Tag Archives: Nissan

The Story Of Unc’s Z

Many of you know I often discuss a certain 1990 Nissan 300ZX.  Some might say I have an infatuation with this particular car.  But few people actually know why, until now.

This is not some random sports car I am obsessed with (there are plenty of those).  Instead, there’s a real story behind this infatuation.

Let’s get something out of the way right off the bat: This is Unc’s Z.  Not mine, not my fathers, but Unc’s.

See, I’m getting ahead of myself already.

In the 1980s, my Uncle Robert bought several Nissan Z cars and my parents brought me into this world.  Uncle Robert started in 1970 with the Datsun 240Z, skipped the 260Z, and then bought one of the first 280Zs produced, in 1975. He continued to drive Z cars (as they developed) as summer cars.

In fact, we became a “Datsun/Nissan” family, as a 610 wagon and then several Maximas joined the “Feder Fleet.”   Fast forward to 1989, when my Uncle Robert special-ordered a blue-on-blue 1990 Nissan 300ZX.  He ordered it with every option and waited for his new baby to be built and shipped to the local Datsun (later Nissan) dealership, FM Auto Mart in Fargo, ND.

Many ask me why this car is not a twin-turbo.  In fact some have pooh-poohed it for not being one.  My uncle wasn’t after pure speed; he planned to use it as a grand tourer. Thus he chose the 2+2 configuration for its longer wheelbase, with the small rear seats for nieces and nephews.  I was one of those nephews.

My uncle was a successful attorney.  He fought for what was right, and fought for justice. He was well respected and I looked up to him like no one’s business.  He was the definition of ”excellence” in every way. After losing a battle against cancer in 1997, his passing left a void in all of us, as well as the community.

He drove the 300ZX only during the summer months and stored it during the winter under the OEM car cover.  Most of the miles were put on by going between his house in Fargo and his cottage in Detroit Lakes, MN, a 45-minute highway drive.

When Uncle Robert passed in 1997, his 300ZX had a little more than 38,000 miles.  During the next 11 years, my aunt put a mere 4,000 miles put on the car.  The rest of the time, it sat in storage, just as my uncle had left it.

Why Unc’s Z? When my older cousins were children and just learning to talk, they couldn’t say “Uncle Robert” at first, and it was then that he became “Unc.” To an extent, my “Uncle Robert” was somewhat larger than life to all of us, and that’s how he became “Unc”

In the spring of 2008 my aunt agreed to sell Unc’s Z to my father and I. It hadn’t been started in years. The odometer registered just over 42,000 miles.

My father and my Uncle Jerry installed a new Interstate battery and pumped up the tires. When the original titanium key (yes, The 1990 300ZX came with a titanium key) was inserted, the injectors pressurized and the car fired instantly. No cranking required, just ignition, and it was running.

We had most of the rubber in the engine checked or replaced to insure against problems, and we had the timing belt changed. The wiring harness looked like new, so we decided not to pull the engine. We had the rest of the car’s drivetrain checked to make sure it was mechanically safe and sound.

All the fluids were flushed; they came out sparkling clean, except that the coolant was dirty, so we spent extra time flushing the cooling system.  Red Line fluid was installed in the transmission and differential, along with blue racing brake fluid.

The car is mostly stock with the exception of a few tasteful upgrades such as HID headlights, and upgraded brake lines.

I have memories of riding in that tiny back seat with my uncle to the local store to get the newspaper.  I remember watching my uncle hand-wash the car up north at the cottage.  I remember my uncle’s love for his Z.

Almost everything is original, though there was an, ahem, incident a few years before my father bought the car.  My aunt drove it to the cottage one weekend and a huge storm rolled through.  Before anyone could move the car to safety, a branch fell onto the hood.  It wasn’t ruined, but the hood definitely suffered minor damage, which we had repaired and repainted. Except for the hood, the paint is factory-original.

The original front brake rotors and pads were just replaced in 2010, as they had finally worn out.

There are now three blue-on-blue 1990 300ZXs in the Feder family. No, I’m not joking. My other uncle bought and restored two cars that are now duplicates of Unc’s. He gave one to my cousin and he still has the other one.

