One Year Model: 1974 Datsun 260Z

This 1974 Datsun 260Z presents as a dusty yet clean example of a one year-only model of the famed Z-car lineup. The 260Z actually represented a bump in displacement from the previous model, and one would think more power was up for grabs – unfortunately, U.S. emissions requirements companies like Datsun to reduce the compression and ignition timing, resulting in about 25 fewer horsepower than other markets. You’ll find the gold 260Z here on eBay with a $5,000 Buy-It-Now and located in Tennessee. 

Datsun was certainly not alone with this plight of reducing horsepower despite increasing the engine’s size over the prior year’s model. However, it seems particularly criminal for a vehicle with such classic sports car lines to have to reduce the very thing buyers were looking for more of. The seller of this example claims it has been a Tennessee car since new, which is fitting considering Nissan’s U.S. headquarters are in Franklin, TN. No word of rust but the body is said to be in “good condition.”

The seller blames a faulty fuel pump for its non-running condition, but I could see the potential for more work needing to commence before the 260Z fires up again. Now here’s where the 260Z’s engine situation gets interesting: later production models of the same year – referred to as 1974.5 examples – got the full benefits of the horsepower upgrade, churning out the proper 165 b.h.p. Someone with the ability to decode Datsun VINs will need to perform some detective work to determine if this is the case.

Just one picture is provided of the interior and it doesn’t tell us much, but from what we can see, it’s relatively intact with just an open radio slot as the only obvious deviation. The Datsun is equipped with the desirable manual transmission, and overall, looks like a worthy project. If it turns out to be a 1974.5 production year, even more so – but you’ll have to proceed with a seller that doesn’t have any previous eBay feedback.

Fast Finds


  1. Rick

    At least the windows were up to keep out the cats. But seriously, how difficult is it to get good focused photos? Roll the thing outside and clean it up.. I see some rusting in the wheel wells and what looks like on the radiator support, but otherwise a solid car. Could be a great deal.

  2. jaymes

    looks staged

  3. scott

    Well over priced for a unibody


      So are 69 Camaros but everyone is willing to donate their left nut to own one…what’s the difference?

  4. Phil

    Nissan headquarters are in Smyrna TN !! (It’s where I live)

    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Hi, Phil. “Nissan North America” headquarters is located in Franklin, TN. Their US Manufacturing Plants (vehicle assembly and powertrain) are in Smyrna and Decherd, Tennessee and in Canton, Mississippi, and the “Nissan Technical Center North America” is in Farmington Hills, Michigan.

  5. Wagon master

    Looks like rusted through on the rear deck, as well as rockers and front fenders bleeding through. “Always been in TN” is not a good selling point IMHO. Every car I’ve purchased from there and the Carolinas have been rust buckets. The south is not dry.

  6. Scott

    Judging by the rear bumper, this is a early 74 car. The early ones had the smaller bumpers similar to the 1973 240Z, and as such are more desirable than the late 74’s which had the bigger, 280Z style bumpers. I’ve been around Z’s for 30 years and currently have an early 260Z, and never have I heard anything about the engine output being any different between the two versions of the 260, at least in America.

  7. Scott Rasmussen

    Are you F’n kidding me with those photos? I could get over the not bothering to roll it out of the barn, but when you take that blurry of shots, it only seems like your trying to hide stuff.

  8. JJS

    The bumpers would indicate that it is early ’74. The 74.5’s had the larger bumpers to conform to the 5mph crash standard in the government safety mandate for all ’75 cars. I bought a not running ’76 that originally was from TN. Biggest problem was rusted frame rails. The car wouldn’t start until I replaced the fuel pump. Suspect the previous owner tried starting it with old gas and clogged the pump. The Bosch fuel injection is a nightmare to work on.
    I paid $500 for the car.

