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Photo Tour: Z Car Garage, San Jose, CA

Old 03-26-2015, 10:52 AM
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MicVelo
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Default Photo Tour: Z Car Garage, San Jose, CA

Fellow Z Enthusiasts, something new from me here. Nothing about any of my cars in particular, just wanted to share some "fun at the shop" pics.

I've only been taking my car to Rob Fuller's Z Car Garage (San Jose, CA) since earlier this year. But I will say that all of my expectations of a great shop - quality work, good customer service and COMMUNICATION, good advice - have been met here.

But in addition to that, I just love getting my car worked on here so that I can be around all the great Nissan "stuff" (you'll see what I mean, below) and bench racing with the guys there. Here is a link to my latest service work done here just yesterday.

NOTE:
I am getting NOTHING out of "advertising" for Rob, I'm just a satisfied customer. And please, if you've had a bad experience with them (we all have our days in the shop, trust me on that), please don't post it here. This is just one guy's perspective on what I consider top notch work.


Location: 140 Archer Street, San Jose, CA 95112 Ph: (408) 452-0350

Have to start the tour in the "office"... or maybe better called "the showroom".

Paying proper homage to the man who gave us our cars, Yutaka Katayama, affectionately known around the world as "Mister K, Father of the Z Car". RIP, you are missed.


There was a recent dead end thread about Mister K's penchant for autographing car parts and I noted the glove box door signed by him on display at ZCG. When I went to photograph it yesterday, I noticed that in addition to Mister K's autograph, John Morton (legendary Datsun racer of Pete Brock's BRE fame) had also signed it!! Whoa......


Represent!! Three generations of Z cars outside the shop: Gen 1 S30, Gen 4 Z32, Gen 5 Z33. You think that's cool? Keep scrolling down for more Nissan madness!

This (below) is Rob's race car. He is NOT the original owner. Read on.

If you want to know just how old I am, well, I have personally photographed pix (somewhere) of this very car running at Laguna Seca and Sears Point - when it was a "state of the art" IMSA GTU car back in the '80s. Loved it then and love it even more now that Rob has preserved a piece of Datsun/Nissan competition history. (Maybe not as famous as the Bob Sharp, Frank Leary, or Don Devendorf's Electramotive cars running at the time but hey, it ran wheel-to-wheel with those big dogs!)






This car will be running at the Sonoma Raceway (nee Sears Point) Historics or at the Monterey Historics (at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway) later this year. This is notable in that the driver will be Joel Anderson, the first owner and competitor of the car after it was retired as a pace car at Ontario Motor Speedway in Southern California back in the early '70s.


I'm not sure if the team got parts from me back in the day or my Southern California Datsun Competition (now Nissan Motorsports International or NISMO) parts manager counterpart but either way, it's just cool to me to see this bit of history still in action.

Parts to drool over...





Exhaust driven (above) or belt driven (below)? Take your FI choice.


Here, have an overload of every generation of Z car... and some "not-so-Z-cars".






One of my S30s was this color and I so wanted to do the IMSA flares but ended up with just the standard street flares. Molded in, unlike the ZG bolt-ons so popular for that "JDM look" on the S30s.

And if you're a true Datsun/Nissan aficionado for old iron, no shortage of that here either.


Not positive what this one is but I suspect it was one of the early Bluebird (Datsun 1200 here in the US) sedans imported into the US. Note the vintage original California "black plate" license. Had to shoot this pic through a fence because it was buried about 4 ROWS of cars deep.


Look carefully at this Nissan Bluebird's grill.... note the SSS badge. That's the twin carb version of the more pedestrian DP411 SS production car. Swoon. (I didn't look that carefully at it nor ask Rob about it but I'm pretty sure this is accurate from my vantage point. Going to confirm with him at some point. IOW, "Hey Rob, you wanna sell me that car?"


The green Dime above and the mustard yellow S30 below are Rob's personal cars. The Dime was a magazine featured car and the S30 is a daily driver.



Going back inside, these last shots show why I call this "my kind of candy store". But looking at these shots and viewing all of the other goodies in the shop, I think it's more aptly called "my kind of TOY store"!






Anyhow, hope you enjoyed the tour. Again, I have to point out that I'm getting NOTHING out of this "seeming advertisement". Just thought it'd be fun to share our (mine and Rob's) affectation with, er, OK, fanaticism of Nissans with the Z community.

BTW, the shop's tagline is "Long Live The Z".

Word.