We try not to drive the car in the rain unless necessary, and it is not driven during the winter.  This past summer Unc’s Z clicked over 52,000 miles.  The engine compression is still at factory specs and the car drives terrific.  With only a few thousand miles put on a year (if that) I can only hope the car will last long enough for me to hand down to my son.

As many of you know, I now live in Portland. The car does still live in Minneapolis with my father. After some intense discussion, it was determined it was best if the car stayed in Minneapolis for now.

I have a ridiculous emotional attachment to this car. Karen and I drove away from our wedding in this car. The license plates and floor mats say “Uncs Z” (yes, we still have the factory blue “Z” mats, in perfect condition, in storage). This always has been, and always will be Unc’s Z.  I think of him every time I drive it.

This isn’t just another sports car.  It’s not the fastest thing in the world, it’s not the lightest thing in the world, but it is Unc’s car—and that’s something you can’t put a price on.

This Week’s Wheels: 2011 Nissan Leaf SL

That’s right, I’ll be driving a 2011 Nisan Leaf for the next week. How fitting that it be my first press car out here in Portland, right? They are trying to change me already.

Actually, I’m really quite excited to have the Leaf for a week. I’ve driven one before, but only for a very short distance. It’ll be interesting to experience what it’s like to really live with a vehicle that has a limited range.

Plus, not sure if you noticed, but the wheels share some kind of resemblance to the Z32 300ZX. So that is automatically a win in my book.

Stay tuned for more updates as I go green in Portlandia. Oy…

Why Yes, That’s Uncs 1990 Nissan 300ZX Sitting In My Driveway

 

 

It’s funny, everyone keeps asking what is in the Feder Feder garage this week. Well as it turns out my press vehicle for this week was re-scheduled for the end of June. Since I sold my Jeep and have yet to decide on what the next Federmobile will be, I clearly had no car for the week. While this has happened more than once since I sold my Jeep, it’s never been an issue and the weather was particularly crappy. It’s supposed to be gorgeous this week, and I can’t think of a better reason to take Uncs Z out to play.

Now, for those of you who don’t know the story behind Uncs Z, well you’ll have to wait. That post is for another day (Note: There will be a post regarding this car and its history.) For those of you who do know the story behind Uncs Z, well then you know just how happy it makes me to have it in my garage for an entire week.

Best Explanation Of Independent Front Suspension Ever [NSFW]

I have friends come to me for car advice, questions and such all the time. Once in a while that will include questions about suspension setups. Explaining such things to people who really could care less about the technical side of cars is not always easy, but usually you can get the concept across.

The below Nissan Pathfinder commercial from Germany is possibly the absolute best explanation of independent front suspension ever. Another thing we can learn from this commercial is that clearly Germans have better advertisements than we do.

So grab a mini bag of popcorn and root beer, sit back and learn about how independent front suspension works.

[YouTube]

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 35: “Some Humor, Some Serious, Some Green and Some Kia!”

Episode 35 starts with introducing this weeks guest Craig Cole also known as the skinny one on the RoundAbout Show. Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Kia Sorrento EX I was in this past week along with the 2011 Honda Odyssey that just landed in Craig’s driveway.

We then move along into the major news of the week segment. This week included:

  • EPA releases fuel economy ratings for the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt
  • Electricity providers excited and nervous about possibilities of electric cars (Link)
  • Flying cars? Yes! (Link & Link)
  • GPS and iPhone radar detectors? (Link)
  • Ten worst new cars (Link)
  • Lil Pete and Lil Kenny (Link)

Next came our main topic which was discussing General Motors playings matchmaker for current Saturn and Pontiac owners. (Link)

Last we plug our respective blogs, RoundAbout Show,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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2010 LA Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, The WTF

Mazda Shinari Concept

I had hoped to get this post out last week, but for those that followed my adventures at the LA Auto Show, I was running on four hours of sleep and many cans of Monster Energy drinks. Hence why this post is coming to you a little bit late.

The LA Auto Show is the kick off to the auto show season. Some say it sets the tone for the following auto shows. This year held a ton of promise as the auto industry gets back on to its feet and companies start churning out new product.

