Bargain Buy: 1972 Datsun 240Z

There have probably been enough words of praise written about the Datsun 240Z to fill a reasonable-sized book. Having driven a few of them, I can certainly vouch for the fact that this praise is well placed. Finding a nice example at a reasonable price is becoming increasingly difficult, but this particular car may well fill the bill. It has been sitting since the early 2000s but is now looking for a new home. Located in Blaine, Washington, it is listed for sale here on eBay.

This may not be the most sparkling example of a 240Z that I’ve ever seen, but it does appear to be very clean. The little rust that is present appears to be confined to a spot under the car on the driver’s side. Unfortunately, we don’t get any photos to show us this, so we can only take it as written. There have been some previous rust repairs completed, but I believe that these were done 20-years-ago. I guess that if they haven’t returned by now, then that’s a pretty healthy sign. There are a few minor marks in the paint around the car, but there’s nothing there that would require urgent attention.

Under the hood is the 2.4-liter straight-six OHC engine that has proven to be so bullet-proof over the years. This engine starts and runs, but the owner suggests that it should have a full service and a change of fluids following its long hibernation. The standard twin carburetors also appear to have been given the flick, and while it is a bit hard to tell, it looks like the car now sports twin Weber carburetors. Now we get to the bit that makes my heart sink a bit. The transmission in the 240Z is a 3-speed automatic. As I’m getting older I’m becoming increasingly fond of automatics, but not in a 240Z. Thankfully, salvation is at hand. Included in the sale is a 4-speed manual transmission, so the option is there to undertake a conversion.

The interior looks really nice, but it is a bit confusing. There is a substantial color mismatch between the door trims, the seats, and the vinyl below the floor console. Normally the colors on these would be a fairly close match, but there is a noticeable difference in this car. I believe that the vinyl below the console is original, as it matches other areas of the car. The seats may also match but look odd because of the light, but the door trims definitely don’t. This suggests that there has been some interior refurbishment work completed at some point. I actually don’t mind the contrasts, but for a person searching for absolute originality, they would not find it acceptable. The car is also fitted with an aftermarket radio/cassette player, but this would be pretty easy to replace.

I’ve probably been a bit harsh on this 240Z, and I’ve really picked a lot of minor faults. In reality, this is a nice car that doesn’t appear to need much work before the next owner enjoys it. There’s a reason why I’m now apologizing for being harsh on this car, and that’s the price. Good examples will consistently sell for prices in excess of $30,000. The asking price for this one? $10,500. There are already 61 people watching this car on eBay, so if you want it, I think that you’ll need to be quick.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Obviously, Adams idea of a good deal differs greatly from mine. I suppose the simplicity of the 240 and 260 probably make these a better choice than the spaghetti bowl of wires and hoses on the 280. I’d have to actually drive one to see if it is indeed a $10 thousand dollar( or more) car. Since the 280’s seem to be in that $5g group, I can only imagine they give the current( and next) owners a pile of headaches. I don’t think these are as popular as the sellers would like to think. I’ve been watching Z cars for sale for months, and nothing seems to be selling. For example, this 280 has been on CL for months, and I watched the price steadily drop, I bet $3 would take it. For some reason, nobody wants it.
    https://cosprings.craigslist.org/cto/d/cascade-nissan-280-zx/6797692182.html

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    • grant

      Well it’s a later ZX with some mods that are in pretty questionable taste, with 195k that the seller admits may or not drive across the country. Personally I wouldn’t give $2 for it the way it sits. These early cars were so much cleaner looking. Maybe not 10k but 8 easy, all day long.

      4
      • Howard A Member

        That’s true, thanks for pointing that out. I guess the trick is to find them before they hit “The List”.

    • steve kane

      Howard A you should broaden your research on S30 Z car values. Nice examples (this one isn’t) are going from $15,000-$20,000. A mint, low millage ’71 240 sold at auction on Chasing Classic Cars for $65,000.

      1
  2. angliagt

    I agree – how can you call it a “Bargain Buy”,
    when you don’t know what the selling price will be?
    Here’s one that I looked at here in Roanoke,VA,
    that I could have bought for $5000.
    It’s still for sale.

    5
  3. Dave

    Yep. Not so fun without a 4-speed…think Fair Lady…and although the HItachis are MIA, Weber or not, it’s still tricky to tune either correctly. What I’d be most concerned about with is front sub-frame rust issues, as once the tin worm sets in…trust me, I’ve been there.

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  4. Dave

    And angliagt, what’s all over that fuel door?

  5. angliagt

    I think that was overflow gas.Car needed a good scrubbing down.

  6. Rex Rice

    A Z sold for $4306 when I spent the summer of 1973 as a Datsun salesperson. The best was a 1970 trade in. It would out perform the new ones that were loaded with anti-pollution controls to pass emission requirements so we used it as a demo. Great car! I eventually bought a ’72 & drove it until I needed a bigger car.

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  7. tberd62

    Angliagt, Can you please post the sales info? My boss had one in this color when I got my first job.

  8. stillrunners

    Like….

  9. Steve

    The JDM restoration show on Velocity/MotorWeek channel took a partially finished white 240Z (owner got in over his head) and completed the resto with some tasteful and understated mods. It was one of their best episodes for outcomes. The car was beautiful and appear to drive fantastic. Owner thrilled. Thing looked like an $50-$60k car when they were done. That one was of course a manual. For all these examples here and elsewhere. If you are going to go to all the trouble of restoring a car, not sure why’d you do the auto.

  10. scotto

    this is my old car. i sold it this past spring locally in missouri. got in in 1998, was garaged since 1999. used to drive it a lot. it did sit for a long time. the paint project stalled and then it sat there. eventually i got it finished up but never really put it back into regular use.

    paint was done probably 10 years ago. paint is nice with a few blemishes as the ad says. maybe two small chips. it could probably use a light color sand and two stage buff with compound. never did that when i got done with the paint.

    original engine had head rebuilt with a slightly larger cam. upgraded to larger radiator so it stays cool. msd ignition. that is dual weber carbs. also has 6-2 header. has larger front roll bar and added rear roll bar.

    the car is very solid and rust free. the interior has some door panels i got from a junkyard car shortly after i bought this. they dont match . they may even be from a 260. dont remember. it was just better than what it had before. the seats are recovered with very nice reproduction upholstery. vinyl on the trans hump is original. the dash has a cap on it. the original was cracked. the cap is hard to notice . it is made to fit very well. looks like the next owner added a padded arm rest on the center console. that wasnt there when i had it. has new reproduction carpet in the original style. new weatherstripping.

    nice to see it. i recognized it instantly. not perfect, not all original, but it is a nice car.

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