NBA Player Owned: 1972 Datsun 240Z Barn Find

This 1972 Datsun 240Z is a numbers matching example that supposedly belonged to an NBA player’s mother before ending up a barn find wearing old-school Virginia license plates. The 240Z was found hiding out with the rare MKIV Toyota Supra seen in the background, along with a Suzuki GSX-R motorcycle. That NBA player had good tastes, but I wonder if these cars were for his mom, or he was just stashing them on her property! The 240Z seen here is a project, as it’s been off the road for several years. It does have rust and was found with the spark plugs removed; additionally, the seller notes no clutch or brake pressure. Find it here on eBay with no reserve and bidding currently at $5,350.

The 240Z is not an early Series 1 car, falling below that production timeline by a few months. You can also see the clues in the lack of air vents underneath the back glass on the rear hatch. The front air dam and turbine-style wheels were popular aftermarket upgrades at the time, and wouldn’t be a total turn-off for me – but a purist may want to keep it clean and return to the original form. The bodywork looks good from this angle, but the seller does reveal that there is rust in the wheel well on the passenger side and “….may need other work,” without alluding as to whether that means body work or just deferred maintenance tasks; likely, a little bit of both.

The interior remains in decent shape, with the preferred combo of red over a black vinyl interior. The seats aren’t torn up and seem to indicate this Datsun was stored indoors, as they would surely be sun-ravaged by now if left outside. The steering wheel wrap is unsightly and should be remedied, but the bigger win here is the manual gearbox. A surprising amount of these early Z cars came with automatic transmissions, so it’s always a bonus to find one with three pedals (don’t get me wrong, most are manuals – but it’s not entirely uncommon to find one that’s a slushbox.) Given the history of the basketball player buying it for his mom, it’s even more surprising it has three pedals! I wonder if the Supra and the motorcycle were hers, too.

The engine bay looks to be largely intact, down to the factory air cleaner assembly still being attached. The missing cap on the radiator and the removed spark plugs make you wonder whether this Datsun was prepped for long-term storage or more that it was being messed with to solve a mechanical issue that remained a mystery at the last point a wrench was turned. The seller reports the Z car has not been on the road since 1996, which is actually better than I was expecting given it wasn’t in the hands of a collector during that time. With just over 43,000 miles and a numbers matching drivetrain, it seems like a worthwhile project at the current bid price, and it will likely sell for a few thousand more by the time the auction ends.

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Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    It’s located in Crozier,Virginia,just NW of Richmond.
    Funny that they don’t tell who the NBA player is.
    I would assume that this car needs everything done to it.

    Like 6
    • DAVID BOYER

      Probably not owned by the player or his family and to mention his name would require permission or payment of licensing fees. Common issue with celebrity prior owned vehicles.

      • AnthonyD

        What? The seller himself is claiming it was owned by an ex NBA player’s mother…yet you’re saying it probably wasn’t? You’re saying the seller can’t disclose his name? Personally I don’t care at all that it may have been owned by an NBA player or his mother…but I don’t agree that the seller can’t disclose his name if he wanted to.

        Like 1
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Compared to the last Z we worked on this car would be easy to rebuild… and I also would assume it needs everything. If it doesn’t take tons of time and money what you get is something that’s a ball to drive.

    Like 8
  3. Rodney - GSM

    Gee, owned by an unnamed NBA players mother? That makes it a used car, right?

    Like 32
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Well, it’s still a 240Z.

      Like 6
      • Chinga-Trailer

        Yeah, well I once bought an old Dodge Dart and the original owner lived next door to a guy whose cousin’s ex mother-in-law was briefly married to an NFL player . . .

        Like 24
  4. Eric B

    May need other work. Did anyone actually look at all the photos, including the undercarriage? YEAAAAH. I’m in western NY and this looks almost as bad as what you’d find here. This needs major metal work and basically a total resto. When I saw the first few pics I thought it might be a solid survivor. Unfortunately far from it.

    Like 6
    • Dave

      There wouldn’t be anything left but a brown stain on the ground if this car was from the Rust Belt.

      Like 4
  5. Ward William

    Looks promising but if it did not actually belong to an NBA player and was bought for his mother, why do we even need to know the NBA connection? It certainly does not add any value at all in terms of provenance IMHO.

    Like 11
  6. Supra infatuation

    I just clicked to look @ the supra

    Like 3
    • Bill Potts

      I owned a 1983 Supra,loved it,but after 175,00 miles,it needed electronics and a cracked head. It had60,000 on it when I bought it. I couldn’t justify fixing it with a family,wish I still had it

      Like 2
  7. WH

    I’ve always loved these cars. I used to buy a lot of car magazines when I was a kid and I remember an article about a Datsun Z in one of them. I think the magazine was all new cars coming out that fall (early 1970’s). The Z was yellow with a black interior. If I had the means I would love to own one. A friend of mine had a 280Z in the early 80’s.

    Like 1
  8. AnthonyD

    Wow! Once owned by an un named NBA player? How exciting! Maybe Rick from Pawn Stars will want to check it out.

    Like 7
    • Steve Clinton

      Off the subject…I stopped watching Pawn Stars as it was obvious that, even though it appeared Rick knew everything about anything, he was always fed the information about an item. He didn’t look like a fountain of information, he looked like a phony.

      Like 10
      • AnthonyD

        Agree. Everything was set up for him before the customer came to the counter…. But at least the customers and their “stuff” was genuine. He didn’t seem to know much about cars though..that’s why I suggested he check out this “unknown” NBA player’s” “car”…He’d probably fall for the hype.

        Like 5
      • JamesW

        I know for a fact that many of the “sellers” are actors, and the “items” are planted

  9. smokeymotors

    Don’t get rid of wheels, turbine wheels look great when there restored, period correct and expensive these days.

    Like 3
  10. Steve Clinton

    “No Key!” Keys not included.

  11. jwaltb

    “Best ex-NFL owned left?”

    Like 2
  12. jwaltb

    “Best ex- NBA owned left?”

    Like 1
  13. jwaltb

    Oh wait, it’s even better! Supposed NBA player’s mother.

    Like 3
  14. Steve Clinton

    This would be like advertising a gun that was owned by a famous criminal, but we’re not gonna tell you who the owner was.

    Like 3
    • Rodney - GSM

      …don’t you mean the “supposedly” criminals mother? Just the icing on this rusted cake …

      Like 3
  15. John

    The connection to an NBA player may mean the interior seating and pedal placement is such that there is extra leg room, headroom, or knee room to provide a long left leg with the space to operate the clutch.
    As a man of altitude, I can’t close the driver’s door on a Corvette while seated. Does this look like a standard interior?

    Like 1
    • Shorty

      John, you can’t be serious

      Like 1
  16. Hound59

    Maybe his Mom played in the NBA!

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