Sitting Since 1990: 1973 Datsun 240Z

Could you imagine walking out past your project car every day for the last 17 years, just watching it collect dust? That’s the story being told in a listing for a 1973 Datsun 240Z. I suppose if you own several project cars, it’s possible to have a few fall off your radar screen, but I’d at least dust it once in a while! Check out this project-grade Datsun Z-car here on craigslist, located near Buffalo, New York with an ask of $5,000. 

The interior of this 240Z does seem to belong in a car that was cared for at one time. It’s clean, the wood-rim wheel looks sharp and the original shift knob and leather boot are in good shape. Also, the dash remains uncracked and from what we can see of the light interior colors, it isn’t super dirty like the outside. The seller claims he came upon this car and bought it from the previous owner who allowed it to sit, but he hasn’t had time to start the project.

No word on if the engine is original, but the venerable L24 inline-six always looks right at home in that engine bay. Paired to a four-speed transmission, the 240Z remains one of the most recognized sports cars on the planet, and values seem to be creeping upwards. However, there’s plenty of project grade cars to choose from, and this one is far from rust-free. To the seller’s credit, he does photograph the rocker rust and surface rust on the doors – but doesn’t mention it in the ad.

It’s hard to tell if that paint is original, as it changes shade a few times in the photographs. Regardless, the attempted bodywork on the doors and a few other spots will necessitate a fair amount of cosmetic refurbishment, so I’d assume a repaint is in the plans if you want it to be fully sorted. Although the ad reads more like a flipper than a time-strapped enthusiast, this 240Z looks worthy of saving if that rust hasn’t gone further than pictured. What would you offer for it?

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  1. Mr. Bond


  2. AirBoss

    “This posting has been deleted by its author.”

  3. Rabbit

    Anyone notice what town it was in? Curious if I may see it pop up in the neighborhood.

    • smackin

      Said Buffalo Craigslist.

    • SSPBill

      Hamburg, NY. My home town. I saw the post this past Saturday and thought seriously about looking at it. I watched a documentary on the Japanese classic car culture in Japan Saturday morning and had no choice but to jump right on Craigslist. I bet it will show up again soon. Z’s are just getting off the ground floor.

  4. Doug

    27 years

  5. DG

    Not surprised it sold quickly at that price. Unless its a complete rust bucket, that’s a steal.

  6. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Because of the runup in Japanese car values a lot of these are coming out of the woodwork. These had no rust protection from the factory other than paint, and aftermarket rust protection was in the dark ages back in the ’70s, so these can rust very badly. By the looks of this car and its location—Buffalo, NY, right in the middle of a big snowbelt—I would say this one is probably pretty rusty down low.

    Fortunately there is a guy in Canada who makes repro floor pans and chassis stiffeners to replace the underside parts that are the most subject to rust. I have used his parts and they are good, but there is a lot of cutting and welding involved.

    This car is a ’73, which is the least desirable of the 240 cars. One reason is the flat-top carbs, which didn’t work as well as the earlier round-top Hitachi carbs. Many ’73s have had their flat tops replaced by earlier round tops, but not this car. The earlier carbs are readily available used because so many early 240s have been junked because of rust. Lots of the carb sets end up on Ebay.

    Another reason is that the earlier cars in a series are just wanted more by collectors than the later cars in a series.

    I would not bother with this Z car. These ’73s are worth a lot less than the ’71 and especially ’70 M.Y. cars, making it much more worthwhile to spend money and effort on an earlier car rather than a ’73. And earlier cars needing attention are out there and available, sometimes for no more than the price of this ’73.

  7. Rex Rice

    I spent the summer of ’73 selling Datsuns. The ’73 Z’s were tied up in LA ports as they couldn’t pass the emissions test. We had a ’70 that we used for a demo, taking deposits and forming a list. This one appears to have the original color as these came with the terrible white interior. When their car finally came, they were disappointed that it wouldn’t perform like the demo. We sold these cars fully equipped minus undercoating for $4306. Years later, I bought a ’72 from the original owner. Great car.

  8. lawrence

    I know of some guys hording these…..along with some crunched ones…..wasn’t the factory rebuilding these a couple of years back – and selling with a warranty ?

    • Dolphin Dolphin Staff

      Yes, around 1997 Nissan arranged to have a shop in Hawthorne, CA restore ’70 and ’71 Z cars for sale through selected Nissan dealers. This was a US-only deal, and the factory in Japan wasn’t involved in the restorations.

      They restored about 40 cars, and I believe they were sold with a warranty. They sold them for about $25K.

      Problem was, the market for the old Z cars wasn’t that good back then, so not that many cars made it through the resto program. A good thing was the reproduction of some parts that had been discontinued, to help the restos along.

      Too bad that wasn’t happening now. With the big increase on the earliest Z cars they could probably sell more cars now.


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