We could definitely have had many more build posts on the 73 Ken & Mary Skyline that we have here at JDM Legends but what I have tried to do here is give you a little bit of what I feel you guys might think are some of the more interesting parts of the restoration, and also to give you a bit of insight into what goes on when we receive a car here at JDM Legends and our attention to detail. Aside from what some may think, we don’t just pick up the cars for dirt cheap and flip them to some poor unsuspecting client only to find out they have a rusted out jalopy with a laundry list of electrical problems and no brakes. Trust me, there is plenty of J-tin that falls into this category which is exactly why we feel we provide a very valuable service to anyone looking to pick up a classic Japanese car. This very business came about from buying cars that were sold as being solid cars only to find that when we received them that they were almost undrivable. There is a very thorough 140 point inspection process that goes on with each and every vehicle that we import, and if something with the vehicle is not up to our standards then we fix the problem. And if we decide the problem isn’t serious enough for us to fix, the problem is noted and the customer is informed prior to purchase.
So enough of my ranting, on to the build. We last left off in part 3 with our fenders being modified to properly accept the new flares. I thought I would share a bit of the preparation process of the parts we received before painting them. I’m going to start off with a picture of the poor quality over fenders that came on the car, and why we decided to redo them. As you can see the finish is very poor, and it looks as though they were taken directly out of the box, painted with a spraycan, and screwed to the car with whatever hardware that could be found after sweeping up the shop floor.
They’re worse in person, trust me. Now even though the new over fenders we received were substantially better quality than the old ones, they still need a bit of preparation before painting to get the finished product we are looking for. Mostly some minor filling of imperfections and air bubbles and a good overall scuffing to make sure the new paint adheres properly.
While we were doing the over fenders we decided to also install a chin spoiler on the front of our Kenmeri, because lets face it, chin spoilers make almost any classic J-tin look instantly ten times better. And to be honest when I see them without them they look kind of naked, like Kenny Rodgers without a beard. Anyway, the chin spoilers only come in fiberglass as well and I have yet to see a long piece of fiberglass not have a serious case of wavyness to it, that if not taken care of will be obvious in the right light. You can see here the low spots that have been smoothed out in the preparation process.
And also while we’re at it, the front fascia/grill area needed some attention with all these nice, new parts going on. The grill was not as bad as the fenders and just needed a little bit of tlc to be up to par with the rest of the parts. I also removed the grill and had it powder coated satin black for a durable, OEM finish.
Now with everything painted it’s time to mount the parts to the car, and in my opinion the hardware used in mounting the parts to the car has a big affect on the overall presentation and quality of the car. I have seen some very nicely prepped and painted over fenders that look really nice but when it comes time to mount them to the car they just screw in some self tapping screws and call it a day. So after mocking up the fenders on the car, drilling holes, and making sure to paint some rust inhibitor/primer in them to prevent future rust I decided to use some very high quality stainless steel, button head cap screws with locknuts on the back to prevent them from loosening up in the future. You definitely don’t want to remove your entire rear interior to tighten up your hardware if it becomes loose over time.
Muck nicer than the old half-painted sheet metal screws right? I also decided to use the same fasteners in the front spoiler.
One more thing that always needs to be addressed when installing a twin turbo motor with at least 3 times the amount of power that the car originally came with is the brakes. Even with 4 wheel discs all around the brakes on this car were never quite right. All the bleeding and pedal adjustment I could throw at it did nothing to help the situation. That’s when I realized the situation was a bit more serious than just some minor maintenance. It turned out that over time condensation had caused the seals in the brake booster to fail over time inhibiting it’s ability to hold vacuum. So I figured if it’s worth replacing, it’s worth upgrading so I set out to find the largest booster I could fit in the location with hopefully minimal modification. I ended up using one out of a later model S31 Z that can easily be found here in the states. The further I got into it appeared that this wasn’t the first time the booster had been replaced and it looked like someone had to fabricate a new adapter plate to get this one to fit. Hmm… not what I was hoping for but that is what the welder’s for right Here’s a pic of the original adapter plate.
This is the new one I had to fabricate to get the new booster to mount in the car.
Not too bad, then I mounted it and realized the actuator rod that mounts to the brake pedal was way too short. Not a big deal if you have the resources. Here’s the finished adapter plate and lengthened rod. Heh heh…. I just said lengthened rod. Sorry, to much Beavis and Butthead in my youth has apparently rotted my brain just like they said it would
And boom shaka laka we have brakes!!! Which are a nice addition to any RB26DETT I might add. One last thing I decided to do was make a spare tire cover for the trunk area as this car never had one and I felt it left it looking a bit unfinished. Here is the design drawn onto the same fiberboard used in the OEM spare tire covers.
Finished product cut, upholstered, and ready to go.
So that’s about it for Mr. Ken and Mary. Like I said there is a lot of other work done to the car not shown here on the blogs but we feel like we have fixed all the major problems with the car and it is now ready to wear the JDM Legends badge of honor and hopefully make some J-tin aficionado very happy and me very jealous At the end of the day it all comes down to feeling like you have put heart and pride into your work and done everything that you can do to make sure that whomever is the next owner of the car will be happy with the caliber of service they have received. I try to treat every car I deal with here as if it were my own, and that is exactly why we do this. Not to make a million dollars, for the love.