Is This 1973 Datsun 240Z Beyond Help?

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At what point do you look at a classic car and decide that it may well be beyond salvation? That is the question that faces us with this 1973 Datsun 240Z. We’ve seen some really nice examples of the 240Z here at Barn Finds, but occasionally one comes along where you know that if the car is ever going to fire a shot in anger again, then it is going to require a lot of hard graft, and a considerable amount of money, from one dedicated individual. This particular 240Z is located in Tacoma, Washington, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $2,000 for the Datsun, but the option is available to make an offer.

This Datsun is a pretty good example of what I refer to as “the iceberg principle.” What you can see on the surface is just a tiny amount of trouble compared with what lies below the surface. There is a fair amount of visible rust, along with a few dents and dings to deal with. However, there is no real reason why those issues can’t be addressed. Below the surface is where things head downhill at a pretty rapid rate of knots. Apparently, there is rust in the floors as well, and depending on how extensive this is, it may be this that sounds the death knell for the car. The owner states that the car will need floors, but whether this rust has also compromised the structural integrity of the Datsun isn’t clear. We also don’t get a glimpse of the area around the rear hatch, which is a known trouble spot with these cars.

Looking at the interior, it’s really hard to know where to start. I’ve seen plenty of pretty sad interiors that have been in desperate need of a deep clean, but it’s not often that you see one where a weed-wacker might be called for. The presence of so much mold indicates that the Datsun has been exposed to a lot of moisture throughout its life. That means that it really will be a case of starting from scratch for anyone who was considering taking this 240Z on as a restoration project. The fact that you can also see water running down the door trim on the driver’s side gives some indication that the carpet has been wet for quite some time, which will have done the floors no favors at all.

There are no engine photos, but we do know that the car doesn’t run. If the car is as it left the factory, under the hood should be the 2,393cc straight-six engine, backed by a manual transmission. These engines are pretty robust, but given the fact that the car looks to have spent an extended period in a pretty damp environment, there is just no telling what state the engine is in. Even if the engine is not locked, the damp will potentially have done some pretty catastrophic damage to items such as the carburetors, and other ancillaries. The further that I delve, the more convinced I am becoming that the ultimate fate for this 240Z will be as a parts car.

As a person who has owned his fair share of Nissans and Datsuns, I find looking at this 240Z to be quite a heart-breaking experience. To see a desirable Japanese classic reduced to this state is a crying shame, and I really do believe that the car will eventually be stripped of useable parts, and the remains will find its way to the crusher. I would dearly love to think that I’m wrong about that, but I have a feeling that I’m not. What do you think?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Sad to see. What was once a somewhat fast & fun sports car is now little more than a banged up, rusted out, moldy & moldering POS.And that’s without seeing the underside, the rear hatch area or under the hood. Too bad..literally.

    Like 9
  2. sir mike

    Depending on what you need a good?? parts car.

    Like 0
  3. Alex

    It could be a reasonably fair start for a vintage racer. At least you wouldn’t be thowing out a bunch of good parts

    Like 4
    • don

      By the time you get done throwing out all the bad parts on this wreck you’d have nothing left but glass ! You have to have some structure left to build a race car ; I wouldn’t trust this one at all.

      Like 3
  4. 8banger Dave MikaMember

    What really kills these little pistols is the Old Tinworm ate my front subframe.

    Like 4
  5. don

    I’ll bet there’s no pictures of the engine because the hood hinges are rusted shut !

    Like 3
  6. Karl

    Hmmmm, a car known for rust issues, sitting for over twenty years in a state known for damp weather with bad door seals ? Pass on this one , theres way more rust than we can see – That dampness plays havoc with aluminum parts too so the motor would be corroded as well.

    Like 3
  7. ATL_Jeff

    Parts only, if that. I’d pass on anything much above scrap value. Better project options available.

    Like 3
  8. bobhess bobhessMember

    Welded up a Z just like this one for a friend, and money, in the early ’90s. These cars didn’t have a lick of paint, preservative, nothing where you couldn’t see paint. Told friend it wasn’t worth it but he insisted. Got enough money to finish up a race car build we were in the middle of. It’s a parts car…. maybe.

    Like 1
  9. brianashe

    I bought a ’76 280Z with rear-end damage and a rod knock in 1993 for $600. I put a used engine into it along with many other things to the tune of about $2,000 over about the course of about a year and a half. Learned a lot, had fun and it was pretty nice when I was done. Sold it in ’95 for $1,000.

    One thing mine didn’t have was any rust. It needed nothing more than carpet to be very nice inside. I’d stay far, far away from this one at this price. I don’t think this is anything more than a parts car.

    Like 0
  10. HoA Howard AMember

    Some fanatic will buy this, JUST because it’s a 240, and pretty much resembles a complete car. I cancelled my search for a decent 4 figure Z car, because people are escalating the prices of these, to the point where I want no part of it. Like brianashe^ sez, not too long ago, these were $500 beaters, nobody wanted them, which I figure why there’s several in the background here. Hopefully the fad falls flat. You want a money pit, here it is.

    Like 0

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