Numbers-Matching: 1970 Datsun 240Z Project

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When I was growing up and in my car-crazy teen years, Datsun Z cars seemed to be all over the place in our hometown, but I was so closed-minded in my youth of thinking it was Mopar or no car I paid hardly any attention to them.  My loss!  Nowadays I feel quite differently, and occasionally still see a couple of them running around my area, a 260Z and 280Z, respectively.  But if you want to go back even further, this 1970 model here on eBay is a 240Z, and if you’ve been in the market for a Japanese two-seater sports car project it may be worth a look.  This one’s on the east coast in Conway, South Carolina, with bidding up to $4,550 and there’s no reserve, so the high bidder has bought themselves a Z car.

There’s plenty of work to be done here, but the car is said to be an unmolested, all-numbers-matching original example, and the seller thinks it would be a great candidate for restoration.  He says it’s been painted different colors throughout the years, but most recently was returned to its original orange, and while there is no body filler present you will find the typical rust issues most of these cars have.  There’s also quite a bit of corrosion down under.  The owner doesn’t think the car has ever been in a major accident, but looking at it from behind there is evidence it’s had a light tap on the bumper.

The 2.4 liter inline 6-cylinder engine is the original component, and the seller includes a 13-second video in the listing of the motor starting and running.  These powerplants made about 150 horsepower back in ’70, a decent amount for a 2,400-pound sports car, but unfortunately, you can’t drive this one home as the clutch is experiencing some issues.  It also needs brake work, a new gas tank, and I’m guessing a complete going-through of all things mechanical.

From the seats forward, things inside don’t really look all that bad, with the typical wear and tear you’d expect from a Sporster with this much age.  While it’s not exactly eye candy in there, it does look overall original, sans radio.  But the hatch area is exposed and shows additional rust around the edges, however, the spare tire area looks a lot better than I was expecting.  I’ve never restored a Z car, but my guess is this will be a fairly hefty project to take to a high level.  What are your thoughts on this 1970 Datsun 240Z?

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  1. Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

    Had an exact replica (sans rust issues) as a much younger man. Loved every minute in the car-until I got to the last 1/2 mile from my house on the rarely maintained dirt road, and the polyurethane bushings let me know which teeth had loose fillings! Handled like a slot car, accelerated nicely with the Webers, sounded like something Peter Brock had worked his magic (well, to me anyways) but DANG! What a butt buster on any road with any significant road heaves!
    That said, this one will be a money pit if I’m reading it right and the new owner had better really love this car. The bad fit on the hood and drivers door, the floor and body rot, the poorly done paint touch up and the whanged rear bumper are of a car that someone drove the wheels off of but didn’t have enough time to keep it up for a car of this era. And what’s the story of the mysterious black streaks under the hood?
    I really enjoyed mine and miss it at times (at least at the times I can fold myself in half so as to get in) but the new owner of this one IMHO will need a whole lotta love for it-and a whole lotta time money and patience, but isn’t that what and why we buy these projects?

    Like 15
    • Mike S.

      had an orange 71 as my 1st car… Loved driving it in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.. Had a nice curvy road right up from my house.. Thing handled like a vette in the corners. Regret selling it, but was funding my 1st Jeep. Always wanted another one!!

      Like 0
    • Donald Porochonski

      In regards to the under hood black streaks, maybe there was an engine fire? Too bad about all the rust though. These were cool.

      Like 0
  2. Oleg

    Does it really matter whether it’s numbers matching? It’s a car. Drive and enjoy it.

    Like 0
  3. gippy

    Clever Japanese spotted the perfect market- a car that sort of mimicked an E Type but without the stomach tension you always had waiting for the Jag to break down. The 240 competed against the Triumph TR6 and MGB GT in price but was a mile ahead in styling and reliability. The Brits had the brand loyalty, experience and components, but somehow let the market slip through their fingers.