    • Steve

      The car pictured is a 260, not a 280 It came with SU clone carbs made by hitachi, not fuel injection…..OH and BTW the 280z that DID have Bosch injection Im 99% sure was L-Jetronic injection that was in NO WAY hard to work on in fact it is/was the very best FI design of the ’70s easy to work on and used by everyone, BMW, Porsche,Mercedes, VW, Audi, and a host of others. It was a great system, and no offence any high school drop out that can read a diagram and a vacuum gauge can work on it.

      • Steve

        Sorry I got a little “krusty”…….but i’ve been working on Z cars, VW, and BMWs my whole life. It is a GREAT FI system.

  9. Dolphin Member

    “All original” could be one of the most abused terms in the car hobby, especially with Datsuns.

    These are a few non-original items on this car:
    – non-original wheels
    – radio is missing, so it’s interesting that the car is claimed to have a (non-original) cassette player
    – non original seats, or definitely non original seat covers, which at least can be removed
    – awful bump/rub strips along fenders & doors
    – non-original mirror on passenger’s door. Maybe another non-original mirror on driver’s door, but there are no photos of the left side in the listing
    – non-original anti lock brakes claimed in ‘Item specifics’ section. I don’t think anti lock brakes exist on this car because 260Zs didn’t come with them, even as an option.
    – non-original FWD (front wheel drive?) also claimed in ‘Item specifics’ section. I don’t think this car has FWD either.
    – The VIN number in the ‘Item specifics’ section (RLS30025711) isn’t original, or a 260Z VIN either. In fact it’s probably made up. Had it read HLS30-025711, that would make the car a late 1972 240Z.

    OK, I’m done. This seller probably isn’t a seller at all. He’s probably a scammer who took some very bad photos from somewhere.

    Be careful out there, folks. All is not what it is claimed to be.

    • Michael thomas

      you forgot intake with 2 carburetors when its actually fuel injection.

      • Oddimotive Cason Oddimotive Cason Member

        Two flat-top Hitachi carbs are visible in the pics and are original to the 260Z. Often, these got swapped for round-tops to eliminate drivability issues, but these stayed for whatever reason. I can understand the mistake, though, as there is a lot of emissions crap to look at!

  10. james r burton

    these zcars rusted on the boat over here. my old boss undercoated a many of these and they were already rusting. they are still bringing good money. they put electric helper fuel pumps on the later ones and cooler fans that blew cool air on the intakes because they were bad for the fuel boiling..i had one i put 2 webbers and a header on. a real corvett eater and i put a late model 5 speed and lower gear in. like most zs it rotted away framerails first to go. they sell all the medal parts now to rebuild the whole body now so rust isn’t a real problem like in the 80s and 90s

    • Dolphin Member

      james, I have heard and seen that the inner surfaces of body parts like fenders were installed as bare metal, with no coating at all. And yes, the floors and frame rails can be a real rust problem but there are small time businesses that make pressed steel replacements for these areas that a skilled…and dedicated….and well paid….body man can use to make the cars right again.

      Well, they were only $3500 cars when brand new, and it kept the selling price down.

      I guess that’s why Southwestern cars are so prized. The other side of that coin is that the interiors bake in the sun and just about everything that’s vinyl or rubber needs replacing for the car to be right. A lot of those critical parts like hoses are still available from Nissan, and some small time businesses have reproduced various rubber and plastic parts, but they ain’t cheap.

  11. Michael thomas

    Body side moldings were a biggy in the day. All zs coming into the port in Jacksonville got them installed. I bet I did1000-2000 for Trim line. 154 per car and you had to install them when they where parked about 12 inches apart. I had a 5 gallon bucket full of rivets .The holes we drilled started to rust almost immediately . a couple years later we got trim with 2 sided tape that kept the rust out when we drilled the end pieces.

  12. stillrunners lawrence Member

    There are so many of these being horded you would think they are the mother lode…..

  13. Fran

    Do they have a bucket, water abd soap? Wash it!

    • Casey Jones

      And remove the valuable pigeon poop and barn patina?!?! 😱

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