Cheers,

Mic

Last edited by MicVelo; 03-26-2015 at 07:37 PM. Reason: speling and gramur
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Old 03-26-2015, 04:15 PM
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Great post Mic,

I've been going to Rob's shop now for 5 years and I've always been pleased with the level of care, detail, and service that he and his staff provide.

To put it bluntly, I don't trust anyone else to touch my Z besides ZCG and myself.
There's always amazing work being done there, sadly the like of Rob and his techs are a dying breed these days. I really don't see very many quality performance shops around anymore that can handle the high level of work they do. It's one thing to be ASE certified and handle basic maintenance on a specific make of vehicle where you just follow manufacturer guidelines and procedures. But ZCG specializes in all Zs and Gs from the 60s and on. They do a lot of performance upgrades and in many cases there are no instructions or manufacturer guidelines to follow for these kinds of performance mods or dare I say "custom" work.

I think the pictures speak for themselves. You can't just drive up and expect to get your car serviced same day. You need to make an appointment. ZCG is "ALWAYS" busy! There aren't a ton of cars there because they work slow, it's just because so many customers all want the same thing...high quality, competent, and honest work.
-Icer
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Old 03-26-2015, 06:34 PM
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Another great post!
Great pics too!
I would have to be dragged out of there.
There are some beautiful S30's there.
I have one of those model z33's sitting in my living room, the Nissan dealer I bought my z from gave it to me when I bought my z.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:15 AM
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Great pics thanks for sharing always nice to see the dedication and hard work people do for are cars.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:27 AM
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Good stuff Mic, thx
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Old 03-27-2015, 06:16 PM
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Awesome stuff Mic! I really appreciate you taking the time to share this shop with us. You're the type of guy who keeps our forum interesting and a place I enjoy coming back to.

I wish I had somewhere to go like this. I usually drop my car off if it goes in for service, but I'd be too mesmerized to leave this place!

What I wouldn't do for a SR20VE swapped Dime.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:52 PM
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Man, that place looks sweet those s30s
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:56 PM
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Great thread, so I moved it to the appropriate section.

Thanks for taking the time to post those photos.
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SmoothZ View Post
Great thread, so I moved it to the appropriate section.

Thanks for taking the time to post those photos.
^^^ No, thanks for moving it to the right location.

And glad y'all appreciate it. Like I said, when I find something/someone who does right by me, I think props are in good taste.

Mic
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Old 03-28-2015, 10:19 AM
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Nice, thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-11-2015, 07:05 PM
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Re-visiting this thread because I had some "business" to attend to at Z-Car Garage today. Ahem.

But ya, every time I go, I get urges. (Not that kind you pervs.)

No, there's ALWAYS something interesting in the shop or on the lot. Today's "Entice MonkeyMic with...." assortment:


More BBKs in this place than at a race track! Almost all of the current cars on the lot that's not there for long term storage/work had BBKs of many flavors.

But this car....



Oh me oh my.

Ummm, wait a minute, that thar LCA set-up don't look like the original ones made from old soda cans...


...and then there was this car...





I love going to this place. No, wait, I hate going to this place... it gives me needs....

But wait, there's more....



Ummm, just what was this Volwo doing there, hmmmmm??

Cheers,

Mic

PS Seriously, as usual, Rob and Crew paid more attention to details working on my stuff than I do. THAT'S how to run a business!
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:20 PM
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Great to see these shots of the Z Car Garage. It's been awhile since I talked with Rob and I sure wish he was in my neighborhood!
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by dkmura View Post
Great to see these shots of the Z Car Garage. It's been awhile since I talked with Rob and I sure wish he was in my neighborhood!
Wasn't paying too much attention at the time but in thinking about it, seems I subconsciously saw a "Nissan Sport" sticker on the fridge. Might be wrong but will look at it again next week.

No pics of the fridge. Heh heh.

If it seems I plug Rob and ZCG a lot, well, yeah, I do. There are few biz establishments - in any category - that I marvel at the high consistency of their work. Attention to detail is key with me. They PAINTED my wheel weights to camo them and not detract from the wheel itself. And these are weights on the INSIDE barrel! Then, the tech used a little Gumout (or something) to remove the little alignment dots on the sidewalls. He even thought he forgot one and came out to the car after they were loaded.

When I was having another part installed and supplied my own bolts, Josh - the lead technician - said, "I don't recommend you use these bolts, not strong enough." ANY other shop would have just slapped my bolts on, no second thought or even a glance at the bolt markings.

That's DETAIL work.

Guaranteed lifetime customer.

Besides, it's the only place I don't mind waiting for my car or work to be done.

