Rick's RCR GT40

Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
I sold my GTD GT40 in 2005 because I wanted to retire in Mexico. That retirement was short lived since my wife was not happy living in Mexico. I returned to Houston where I am the director of maintenance for UTLX Manufacturing.

Of all the cars that I have had I regret selling my GT40 so after reviewing the available GT40's I decided to purchase a RCR GT40. I am happy with my decision and looking forward to my build.

I took 2 weeks off of work to visit family in South Carolina, Michigan and Virginia and to pick up my GT40 from RCR. I was impressed with the quality of workmanship evident in my kit as well as the other projects in various stages of completion in the shop. The shop is just as much of an adult toy showroom as the showroom in front of the shop. I think that in a couple of years I may get the itch to build a GT40R, I was really impressed with it as well.

My GT40 will be built to show well, go fast and be a daily driver (at least once a week). I am not overly concerned with it looking exactly like an original since it is a replica but I will be adding things like brake ducting and other items found on original cars just because I like the functionality of these items.

Build plans are:

Two tone paint, medium to dark blue body with tangerine orange gulf stripe (wheels, engine and transaxle will be painted to match the stripe.

Engine: Levy Racing stage 5 engine with dart block and heads, forged internals 399 cuin internally balanced, 7500 rev, fully race machined, solid roller cam, shaft rockers, custom cam grind, HP pin oiling lifters, aluminum flywheel and clutch and Borla EFI with 58mm throttle-bodies.

Transaxle: RBT continuation of the ZF gearbox with the following ratios, 1st 2.43, 2nd 1.61, 3rd 1.14, 4th 0.826, 5th 0.642 final 3.56.

Wheels and Tires: 17" BRM wheels 8" front with 245/40ZR-17 Hoosier A7's and 12.5" wide rear with 335/35ZR-17 Hoosier A7's.

Link to my LS3 powered 280Z with modified ISMA wide body build article.
Rick's Masterpiece - LS3 Swapped 1977 Datsun 280Z - The Modified Lifestyle | Revvolution

Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
Pete, Thanks, Hopefully I will be able to add to the great wealth of information on this site. Many of the builds are outstanding, the bar has been raised since I built my GTD in '95.

Gus, Thanks, The Z was a departure for me since I usually restore cars to their original condition but the Z was asking to be modified.

Brett, It is good to be back! Like I said before the GT40 is (to me) the one car worth owning and I will not let this one go. I may build her bigger sister as well.

Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
Oct 14, Arrived home in a U-Haul with the GT40 safe and secure. On Oct 12 I totaled my wife's 4 week old Tahoe when a Highway repair truck was stopped in the fast lane (until I was about to go by in the slow lane) then backed into my lane ripping the Tahoe open like a tin can! I was lucky to walk away with a dislocated finger and a badly bruised left knee. No highway work was going on... The driver was going to back up to turn around on a 55mph dived highway and go the opposite direction since he passed his work site by 6 miles. Thank God I was not pulling the trailer (since I was going to purchase a lot on beautiful Lake Keowee in South Carolina) Or the collision would have been much worse. I bought the lot the next day and then drove back to Houston.at it.

Un-packed the GT40, put her in the garage and stripped her down. I then took a couple of weeks off to heal. During my healing time I was planning and ordering supplies so that when I feel better I can get on with my build.


Welcome back to the U S. Looks like you have a good piece of metal to work on. Will be interested in the extras you ad this time around.
When you come to visit your S.C. property you will have to stop by in Atlanta for at least a beer!! Is the property one of those they have been advertising lately??
Having survived a surprise wreck at close to the level of yours, I can say you were very lucky......this time.
Here is how mine turned out.
http://s282.photobucket.com/user/Billmusarra/slideshow/GT 40

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Welcome back. Glad to hear you are ok after that incident.

You will like the Levy stage 5. :)

I'll be in Houston tomorrow, I'd love to come by and check it out if you're up for it.


Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
John, Come on by, I always have time to talk cars. PM sent. My engine dynoed North of 620 hp at 7,500 rpm... It will be nice to actually have more power than I need. Power band will be from 4,500 to 7,500 rpm.

D. Nye

Lifetime Supporter
Rick, Glad to see another GT40 being built in the Houston area. If you want to see something a little different Rick, you can always check out my garage in the Cypress area.

Best of luck with your new baby.


Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
Don, I will take you up on your offer, I read your entire build log and I am impressed with your attention to detail. You have a PM.

Lee, There will be many more, I am just getting started.

After resting for a couple of weeks I sanded the entire monocoque and prepped it with a acid wash. It is so light that I could handle it by myself (I put a furniture dolly under the front end and pulled it out of the garage and flipped it over a couple of times while prepping the metal). After letting it dry for a day I painted it with POR15 since I like the plastic like coating it creates on the metal. You must rough up the metal surface so that the POR15 will adhere well. I painted the areas where sand and rocks may hit with 6 coats so that the small rocks will just bounce off instead of chipping the paint. This worked well for me when I restored a '68 XKE roadster, I drove it for 12 years and the underside looked like it was just painted.

I cut a hole in the left sponsoon to house my fuel system since when completed I do not want to see a lot of fuel plumbing.


Randy V

Lifetime Supporter
Rick the paint job looks nice and even. Are you using a roller or ??
I had prepaid a powder coater to do mine and he has skipped town and sold the business - so it will be paint for mine.
I've used POR15 before but am looking for a nice even finish.

Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
Lee, Thanks

Randy, I used a 6" smooth foam roller about 1.5" in diameter. It worked very well. If using POR15 the first coat should be a light coat. Let it dry for about 4 hours then apply a heavier coat (second coat must be applied within 6 hours or you will have to sand it again). I applied 2 coats on most surfaces and about 6 coats where road rash may occur. in all I used 1 gallon at a cost of $118. The finish turned out very good but if you want it to be better apply 2 coats then sand it a couple of days later with 220 to 320 and apply a final coat. This would only be needed for the visible areas. I did not do this as the finish turned out pretty good. If using POR 15 DO NOT leave the can open any longer than necessary since it will try to pull moisture from the air which will affect how it looks when you use it the next time.
Okay - so if you were going to coat your frame, which would it be??

Powder coat
POR 15

I'm still making holes in my frame, but will probably stip it down and do one or the either.


Rick Merz

Lifetime Supporter
Trularin, Either one done correctly will work fine. I ruled out powder coating because of the added cost. Many on this form are having good results with spray on bed liner as well. The main issue with spray on bed liner is that the texture is fairly rough. This can be minimized by omitting the rubber particles that are supplied with the kit. I hope this was helpful.