the Z is still versatile enough to hit the shops. What more could you ask for?