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Early VIN: 1970 Datsun 240Z

The Datsun 240Z was a game-changer when it debuted in 1969. It didn’t try to be a Jaguar XKE, but its shape was certainly similar. It didn’t go as fast, but its performance was certainly worthwhile. It cost about $3525 new. The Jaguar’s base price was $5530. Sales were more than gratifying; over its production run through 1973; more than 168,000 240Zs went home with eager buyers. After spending many years in depreciation purgatory  – you could barely give these away in the 1990s – collectors have bid up prices almost beyond belief. Early cars like this 1970 240Z here on eBay are particularly desirable and can be distinguished from later versions by the vertical defrost lines and dual vents on the hatchback just below the glass. The bidding has reached $16,356, reserve not met, and the car is located in Sacramento, California.

Twin carburetors and a compression ratio of 9.0:1 help the big single overhead-cam six-cylinder engine generate 150 hp. The gearbox is a four-speed manual. Valves, pumps, and diaphragms manage the emissions problem; much of this equipment “goes missing” when owners want to find a couple more hp. Front disc brakes and fully independent suspension attest to the 240Z’s premium technology. This car has clocked over 187,000 miles but has been well cared for by its three owners. The seller highlights a recent brake job, new water pump, new clutch and slave cylinders, flushed radiator, new belts and hoses, and new tires but mentions that the car’s been sitting so a full tune-up is advisable. The aftermarket wheels look sharp, but I prefer the original hubcaps and Topy wheels.

The interior is a solid “B”, falling short of top-notch thanks to a cracked dash. A new plastic full dash cover goes with the sale. When the car was new, the bucket seats received energetic praise. These appear pristine. The quilted material on the tunnel and in the cargo area has been replaced with carpet. The headliner is oddly lumpy but is otherwise clean and untorn. The air conditioning unit needs servicing and the heater has been bypassed.

The car was repainted years ago. The seller shows us a bubbled area over the driver’s rear fender arch. Other than this one spot, the car appears rust-free. The underside is clean, still wearing overspray from the paint job. As mentioned prices of 240Zs have gone nuts. Early driver-quality cars can command more than $25k; nice cars will cost much more. I am not surprised the reserve is still in place on this one. What do you think it will take to find this one a new garage?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I used to detail cars when I was in high school,specializing
    in Zs.Did a lot of driving around in them,which I probably shouldn’t
    have,but never got called out on.I regret not buying one back when
    they were affordable.
    There was a teacher who’s ’71 I’d detail – bought it new,& had
    a really nice repaint in the factory Gold color.He offered to me a few
    years later,but he wanted $3500 for it! I thought that was too much,so
    I passed on it.

    Like 15
    • Mark Phillips Mark Phillips

      We all have passed on a good deal once or twice too don’t feel bad

      Like 14
      • gerg

        1968 67 Mustang CT white with blue stripe direct from the executive fleet or Fiat 850. So it goes

        Like 1
    • Mark Phillips Mark Phillips

      We all have passed on a good deal once or twice too don’t feel bad

      Like 0
    • Mark Phillips Mark Phillips

      We all have passed on a good deal once or twice too don’t feel bad

      Like 0
  2. HoA Howard A Member

    A game changer, indeed, but more than that, for the 1st time it made US car makers sweat, much like the Honda 750 did for bikes. It was never intended to be an Asian XKE, as mentioned, but for half the cost, it was pretty darn close. Datsun out did themselves with this car, to the likes they never saw again. While they did sell 168,000 cars, I read, like 95% came to the US. Again and again, they caught on fast, but were driven in all weather, and like most, rusted horribly, to the point, not many bought another. I know it’s hard to believe, but this is what happened to most Z cars in my neighborhood. Great find.

    Like 14
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. I agree the wheels don’t look quite right but always thought the hubcaps didn’t either. After ordering my car I bought a set of American Libres to put on it as I’d seen them on the cars on the west coast and thought they looked good. Still using them on our race cars today but not the color you see here. They go on our latest build which is bright yellow with matching green numbers and graphics. The Zs were great fun to drive with that big healthy 6 up front.

    Like 7
  4. Nick P

    I had no idea they cost that much when new. Its insane that anyone would spend that much when you could get a plethora of real American muscle for the same price, especially back then when imports were generally frowned upon. As a kid I always viewed Japanese cars as a budget friendly fuel efficient alternative that you could guarantee started to rust as soon as it was driven off the lot.

    Like 0
  5. Tom

    With high mileage , the rust issues and imperfect interior, the price is already much too high.

    Like 2
  6. Anthony Lathrop

    Fresh paint turns me off because you don’t know what’s under it. There’s at least one spot where rust wasn’t properly addressed – who knows how many more there are? I’d rather buy it with dingy paint, know what problems need fixing, fix them, then paint.

    Like 9
    • Frog

      Detailed before during and after pictures usually satisfy potential buyers.

      Like 0
  7. angliagt angliagt Member

    Anyone else remember that “peppery” smell of
    the interior on these?

    Like 2
    • Kevin

      One of my buddies had one throughout high school. It sure didn’t have a “peppery” smell.

      Like 0
  8. Vibhic

    My sister bought a golden yellow or mustard colored one with black interior in 1970. She traded in a 1969 Camaro that was orange with white interior and white vinyl top. I was disappointed at first. However that 240Z would fly and handled great. Either one would make me happy.

    Like 3
  9. peter havriluk

    All those aftermarket wheels…the OEM hubcaps had a habit of popping off on curves when the steel wheels flexed. I got tired of buying hubcaps and bought aluminum wheels.

    Like 3
  10. Mark Mitchell Member

    I owned one of the earliest surviving 240Z’s. It was #51. Here is my old listing on BAT when I sold it:

    Like 0
  11. Danny Vernon Johnson

    When I was in college, I had a friend who’s folks owned a Volvo and Datsun dealership. they were selling so many Datsun 510s they considered dripping Volvo. When the 240Z came out, they had a waiting list of nearly 200 buyers. To get on the waiting list, they were selling the 240Z for a thousand over MSRP. They dopped the Volvo line. They 240Z was so popular and relatively inexpensive, it killed off most of the British sportscars. Even Datsun dropped the 1600 and 2000 Fairlady roadster sports cars.

    Like 1
  12. Dennis

    I just saw a completely restored 240z on Mecum auctions that went for 66K. the guys there were saying that the older 240z cars are gaining in popularity and that their prices are showing it.

    Like 2
  13. peter havriluk

    Do you recall the VIN? Mine was HLS30-06660

    Like 0
  14. Bamapoppy

    This should make someone a nice driver but it’s lacking a few things to be Barrett Jackson level. My ‘71 had a build date of November, 1970 and had the horizontal vents below the back windshield along with the 240Z emblem on the ‘C’ pillar. (I know, technically no ‘B’ pillar). Kick me for selling it for $5,000 back in 1982.

    Like 0
  15. Mike Styles

    In 1971, I went to buy one at my Pontiac Dealer. They had one, and no test drives, sign up for one, when it came in on your number, take it or leave it, no choices on anything. I said no, bc I wanted a new car NOW. So I ended up at the Buick dealer, and I bought a new Opel GT. Not a bad car at all, it was fun. But I wish I’d held out for the Z car.

    Like 1
  16. Neil R Norris

    Always loved these. With the analog guages angled toward the driver. My buddy had a silver 71. I think I drove it more than he did.

    Like 0

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