My name is Shawn Bassett and this is Attacking The Clock. I want to start by saying thank you for checking out my blog and first post. Before we get into this crazy journey of my 240Z build, I figured I’d let you know a little about myself, answer some common questions, and lead you into finding the car.
I get a lot of questions on where I went to school for fabrication work or how did I learn. With a lot of practice over the years, I am mostly self-taught. To be completely honest, I’m always learning and taking in inspiration from other fabricators. I got the fabrication bug when I was 15 and decided I wanted to cram a 318 (Dodge V8) into a little Dodge D50 pick-up. About 2 weeks later I blew it up because all I wanted to do was smoky burnouts. Ever since then I couldn’t leave anything with an engine alone.
I’ve been racing motorcycles most of my life. A good portion of my racing “career” was racing supermoto. Supermoto is all about taking a perfectly good dirt bike and taking off everything that makes it a dirt bike. Then adding 17″/16.5″ wheels, slicks, and big brakes. All to race it on track that is made up of 75% asphalt road course and a 25% motocross dirt section. Some of the best times in my life were racing supermoto. I was fortunate to race with a team and travel the US with my best buddies. That being said, the sport started fading, work got piled on, injuries happened, and I felt it was time to “hang up the leathers” so to speak. We had a good run and have the trophies to show for it.
I took a break from racing and didn’t have the urge to race for about a year. In the mean time I was building a Nissan Frontier into a prerunner. I didn’t have any real plans for the truck. Just something to keep the fabrication addiction going. I saw that I was going to be done with the truck in the near future. In that time, I was kicking around the idea of building a race/track day car. I had a few cars in mind but nothing serious.
My buddy Rich and I heard that and old track that we use to race supermoto at was hosting a rally cross and road course track day at the same time. We thought it would be fun to run my prerunner on rally course and his 2013 Camaro SS on the track. So we headed to the F.I.R.M. (Florida International Rally Motorsports Park) in Starke FL with our photographer friend Kane Potter. To say we had fun is an understatement, we had a blast out there. The truck I built was fast on the rally course and handled the course pretty easily. I drove the Camaro in a few sessions on the road course. I had never driven a car so hard before and racing motorcycles really translated over. So there it was, the itch was back
At the track, there was a little 240Z. A S30 chassis was on my “list” of cars. After talking to the owner and seeing the car screaming on the track that day, my mind was made up. I had to have a 240Z. I really liked the allure of a mechanically simple car that had a lot of character. All I wanted was a humble 240Z track car.
So the hunt for a S30 chassis started. At the time I had a budget of about $2,000 to spend on the car. This was before the 240Z got really popular, causing the prices to go through the roof. Finding a solid S30 chassis car for under $2,500 was pretty difficult. I knew I was going to find a beater in my budget. That was OK as I knew I wanted to build a car from the ground up. Little did I know I was going to literally do that, but that’s another story for another day.
I finally found her. I was scouring Craig’s List (like I always do) and I ran across a listing for a ‘72 240Z in Miami. The owner said the car was solid and straight. The car did not run, but it was in my budget. He was asking $2,000 and was flexible on price. So I made the 4 hour trip from Orlando and the car was waiting for me when I got there. At first sight, the car looked pretty good. Keep in mind this is my first Z and first classic car purchase. I crawled under the car where I could. I did some research for common rust areas, which it had, but overall the price was right and the car looked to be in pretty good shape for its age. So I handed him $1,700, signed over the title, loaded the car, and headed home. (Sorry for the horrible phone photo.)
That’s where the story takes a turn. Some would say for the worst. Some would say for the better. I’ll let you make that decision on the next post. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. Thanks for the read.
Photo Credit: Kane Potter. Andrew Fortenberry.