Manassas shop makes its name tuning up Z-cars

One car and engine builder who gets requests from around the country and even overseas is right in your backyard.

Eiji Hosomi is the owner of Datsun Spirit in Manassas, Virginia, which focuses on classic Datsun Z cars.

“They look pretty amazing,” Hosomi said of the sports cars known for their long hoods and six-cylinder engines. “And if you drive one, you’ll know. It’s like a drug, you’ll get addicted to it.”

“To me, I think when you see one of these in person it speaks for itself … it’s just instant love,” added shop manager Carlos Aguilera. And he praises the early cars’ simplicity: “Even the hardest thing to do on these cars is nothing compared to modern cars.”

Hosomi, whose shop houses multiple Z cars at any given time, is known for hopping up the engines, taking ones that originally produced about 120 rear-wheel horsepower and giving them something closer to 400 horsepower at the rear wheels.

Hosomi said while his customer base skews older, he hopes to see that change.

“We’re trying to get the young people to get into it. It’s very important for classic cars. If only the older and able and willing people can get into it, then the hobby dies,” he said.

Caley Freitas, 19, is one of those younger enthusiasts. Her first car was a 1988 300ZX. “I just saw the 300 at a gas station down the street and I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not my mom’s Ford Focus.’”

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