ZPS wasn’t originally intended to be a brand or even a product. In fact, like many good businesses, ZPS was born in a garage, trying to solve a problem.
I’m a weekend hobbyist, probably just like you. I have several classic Datsuns, and restoration is my passion. I’ve learned the value of doing something right rather than redoing it, and as an owner of a large online automotive forum, I know the value of reaching out to experts rather than ‘winging it.’
In 2011, I had a conversation with a fellow enthusiast in Canada who was selling his Z that he bought new in 1971. He explained that due to a medical condition, he simply doesn’t have the upper body strength anymore to navigate tight spaces and parking-lot maneuvers. He’d considered the available options, and decided he’d simply stick to driving his 3-Series, and asked me to help him find a good home for his Z.
In 2012, after building an RB25-powered ’72 Z for my wife, she made an observation: The clutch, brakes, and throttle behave like a modern car – but the steering remained stuck in the 70’s. It seemed that the car should be much more cohesive, balanced, and consistent, and I wanted her to enjoy driving it as much as I enjoyed building it.
With these two cars in mind, I reached out to a few companies that were doing power steering conversions for hot rods and classics – but an interesting thing happened: Some didn’t want anything to do with “Japanese junk,” some suggested that there’s no need for such a thing, some wanted thousands of dollars to even attempt it, and some even claimed it couldn’t be done.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. A fateful meeting with an electric power steering conversion expert from Europe led to the development of a prototype over the next few months. Testing, adjustment, and fine-tuning took another couple months, and in early 2013, a fully-functional bolt-in power steering kit was developed.
Less than a month later, after showing the demo car at a couple events in the southwest, people began to inquire about ordering a kit – including my friend from 2011, who decided he simply couldn’t let go of his beloved Z. He and my wife became the very first ZPS customers.
We’re very proud of what we’ve developed, and it’s important to us that our machining, welding, electrical work, packaging and shipping ALL happen right here in the US. We’ve had great success providing ZPS to domestic customers, as well as to Z enthusiasts in Europe, Australia, Central America, Canada and even Africa.
Today, ZPS hasn’t changed much. We’re still a two-person operation. We’re still operating on a tight budget, in order to keep pricing reasonable, and since we’re very active in the classic Datsun scene, our customers are our friends and acquaintances.
We’re glad you decided to check out the page, and if you’re not in need of what we do, that’s great – I hope you’ll keep us in mind in the future.
Thanks for your support, and keep those Datsuns on the road!
Greg and Becky Childs