Zach Zupancic

Zach Zupancic

Senior Designer, SolidWorks addict, AutoCAD zealot, Cyclist, Shade Tree Mechanic, & moderately tall. 


There are moments when you work on a car, and you don't feel that it is going anywhere, or that it doesn't do much. To swap an engine or transmission into a car, gut it, replace some suspension parts, and even replace all of the bushings; this didn’t really make me too excited.

Then I got something that doesn't run, has no brakes, the clutch is dead, and in all seriousness looks like a POS.

1973 Datsun 240z

And it is like I am working on my first car, first Lego set, or first time playing with K’Nex; engine swaps mean something, the bloody knuckles aren’t from fighting with people but with a car. You start working on it day in and day out, your life stops and nothing matters but this project. For the first time since I was working for TelData, I was waking up every day at 6am without an alarm. I was waking up to sore muscles, a stiff back, and the faint smell of road grime and transmission fluid in my nostrils; and yet, I always a faint smile on my face. If I was in conversation with someone, there was a good chance that I was thinking about how I was going to get the car started… What was I missing, what was I doing wrong? You get angry at the thing, the hunk of metal that is causing you this pain. Then you look at it sitting there and realize what it is, a passion. It is something that you pour every moment possible into, every ounce of your soul. Just like love; it engulfs you without a second of hesitation. Just like love; everyone that you know gets involved, through the thick and the thin they are there.


Then after 8 days of working, thinking, obsessing, and agonizing about THE CAR it finally came to be. The questions posed to those who know more than I did were answered; the tests and theories were explored and proven. And on this cold night with a few shots of tequila in me and my pops with a drink in hand, we got it started.

There are very few times in my life that I have yelled out in glee and utter triumph; needless to say, this was one of those times.

I still have to figure out where the smoke is coming from: possibly water that was sitting and cooking off of the engine, or blown head gasket. There are no major worries on either account though, it will get sorted out. They are just minor things now that the heart of my passion works. After all there isn’t anything or anyone that can break this smile that I have on my face right now.

-till next time