No Reserve Project: 1973 Datsun 240Z

The S30 Datsun Z-Series is one of the most important models the brand ever produced, and of course, it seems like there’s a near constant stream of project-quality examples of the iconic sports car hitting the market. This 1973 Datsun 240Z is available here on eBay, and while the seller provides few details about the vehicle itself, the photos of the car indicate that it may be worth the gamble.

This Z is available in Springfield, Ohio with a clean title. Unfortunately, the seller doesn’t give us much information about the car, with this being the only provided information: “This car is in good restorable condition, with original matching number engine, not currently running, minor surface rust, not bad for the age.” Luckily, this seller does provide a handful of photos that seem to back up their assessment.

Unfortunately, there are no photos of the vehicle’s undercarriage, but the exterior of this Z seems like it’s in decent shape. The paint has some clear coat fade and a little bit of surface rust on the hatch, but this well-worn Z should clean up nice. Personally, I’m the kind of guy who enjoys some exterior patina, and I think a nice set of period correct wheels (especially from the Z’s homeland of Japan) could really compliment the weathered look.

On the contrary, the interior is very well preserved. Though it could use a nice cleaning after sitting for so long, everything seems original and in remarkable condition, especially the beautiful blue seats and matching door panels. It also appears that the dashboard material remains uncracked!

Under the hood, you’ll find Datsun’s L24 6-cylinder engine, which pairs to a 4-speed manual to drive the rear wheels. The inline six does not currently run, but it is a number matching engine.

At the time of writing this article, bidding is at $2,102. Would you get this Z running and enjoy it in its current shape, or would you give this example a restoration?


  1. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    I’m all for patina, but flaking clearcoat doesn’t do it for me. This one must have been repainted at some point because it should have been a single stage job from the factory. The metal is paper thin on these early Z cars and they didn’t have much for rustproofing, so I’d ask for some photos of the undercarriage and the sill under that rear hatch before bidding.

    Like 1
    • Rx7turboII

      “It also appears that the dashboard material remains uncracked”

      look at the 2 huge splits in the dash top right above the triple gauge pod!

      Nice car and should bring 5k on the low end.

      Like 2
      • misterlou Member

        I think the 240Z was single-handedly responsible for the creation of the dash repair industry.

      • Midwest Jeff

        The dashboard has been modified with two bifurcations.

  2. On and On On and On Member

    I really like these early cars. I remember when they came out. It was a lot of car for the money then. That’s why there was a waiting list and over sticker prices. Supply and demand.

    Like 2
  3. G Lo

    I grew up in OH and the roads are salted all winter, every winter. I promise that this thing is rusty and I would caution anyone interested to be sure to take a look in person or pay to have a PPI, with photos.

  4. Robert Clark

    There’s room improvement on this project, lots of room. Dash IS cracked, door cards have been recovered in some tasteless blue cloth, as have the seats. The console is split right at the ashtray and what’s visible in the photos showing door rubber and weatherstripping is not encouraging. Granted old cars are generally not well cared for, but what else might be lurking – overlooked by the summary made here from the only available photos and details?

    AC switch is present on the console, but the hardware under the hood seems missing. Gone too are the original carbs – these Weber brand replacements were the stop-gap solution for the problematic flat top Hitachi side draft carbs that were factory installed as a 73-74 only fix to emission related issues. Speaking of Hitachi, the original AM-FM radio has gone missing, replaced with a cheezy aftermarket deck. These DIN1 replacements require a little bit of shaving of the console face to fit, and no pics of where the speakers were put, since original single 4 ohm speaker is most likely not compatible with the swap.

    I see too that the diamond stitching fabric cover for the transmission tunnel is missing. What else needs attention I wonder. Not a good car to buy sight unseen as details are as sparse as the small number of photos. Expect a lot more surprises when this rolls off the transporter at the buyer’s house.

    As others state, paint wise, this is some kind of respray; not a original color and rattle can wrinkle black has been applied under the hood masking the original color.

    There’s a lot of work ahead including rust repair where evident from photos (and most likely in the usual places), and fixing the aftermarket stuff like removing the trashed rear louvers, which unfortunately have hinge mounts that are screwed into the sheet metal of the hatch – an easy pathway for water to bring corrosion into the car body.

    It’s a 73. It’s not all there, but it’s not all missing either. A non-running, less desirable version of the early Zs is still attractive to some, but this one will be in someone’s garage for a long while as all the gotchas are sorted out.

    If sold cheap and patched with someone’s free labor and not too many expensive NOS or replacement parts, the new owner could be underwater for only a few years perhaps. Good luck to those bidding.

  5. TimM

    Rust belt cars are always a gamble!! I bought a 65 mustang that was in a barn in New York!! The last registration sticker was 1973 which meant it was only on the road for approximately 8 years!!! It was on concrete but up on blocks too!! I ended out replacing the whole ass end of the car!! It’s a good car today and I still have it!! My son has a 95-240 Nissan we bought in Florida!! We have replaced a couple of things on this car, although not a Z car it wasn’t easy finding parts!!!

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