The Rotsun’s Long Lost Cousin: ‘In the Shop With Emily’ Start Rebuilding a Datsun

Friends of Roadkill Flying Sparks Garage have embarked on an ambitious new In the Shop With Emily project for 2017: Putting Aaron Reeves’ first car, a very special ‘78 Datsun 280Z, back on the road for next year’s HOT ROD Power Tour™. In the most recent episode of the YouTube show, Emily Williams and Aaron pulled the Datsun from storage and found, well, a bit of rust. How much? “The car definitely looks Roadkill now,”  Emily  said.


If you’re unfamiliar with the show, actor and model Emily Williams started In the Shop With Emily in 2015 when she began rebuilding the engine on her Pontiac GTO named Roxy. She’s teamed with her partner, Aaron Reeves, who she’s been with since they were teenagers. They’ve built a couple of cars, including a ‘66 Chevy Impala for Power Tour. Now, Emily and Aaron will be getting the 280Z—in which the couple had their first kiss many years ago—working again.

“It’s a really special car so it’s pretty exciting to be getting it back in the shop,” Emily said. “It’s not gonna be perfect. We’re not trying to make a show car, we’re just trying to get her back on the road.”


The Z was parked while the two were still in their teens and while they did some maintenance—like painting it black a few years ago—there’s a long way to go. In addition to wiring issues and some suspension parts that need replacing, the Datsun has suffered from years of sitting with rusted-out floorboards and a rotted frame rail. Despite sitting in relatively arid Texas, it “looks like it’s had winters of salt,” Emily said.

While Emily told us her plans to repower the Datsun, we’ll let her reveal that on her own terms. The Datsun’s plans also include a tasteful body kit that will include some more paintwork. There are no plans to make it a pristine Datsun because the couple love driving their projects too much to worry about rocks chipping paint or a scuff ruining value or anything like that.



“The thing that’s most important is [Aaron] and I together working on something that’s important to us,” Emily said. “We’re just having fun out there building stuff we love.”

Watch Emily and Aaron introduce their “first-kiss” ‘78 Datsun 280Z in this episode of In the Shop With Emily.

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Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover