Owned Since ’77: 1974.5 Datsun 260Z

Cheap Z cars are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as this 1974 Datsun 260Z goes to show you. There was a time when the only models that achieved seriously strong prices were the earliest of the Z cars, the Series 1 240Zs, but now those vehicles have become so expensive and out of reach for most collectors that the trickle down effect is clearly starting to happen. The 260Z may not be as lithe or as rare as the Series 1 240Zs, but you can get 90 percent of the looks and almost the same performance for considerably less money – so why not jump in? This example is listed here on eBay and described as a runner and longtime California car with bids to $6,700 and no reserve.

Now, while the 260Z is largely criticized for a slight whack to its out-of-the-box performance compared to the 240Z and the ugly U.S.-mandated safety bumpers that replaced the pretty chrome assemblies, these were still decent performing cars with good balance and handling qualities, especially compared to many “sports cars” from the same era. This one is said to have been in the longtime care of its second owner, who purchased the 260Z as a lightly used model offered for sale at a local Toyota dealer in 1977. The longtime female owner maintained the car well and kept detailed records from 1977 to 2001, when it was parked and how the seller found it. What’s most important to note is that as a 74.5 model, it came with the full 165 b.h.p. engine as opposed to the detuned unit found in most 260Z’s.

The 260Z is sadly equipped with the three-speed automatic, which isn’t very desirable. Surprisingly, that’s not stopping bidders at the moment, who are likely revved up by the rust-free condition and novelty of originally being equipped with the more powerful engine offering. The seller even notes that the interior was a haven for critters at one point in time, and that the scents were pretty powerful when they first opened the doors. The listing admits that the worst of the scented offenses are gone, but there’s still some lingering odors. The seats are obviously torn up, and the dash cover is likely covering a cracked dash – but you never know, it could have survived all of these years without developing any of the ruptures these brittle dashes are known for.

The 260Z is said to run well despite having been laid up for years, though the seller still recommends a proper servicing and full going-through before using it regularly. The tires are shot and the engine obviously hasn’t been touched since the early 2000s. The seller notes the original engine was replaced at 172,000 miles, and is from a later, used 280Z in the 1990s – what a bummer for anyone looking for an original 74.5 car. The chassis now has 232,000 miles on it, and given the condition of the body with that many miles, it looks incredibly sound and speaks to the forgiving nature of the California climate. To be honest, I’m a little surprised at how strong the bidding is for an automatic 260Z, but perhaps the manual transmission swap is easier than I realized.

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  1. 370zpp

    High miles.


  2. 86_Vette_Convertible


  3. kenn

    So someone without their nose so high in the air will get a fun car.


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