Original Series 1: 1970 Datsun 240Z

You don’t have to say much more than “Series 1 Z car” to catch the ears of Datsun/Nissan enthusiasts everywhere. The earliest models remain the most coveted, and they’re sure-fire bets for a healthy return should you find one hiding in a dry barn without any major rust. This 1970 240Z appears to be just such a find, as the seller highlights its rust-free condition and surprisingly straight body, with just one repaint and some aftermarket wheels as any indication that the Datsun has been tinkered with. The key traits of a Series 1 car are all accounted for here, such as the vents on the rear decklid and the badges on the C-pillar. Bring it back to the original paint and enjoy. Find this 240Z here on craigslist for $28,000 in San Jose, California.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Rex M. for the find. The listing is provided by the owner of the 240Z despite reading like a dealer ad; there’s no mention of the car’s history or how it ended up being so well preserved. The listing indicates this is the first time it’s been offered for sale since it left the dealer lot, so I doubt it will stick around long – especially at the current asking price. Series 1 cars trade for far higher amounts than this, and despite having some flaws, it looks as honest as they come. The interior is in good, original condition and it’s equipped with the preferred manual gearbox – never a certainty despite being a sports car as many buyers saw these as grand tourers. The seller mentions some small, hairline cracks in the dash.

The torquey inline-six is numbers matching and the seller leaves no doubt in his description that the Datsun is as healthy as they come. Said to fire right up with no odd noises or smoke, the Datsun’s engine and transmission reveal no issues from this side of the monitor. There must have been a time when these cars were cheap and accessible and second and third owners removed the original engines and swapped in an inline-six from a later model, as it’s not uncommon to find a Z car of this vintage with a non-matching engine. Whatever this car’s story is, it involves being looked after for quite some time and never being put in a position of needing the engine yanked or the floors cut out.

The aftermarket wheels may not be factory correct but it’s the only significant deviation from stock condition, aside from the paint. They’re also completely appropriate for the period in which the Z car was made, and I’d hold onto them even after I found the correct wheels and hubcaps. The original color was red and with a black interior, this 240Z would be even more of a looker if returned to its factory finish. The chrome bumpers appear to be in excellent condition, and the only rust spot the seller highlights is at the bottom of the rear passenger side quarter panel – heck, he even has an ancient NOS replacement panel for that section. Series 1 cars don’t stick around long, so move quickly if you’ve been looking for an early Z car.


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  1. Bluetec320 Bluetec320 Member

    “This Datsun has a rust free body”, but comes with a replacement panel to fix the rust on the right rear quarter, which is part of the body.. what?? Then it’s NOT rust free!

    Like 21
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Nice early car, second paint was less than good. Prep was bad, paint is falling off where it wasn’t cleaned or scratched up. But does look to be a clean old Z car. Restored they’re bringing in the money. A quality repaint and weather strip kit will help but won’t come cheap and unless this owner went over ever inch with a refrigerator magnet there may be a minor surprise hidden there.

    Like 6
  3. DRV

    All surprises aside, this is a steal!

    Like 2
    • Dave

      Never forget, it’s not the rust you CAN see, it’s the rust you CAN’T see that makes you wish you hadn’t.
      Those cars, along with every other Japanese import, didn’t last much beyond two or three years once road salt got into them. Remember, this was the early years of the EPA, and depending upon what industry you were downwind from industrial pollution rotted these cars from the top down while road salt worked from the bottom up.

  4. Frank

    Best year for this vehicle. These vehicles were selling for over list price at dealers with a shortage in the USA. The dealers had a Call list and would call you up and say its orange with a black vinyl roof. If you didn’t like the color it was too bad and sold within the next two calls. Harley had a few years like that back in the late 80’s and mid 90’s. Now Harley is giving them away.

    Like 2
  5. Russ Nixon

    Note that there were no factory allow wheels available, any air conditioning is aftermarket and the original paint code may be found on the serial number plate under the hood. Some number of them were built incorrectly and required the installation of the so-called “35 mm kit” to move the differential mounts 35 mm to the rear. Many dealers ignored the “pre-delivery inspection” checklist or performed it incorrectly. This led to massive rusting in the body sills. They were great cars but the did have their faults. I serviced and drove hundreds of them in the ’70s working for Datsun dealers.

  6. alphasud Member

    Here is another one with little rust for half the asking. 3 day old ad so it might already be gone.

    Like 1
  7. Miminite

    I like these and remember when they were new. Such a clean design IMO. I’ve never owned one and really don’t know values or what’s what on them to look for, but this does seem a lot price wise for something that has a questionable paint job in the incorrect color. Everything has a value for sure and this is a great starting point for someone, but dang you’d have a bunch tied into it if you went correct and high quality especially if you couldn’t do the work yourself.

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