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In February 2023 I was browsing 350Z cars for something to purchase because Hagerty (Insurance) listed this model in one of their yearly Market Watch articles as something that was holding their value and was expected to become popular for car enthusiasts.  I had been looking for a couple of weeks and seeing stuff from all over the nation that I might be interested in, like California, North Carolina, Florida, etc., on sites like CarGurus.com, Cars.com.  When I saw this 2006 350Z for sale in a local Phoenix Craigslist ad I was taken back, because it didn't look like other Z's I had been seeing and I thought it was a different car altogether, I wasn't sure what it was. After looking a little closer I realized the rear bumper was different, the car had been lowered slightly, and the wheels were different, but those changes were enough to make it appear like a different model to me. I fell in love with the Le Mans Sunset Metallic color, the matching burnt orange leather seats and wanted to take a much closer look at it.

The 350Z
The 350Z
It turns out that I am now the third owner of this beautiful car. The previous owner had it for many years and changed the wheels, put on the big brakes and upgraded suspension bits, added some slight engine modifications and the different rear bumper in addition to removing the rear rain wiper. He also had it ceramic coated and clear shields along the front bumper and side mirrors. This last addition really makes it a breeze to keep it looking gorgeous.

While not quite a daily driver, it enjoyed driving from city to city in the sprawling Valley of the Sun area as well as suburb-to-suburb in the Phoenix Metro area. It went on drives/cruises with a local "Z" club to out-of-the-way places in the state that are well traveled by sports cars and motorcycles alike, and hung out easily among the other nice cars in informal car shows, like Cars and Coffee. It also won a Best in Class trophy/award for all of the 350Z's at the 2024 Texas Z Fest in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Driver side seats
Passenger side seats
Engine Bay & Instrument Cluster
Engine bay
Refinished instrument cluster
This is a list of the things done to the car that were in need of repair after the initial purchase.
  • Went through car initially and replaced all fluids: engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, differential fluid, transmission fluid.
  • Fixed intake vacuum leak.
  • Filled A/C system with freon.
  • Replaced radiator to fix coolant leak. Replaced all radiator hoses. Replaced drive belts.
  • Repaired windshield chips.
  • Replaced both rear shocks and both front shocks (in struts) due to not rebounding anymore.
  • Refinished the wheels - both passenger side wheels had "curb rash".
  • Replaced all tires - they were over six years old when I purchased the car.
  • Replaced driver side seat belt and tensioner assembly. The belt had to be coaxed back into its housing before this.
  • Removed, cleaned up existing scratches and repainted center instrument cluster and compartment door.
  • Removed both rear axles and performed TSB to fix "clicking" noise when changing directions.
  • Removed all brake pads and cleaned and applied shim/lubrication to stop squeaking noise when coming to stops.
Maintenance - Brakes, Rear Axles, Coolant
StopTech Brakes
Rear axle lubrication
Coolant flush
I added small, subtle things like an in-dash Kenwood navigation stereo with Bluetooth capability, a backup camera and front and rear dash cams. Because the upgraded wheels were larger in diameter they cleared the big brake calipers just fine, but the spare tire was a different story. I replaced the factory spare wheel and tire with a custom alloy wheel that clears the big brake calipers and a tire that fits correctly in both front and rear wheel arches when installed.

Here is the "fun stuff" that was done to bring the car "up to date" for a nicer day-to-day driving experience.
  • Installed Kenwood navigation stereo with Bluetooth, backup camera, hands-free phone use.
  • Installed front and rear dash cameras along with "blinking" third brake light hardware.
  • Replaced spare tire and steel wheel with new alloy wheel and tire to clear big brake calipers and fill in wheel arches.
Tires/Mounting - New Spare Wheel w/Tire and Regular Tires
Mounting new spare tire on custom wheel
Fit of new spare tire
Mounting new wide tires
The car is a factory stock Nissan 2006 350Z Touring Edition except for the following:
  • StopTech brake pads (front and rear)
  • StopTech 14" Aero drilled rotors (front and rear)
  • Lowered 1-1/2" from factory ride height
  • KW V2 "coil overs" adjustable suspension (front and rear)
  • Adjustable control arms (front and rear)
  • Polyurethane bushings (front, rear and differential)
  • Ray's 370Z (Z34) forged wheels (19x9, 19x10)
  • Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires (245/35R19, 275/35R19)
  • Motordyne plenum spacer
  • CZP 75mm Hitachi throttle body w/K&N air filter
  • Japan Charge Speed rear bumper
  • Custom spare tire and wheel (to clear brake calipers)
  • Kenwood navigation stereo with Bluetooth capability
  • Backup camera, front and rear dash cameras
Car Clubs
Car clubs can be very helpful when maintaining an older car, how to fix something, where to find parts, finding model specific car shows, road trips, etc.
  • Desert Z Association
    Desert Z Association

    Some car clubs are available for general older cars, but this one focuses on just Z's, 240Z, 260Z, 280Z, 300ZX, 350Z, 370Z, the current Z, any model, any year of Z cars.

Places To Buy Stuff From
Here are a few of the places I have used when buying 350Z parts and fixing up my 350Z in some way.  Some are local, some are not, but they have all helped me get the parts, supplies and labor that I needed.
  • Z1 Motorsports
    Z1 Motorsports Home
    These guys sell many parts for the 350Z, including many OEM parts, like gaskets, covers, clamps, as well as performance oriented parts like suspensions, brake kits, etc.
  • Dent Wizard - Phoenix, AZ
    Phoenix Dent Wizard
    • 2416 S 19th St.
      Phoenix, AZ 85034
    I inherited the car with damaged wheels on the passenger side so I needed a place to repair the wheels. These guys did a great job with the repairs and was able to match the silver handles on my car when they refinished them.
  • Online Nissan Parts Superstore
    Nissan Online Parts Home
    There is always a local Nissan dealer to go to when you need OEM parts but you will pay full retail price for what you get. When you order online you can save up to 20% on the same parts in some cases. The drawback is that you usually have to wait for the parts to be delivered. If that is not an issue it usually pays to order online even when including shipping costs.