Last edited by MicVelo; 08-12-2015 at 06:38 AM.
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:03 AM
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Nice pics Mic!
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:11 AM
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Looks like an awesome shop! Too bad they're on the other side of the US, I'd love to stop by.
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by MicVelo;10636201

[IMG
https://cimg7.ibsrv.net/gimg/my350z.com-vbulletin/855x570/80-zcargarage081115_00004_01fce03b188ebab273d79c099a2890e5a196b bfe.jpg[/IMG]

Oh wow, a shop that actuallytake precious care of the cars. Ive never seen a shop place dowb towels to protect the cars from getting damage from the shop tool. These guys get an A+

Edit: oh wow, fail pic quote... haha
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by bith8791 View Post
Nice pics Mic!

Thank you, sir.


Originally Posted by turboed350z View Post
Oh wow, a shop that actuallytake precious care of the cars. Ive never seen a shop place dowb towels to protect the cars from getting damage from the shop tool. These guys get an A+

Edit: oh wow, fail pic quote... haha
Funny you mention that T'bo! As I stood there shooting pics, I watched Josh (who you see in the pic) un-do the half shafts from the diff; and when he went to set it to rest on the suspension, he took another shop rag and draped it over the suspension first.

My thought (besides awe at the detail) was "Hmmm, guess they have a high budget for their uniforms and rags cleaning service."

But yeah, as service manager of a shop a couple years ago, I tried to get my "techs" (some were, most weren't up to that title) to care for the customer cars as if they were their own. Apparently they all drove beaters.
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Old 08-12-2015, 11:05 AM
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Very cool! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-13-2015, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by MicVelo View Post
Wasn't paying too much attention at the time but in thinking about it, seems I subconsciously saw a "Nissan Sport" sticker on the fridge. Might be wrong but will look at it again next week.

No pics of the fridge. Heh heh.

If it seems I plug Rob and ZCG a lot, well, yeah, I do. There are few biz establishments - in any category - that I marvel at the high consistency of their work. Attention to detail is key with me. They PAINTED my wheel weights to camo them and not detract from the wheel itself. And these are weights on the INSIDE barrel! Then, the tech used a little Gumout (or something) to remove the little alignment dots on the sidewalls. He even thought he forgot one and came out to the car after they were loaded.

When I was having another part installed and supplied my own bolts, Josh - the lead technician - said, "I don't recommend you use these bolts, not strong enough." ANY other shop would have just slapped my bolts on, no second thought or even a glance at the bolt markings.

That's DETAIL work.

Guaranteed lifetime customer.

Besides, it's the only place I don't mind waiting for my car or work to be done.
Unfortunately, we had a series of articles planned with Rob and Z Car Garage that never made it beyond the discussion stage when Nissan Sport was forced to close operations. It would have been marvelous to have worked on those with Rob- tell him I said hello if you can.

As for the attention to detail, I think that's an important trait for a shop to have. The things you mention make an impression on those who know their own cars and have an inkling of how to do things RIGHT. And yes, that can be a sales tool, but I'm surprised more repair shops don't take advantage of it. The expertise and care put into a repair will pay off for the more knowledgeable consumer (who will also bring in more business to the shop). It's the kind of "corporate values" that can't be easily faked and are usually overlooked by the average consumer looking for the cheapest deal.
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Old 08-13-2015, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MicVelo View Post

Thank you, sir.




Funny you mention that T'bo! As I stood there shooting pics, I watched Josh (who you see in the pic) un-do the half shafts from the diff; and when he went to set it to rest on the suspension, he took another shop rag and draped it over the suspension first.

My thought (besides awe at the detail) was "Hmmm, guess they have a high budget for their uniforms and rags cleaning service."

But yeah, as service manager of a shop a couple years ago, I tried to get my "techs" (some were, most weren't up to that title) to care for the customer cars as if they were their own. Apparently they all drove beaters.
attentions to details is something you dont see much anymore, but we already knew that from my wheels

its rare to see shop like this. especially in small town such as mine. i mean a pack of microfiber is about 5 buck. 10 minutes of prep time and caution while removing parts isnt too much to ask, but when a shops goal is to move as many cars and fix as many problems as they can in a day, corner gets cut, and then damages happen.

i was extremely surprised toi see that there are actual shop that still valueb customers' belongings as their own. even in the few speedshop i have visited, the work were adequate and not exactly superb. the high end speed shop has knowledgeable techs, but no really any attention detailed ones. one shop i recalled, set the tools right on the hood of a near by car when a shop cart was maybe 5 yards away. i am blown away by how careless the tech can be.
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