Infiniti Essence Concept

Highlights of the show ranged from Mazda Shinari concept car to new Ford Focus sedan and hatchback. Heck I was even excited to see the new Nissan Quest minivan. Yes, you read that correctly. I was excited to see  a new minivan. Hey, in my defense, the teaser shots they leaked out were quite compelling, and I was not let down. The new Quest is quite stunning in my opinion. It was a pleasant surprise to see the Infiniti Essence concept that made its debut a while back. The car is as stunning now as it was when it made its debut.

I was also looking forward to finally seeing the new Dodge Charger in person. Sitting in the new Charger and feeling the materials, I was pleasantly surprised. While not all is fixed, this is a huge leap in the right direction. I look forward to getting to spend more time with that vehicle along with the rest of the revamped Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep line-up.

2011 Dodge Charger

2011 Toyota Corolla

The bad ranged from the “refreshed” Toyota Corolla to the “OMG they built that thing,” Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet. The Toyota Corolla is more of a shock and awe. The fact that you can now only get it with a four speed automatic or five speed manual blows my mind. Let me repeat that, four speed automatic. You know, like from the 90’s and early 2000’s. This calls for a “lets party like it’s 1999” statement. Just shameful. Oh and they dropped the more powerful of the two engines. I’d be remiss if I forgot to mention the fact that you can no longer get leather on any Corolla.

2011 Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Moving along the bad portion of our trip down LA Auto Show lane we reach the “OMG they built that thing” section. We have heard rumors for years about a convertible Nissan Murano. Many outlets have comissioned drawings based upon insider knowledge. Well the time has finally come and Nissan took the sheet off the duckling. Is it ugly? Well, based on the gasp from the crowd, I am not entirely sure. I think the gasp from the crowd was a combination of, again, “OMG they built that thing,” and also a sticker shock when the price was announced at $46,390. I’m sorry, did you just have a slight heart attack? Because I am pretty sure the press at the Nissan press conference did as well. It was made slightly better when I learned later from a PR rep that the price is for the one trim model, which is a LE trim. This will come fully loaded with pretty much no options. Still, that is a pretty penny for this odd duckling.

Overall I would say the tone for the show was upbeat. The industry is clearly fighting to make its way back. Without question a nice foothold has been given, with sales up and profits finally being made, things are looking a little brighter. Here’s looking forward to seeing what is unveiled in Detroit in January.

My House, If I Won The Lottery

Kamil posted this to my Facebook profile stating that this would be my house if I won the lottery.  I found it funny enough to share with all of you.  Essentially it appears to be a house/garage full of Nissan 300ZX’s.

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 31: “Full Spectrum”

Episode 31 starts with introducing this weeks guest Jeremy Sally from Cheers and Gears.  Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Lincoln MKT I was in for the 4th of July weekend, along with the 2010 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport I was in the past week. We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • New 2011 Nissan Quest Minivan Images (Link)
  • Wall Street Journal believes Kia isn’t long for the U.S. (Link)
  • Mitsubishi plans on selling electric car for under $30,000 (Link)
  • California ends HOV lane access for Prius and other hybrids
  • 19 year old steals bus and crashes it (Link)
This week we continue with the new segment called car spotting.  Justin spotted a Model A Ford convertible and a Corvette ZR1 in Yosemite.  I spotted a Cadillac CTS-V sedan.
Next came our main topic which was discussing the top 20 vehicles for June 2010 (Link)
Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

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2011 Nissan Quest Pictures All In One Place

The 2011 Nissan Quest will go on sale early next year.  We can expect a full reveal (basically already has happened in via the pictures) at the LA Auto Show this fall.  All I have to say….not bad!

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 29: “The Luxury-Like Redux Episode”

Episode 29 starts with introducing this weeks guest Drew Dowdell owner of CheersandGears.  Moving into the garage we talk about the Chevrolet Camaro Colin was in for the past week.  We also take time for a special report on the Local Minneapolis Fisker Karma unveiling that I attended last week.  We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured Toyota, finally, although indirectly, is now acknowledging their safety failures for the first time in an ad  which Features their new Star Safety System. This system includes ABS, Electronic Stability Control, and the much needed brake over-ride system. (Link)

Next came our main topic which was discussing Mercury’s death and Lincoln’s future.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Download this episode (right click and save)