Phil's 280ZX is set to muscle into top place - VIDEO

Red hot and ready: Phil Ryan won the recent Division Two Round 5 Sports Sedans in his heavily modified Nissan 280ZX that he purchased for $300. Photo: Mark Logan.
Red hot and ready: Phil Ryan won the recent Division Two Round 5 Sports Sedans in his heavily modified Nissan 280ZX that he purchased for $300. Photo: Mark Logan.

A Nissan 280ZX isn't usually the kind of car you think of when it comes to Sports Sedan racing, but Phil Ryan's Datto is nothing like the six cylinder original.

Kitted out with a six litre Chevrolet V8 that rattles neighbouring windows and frightens birds, even when idling, Ryan's 280ZX has proven just what a bit of engineering nous can do.

At the NSW Sports Sedans Division Two meet on August 11, Ryan rocketed home in first place with a massive 419 points, 156 points ahead of his nearest competitor.

That win put him at equal third place overall, which is a fantastic result considering his time racing other drivers.

"I only started racing against other drivers in February this year and before that I was racing against the clock in places like Bathurst," he said.

Ryan's return to racing comes many years after a crash during the Australian Hillclimb Championships at Mount Panorama in November of 2012.

In the true spirit of sport sedan racing Ryan's current car has been so heavily modified that it's origin is barely recognisable.

"A lot of people look at it knowing they've seen it before, but just can't quite place it," he laughs.

His opponents often drive carbon-fibre bodied cars with tube chassis and NASCAR motors with $35,000 trans-axle gearboxes, but Ryan takes a more humble and down to earth approach.

"I have this guy out at Barry, who wants to remain nameless, who is a pure genius when it comes to working on the car," he said.

"You can say to him that I want to strengthen this or add this and he'll come back with this brilliant piece of gear that fits perfectly.

"He's made the engine mounts, the gearbox mounts, made the diff, which was a work in itself and is so much stronger than what it was."

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After all the work, including mastering the use of fibreglass, and not inconsiderable expense, Ryan is hoping that history doesn't repeat itself any time soon.

With 24 other cars on the track, Ryan is laughing at fate.

"It will really hurt," he laughs, "I don't want it to happen because as this car is, if I was to crash it, I would need another car."

His next race meet will be on Father's Day at Eastern Creek, or the Sydney Motors Sports Park, but the points earned won't matter.

"It's a non-points round and it will just be a spectacular way to enjoy a bit of fun and noise," he said.