Tag Archives: Uncs Z

Welcome To Accelerate PDX

It’s hard to believe it, but it’s already been nearly six months since Karen and I moved to Portland. The name change on this site has taken longer than I expected. Maybe it was me not being ready to finally face the reality. Maybe it was me just being lazy. Whatever the case, today is the day.

You’ll notice the new logo incorporates the Portland skyline and my BMW M5. Uncs Z is back in Minneapolis with my father, so the M5 seemed fitting to be in the new logo.

The adjustment has been easier than I expected. I’ve started meeting new people and have found the local car community. The driving roads here are something I could’ve only wished for back in Minnesota.

While I’ve been insanely busy with work, I know this site has been neglected. I struggled to figure out exactly what I should post here. Most of what I used to post I now write and post for work. While my postings here will be less frequent than they used to be, I do plan to post here.

Thank you to all my followers. It’s been quite a journey since I started this blog. Stay tuned as the journey continues.

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.

Wedding And Operation Blackout: Feder Feder Unplugged Wrap-Up

To say the last two and a half weeks has been a whirlwind, would be an understatement. First things first, on Sunday August 28 at 4 pm I got married. Quite a few people were shocked she went through with it, but I’m a lucky guy.

I know many of you are wondering what we drove away from the ceremony in. While there was some discussions regarding the topic initially, it was quickly decided that we would drive away from the ceremony in Uncs 1990 Nissan 300ZX. Read More…

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.

Cars & Café – June 5, 2010

Another month means another gathering for Cars & Café out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.  As I woke up at 5:50 am to get ready and then hop into the 300ZX, I looked out the window to see rain coming down.  I instantly decided taking the 300ZX was not happening – not this month.

By no means did this mean I was not going, rather I just did not feel like taking the 300ZX out in the rain.  I went back to bed, because the reality is if you do not plan on showing a car, getting to the AutoMotorPlex ridiculously early is not a huge deal.  After getting a little more sleep, I found myself pulling into the event at 9 am.  Things were already hopping.  There was a line of cars still flowing into the complex, although a few Porsches were actually leaving.  As I was walking down the hill, a Carver County Sheriff pulled in and asked if he could show his car (jokingly of course).  Gotta love the panther cars!

The fact that the weather was not amazing did not stop car lovers and onlookers alike from flowing in and filling up the AutoMotorPlex.  In fact, certain cars ended up being turned away to park at the top of the hill due to the sections filling up.  Notably missing (at least I did not see it) was the Scion XB with the taped on LED strips to the headlights.  I also did not see the 240SX with the zip tied body kit.  That was all fine because the first thing I saw was a black BMW Z8 and I just love that car. The license plate on the Z8 read HOUSPMT, and while I did not meet the owner the car was in great condition.

Other notable cars included a terrific looking Saab 900 (I assume a Turbo but it was debadged and the hood was not open).  I was really digging the car – until I saw the rear which has what can only be described as – you know those aftermarket lights that can go on trucks, with four squircles to make it look similar to a Corvette?  Yeah, those!  Anyways, they were um …well ugly compared to the traditional taillights or even some other aftermarket options.  The rest of the car, I lust after.  A very nice R Design Volvo C30 was in attendance with the license plate BORK.  That is just classic.  I really loved the Audi GT Coupe with great blue paint.  A very nice black 300ZX Twin Turbo was there – and while it may be fast its not Uncs Z (that story is coming someday).

A 1964 Volkswagen 1800 convertible was being shown and it was just classic.  A true Michelle Naranjo vehicle if I have ever seen one – she probably dreams of it now that I sent her a picture of it.  Another cool car I had yet to see in the flesh was a Shelby GT500 Super Snake.  Blue with a black and white interior the car was just gorgeous.  Other cool appearances included the VW Bus that been at all three Cars & Café’s so far this year.  I spoke with the owner and he mentioned a new paint job would be coming towards the of the summer.  Sad, because I actually dig the current look.

Overall, the turnout was great.  Even though it rained the lot was packed.  Good times, donuts, coffee and great people – all with a common passion.  Maybe next month we will get sunshine instead of clouds and rain.  Until next month,  heres to good motoring and safe driving.