LSX Magazine // SEMA 2019: A Carbon Copy 1972 Datsun 240Z Pikes Peak Racer

 NOVEMBER 13, 2019

Most companies displaying at the SEMA show always have some high-profile cars in the booth. The idea is to showcase one of these beauties at the show, which will in return, get people’s attention. Some spectators might not otherwise have much interest in the products on display. But, a properly built car will not only draw attention, but it will also showcase the company’s parts. This year was no different for the Holley crew, as they had some heavy hitters within the confines of their SEMA 2019 spot. The one that caught our eye was Shawn Bassett’s1972 240Z named Judy.

Judy started off life as a stock ’72 240Z, when Shawn found the car in Miami. Flordia. The asking price? $1,100. After tearing into the car, it was apparent the little 240 had too much rot and was going to need a complete overhaul from the ground up. It has always been a dream of Shawn’s to race Pikes Peak, and he decided this was his chance.

The body of the car was so far gone, that Shawn only retained a few metal pieces for this build. “The purist would say I ruined the car, but I definitely gave it a second lease on life,” he says. “Due to the rot, the car was really, really bad.” It was so bad, in fact, that the only original metal parts left are the frame where the doors hang and the bulkhead. Everything else is either made of carbon fiber or tubing. What’s impressive is the fact the Z was built in a matter of four years at Shawn’s 750-square-foot shop.

For power, Shawn stumbled upon a junkyard 5.3-liter L33 engine for only $300. The engine still retains the stock bottom end, but the heads have been ported and polished. Shawn also added a big stage 3 Brian Tooley Racing camshaft and “all of the bolt-ons.” The L33 makes 415 horsepower at the wheels, and when combined with a race weight of just under 2,600-pounds, you have a formula for a rocket going in and out of the turns.

To make sure the transmission was perfect, Shawn called on Tick Performance to go through the T-56 gearbox. He also installed an S1 sequential shifter, which eliminates the possibility of a missed gear on the track, with lightning-quick up and downshifts. The power is transferred from the transmission to a 240SX (S13) rear suspension setup with an R200 GTR rearend that houses a Kaaz 1.5-way limited-slip differential and connects to Drive Shaft Shop axles.

Before the big show, Shawn switched up some of the aero on the car, including a monstrous dual-element APR Performance wing for added downforce. He intends to hit the Pikes Peak hill climb in 2020 with the Z. With speeds in the 50 to 60mph range on the hill climb, Shawn wants as much downforce as possible when competing.

Every weld, piece of tubing cut, carbon-fiber body panel produced, was all done by Shawn in his 750-square-foot shop at his house. To say this guy has some serious skill sets would be an understatement. We look forward to seeing this car ripping up Pikes Peak next year.


Year: 1972

Make: Datsun

Model: 240Z


GM L33 5.3-liter V8

Engine Mods

Ported and polished heads, Brian Tooley Racing BTR stage 3 cam, custom headers, MSD Atomic Airforce Intake manifold, MSD Wires, Vibrant Performance hoses, HPS Performance Silicon couplers, CSF triple bypass radiator, K&N carbon fiber air filter


Aftermarket Industries FC1200 fuel pump hanger, Walbro fuel pump, Earls Plumbing fuel filter, Vibrant Performance hoses, Turbonetics fuel pressure regulator, LS3 injectors, MSD Atomic fuel rails.


Built T-56 transmission, S1 sequential shifter, and carbon-fiber driveshaft, S14 differential housing, Kaaz 1.5-way LSD, 4.08 rear gear, GK Tech Billet high-capacity cover, and Driveshaft Shop 600HP CV axles.

Engine Management / Electrical 

Holley Dominator ECU, all Holley EFI sensors, RacePak PDM, all wiring to mil/race-spec professionally done by Level 7 Motorsports, tuned by Carma Performance in Nashville


Front: BC Racing ZR 3 way coil-overs, FDF Fab grip knuckles, SPL Parts tension arms, custom lower control arms, GK Tech sway bar

Rear: BC Racing ZR three-way coilovers, SPL Parts arms, Z32 rear knuckles with spherical bearings, Whiteline sway bar, braced S13 subframe


OBP Motorsports Pro V3 Pedal box and OBP master cylinders

Front: Stop Tech ST43 Trophy Kit, G-Loc R16 race pads, custom Hel Performance brake lines, and titanium quick-release fittings

Rear: Z32 calipers, EBC Blade rotors, G-Loc R12 race pads, Hel Performance brake lines

Wheels & Tires

Bespoke BC Forged RS43 wheels, 18X10.5 fronts, and 18X11 rears

Toyo RR DOT Slicks. 295 fronts and 315 rears


Bespoke full carbon-fiber body and aero, APR Duel element wing


Sabelt Tauras seat, steering wheel, and harness, AIM lap timer, custom carbon-fiber dash, Autometer gauges, Holley Pro 13-inch digital dash, SPA fire suppression


Full custom FIA spec tube chassis