    Like 7
    • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

      Well said, hippy. The executives were so intent on paying themselves n making perfunctory stock increases to make themselves look good that they panned over their equipment, their quality because of the equipment and in many cases the people that operated the equipment. They’re refusal to acknowledge their competition, playing it down as inferior and continuing to believe the their prejudice and perceived stereotype was the making of their own demise.
      You’d of thought they’d’ve learned why their 2 wheeled counterparts had gone or were headed into oblivion, undone by their own oblivious economic self strangulation.
      And sadly we yet see this madness ongoing in the upper realms of manufacturing on ALL planes today.

      “ If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
      ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      Like 4
      • Nevada1/2rack NevadahalfrackMember

        My apologies-I wrote “gippy”.

        Like 1
    • TreebeardZZ

      My uncle had always driven Karmann Ghias until he switched to a brown metallic ’72. One day at our shop, a Ferrari GTO 250 with a bad idle pulled up and a roadie for the Beach Boys introduced himself, and my mouth dropped open……..until he popped the hood to a 240z – I just shoved the dipstick in all the way and it immediately smoothed right out(pcv valve was real touchy – little detail I just happened to know), and it was his turn to be amazed and we talked for awhile. It was one of the last kits before Ferrari sued them because the body kit panels were EXACT copies molded from a 250 GTO that fit perfectly over a 240Z(that kit which included actual “Prancing Pony’s” was also responsible for the Ferrari policy to no longer sell “replacement” emblems/trim/etc unless you provide documented proof that you actually owned the real thing). Turns out, that was where the 240Z came from – Datsun made a full size clay model from a 250 GTO and then simply shaved the curves and bumps flat & sharp. That is why the 240Z is the same size & resembles the Ferrari SO closely.

      Like 0
  4. Rw

    Where can I get some of them Douglas gt tires???

    Like 1
    • whilst


      Like 0
  5. Bob

    I owned a1971 240Z in the mid ’70s. Low-end acceleration wasn’t much, but improved, greatly, through the gears. After 200K miles, it was completely sworn out. Sold it for $1500.

    Like 0
  6. Howie

    This weeks Jay Leno on YouTube has a great video on these.

    Like 3
  7. stoney end

    We had a new 1970…yellowish. Waited many months to get it as they were a hot commodity when they were new items. It was wonderful when new….but terrible rust/rot problems soon appeared, as we drove from NY snow country to skiing in VT regularly. IIRC we only owned it for about 2 years when it required new rear quarter-panels and a full repaint. Traded it in on a ’70 Z-28.
    Fun while it lasted…

    Like 2
  8. Rodney B

    That rust in the hatch area, above the taillights.
    That gonna cost. And I would bet there is more in other places.

    Restored a couple of these. They can accumulate some serious rust issues.

    Like 0
  9. Steve

    I had a lowers 72 240Z with A/C very fun to drive and could do 135 flat out for 5 minutes then needed to run slower as the oil got to hot

    Like 1
  10. Mountainwoodie

    As a recent high school graduate in ’72 I drove to Colorado from the East Coast in my friends brand new yellow ’72 Z….if memory serves me we drove straight through in about 24 hours. I lasted a year banging nails on condos, he left within a month with his Z. I’ve always wanted one as I had a ball driving it but everyone I’ve ever looked at had more rust than I think can be remediated appropriately. While this is a desirable first series, that rear hatch would scare the Datsun out of me. The seller seems to know what he’s selling and why.

    Like 0
  11. Phipps

    I need to get one of these before they price out. Love my 2017 370Z and as a kid these early Z’s were my favorite

    Like 0
  12. Jim Smith

    When I was like 12, I had a neighbor who had a 240. I loved that little car so much. Then she traded up to a 260, in metallic green, which I loved even more, even though she never gave ma a ride in it. Later I owned an 81 280ZX, which while fun, probably wasn’t the match to the 240 or 260. I think my 280ZX was the most fun car I ever owned, followed closely by an early Honda CRX, which I only owned for 12 days (I bought it cheap with the intention of selling it for a quick profit, which I did.)

    Like 0
  13. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $8,750.

    Like 0

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