Parked For 30 Years: 1971 Datsun 240Z

There’s always a risk involved when an owner applies a custom paint scheme to a classic car. If they get the combination right, it serves to accentuate the beauty of that car. Get it wrong, and the results can be pretty horrendous. The owner of this 1971 Datsun 240Z has pursued the custom path, and the impact is both classy and aggressive. It presents well and is a vehicle that is guaranteed to turn heads wherever it goes. If it has turned your head enough for you to feel that it belongs in your garage, you will find the little Datsun located in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and listed for sale here on eBay. Sedate bidding has seen the price rise to a mere $2,025. It’s no surprise that this figure remains short of the reserve. The owner also offers a BIN option, which he has set at $45,000.

It seems that the owner found the 240Z languishing in a barn around five years ago. It had occupied that spot for more than thirty years, so he set about returning the car to its former glory. The previous owner had installed an aftermarket sunroof in the 1980s, which was a common modification at that time. The seller chose to leave well-enough alone on that front but proceeded to strip the panels to bare metal. It isn’t clear what shade the car originally wore, but he decided that a deep shade of Gunmetal Gray with Silver stripes would be the best option. If I’m honest, I could take or leave the stripes. However, they do provide a nice contrast to such a dark paint color. There is a scratch that the seller notes on the driver’s door, but the overall presentation is striking. The paint shines beautifully, while the panels are as straight as an arrow. There is no evidence of any rust in the supplied photos, and the owner doesn’t mention any in his listing. The spoilers are aftermarket additions, and these add an aggressive air to the appearance. The chrome sparkles against the dark paint, the original alloy wheels are in good order, and the same appears true of the glass. So far, this 240Z has made a pretty positive impression.

The Datsun is a numbers-matching classic that features a 2,393cc OHC six-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission. The driver may not have massive amounts of power at their disposal, but sleek aerodynamics and a low overall vehicle weight allow the 240Z to punch above its weight. That six should be pumping out 151hp, which is enough to fire the Datsun through the ¼ mile in 16.5 seconds before it eventually finds its way to 125mph. For potential buyers, the news seems to be pretty positive. The owner doesn’t use the car that often, but he indicates that it has a genuine 23,000 miles on the clock. He doesn’t mention verifying evidence, so that’s one question that would be worth asking. He also says that there is a short in the turn-signal wiring that will require attention. Beyond that, he says that the car is driveable, but he doesn’t say how well it performs this feat. If the presentation of the engine bay is an accurate reflection of this car’s mechanical health, it seems that potential buyers could be onto a winner with this classic.

When we turn our attention to the Datsun’s interior, it sends us mixed signals. There are no photos that provide a clear overview of its condition, but we can piece together a fair bit from what the owner provides. The dash has managed to avoid the common issues of cracks and splits, and it presents well. It seems that most of the plastic pieces are in a similar state. The owner has installed slipcovers over the seats but admits that the driver’s seat would benefit from new upholstery. The same appears true of the driver’s door trim, so it seems that the buyer might need to compile a list and shop around for some parts to return the interior to its former glory. They may have to swallow hard on this one because trim for the 240Z isn’t the cheapest on the planet. A set of seat covers in the correct material and color will sell for about $260, while the door trims will lighten the wallet by a further $370 a pair. Still, these are a one-off expense and should have the interior matching the exterior when it comes to the question of presentation.

While the company strenuously denied it at the time, there is no shaking the design similarities between the Datsun 240Z and the Series I Jaguar XKE. Whether it is the two-seat configuration, the long nose, the rear harch, or the six-cylinder engine, many similarities have to be more than sheer coincidence. The two models share one other key attribute, which is that values are climbing at an astounding rate. A decade ago, you could have wandered out into the classic market with $20,000 in your pocket and taken your pick of tidy 240Zs. Today, you need to double that figure, and those prices continue to rise well beyond the market average. When you look at what this Datsun offers and what it needs to achieve perfect presentation, the BIN price is somewhere in the ballpark. The bidding has been sedate, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that situation change. That’s why I’ll be keeping an eye on this auction.


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  1. Steven

    The 240Z did not have a louvered hood, so this one is either a swap or they were added. Like the sunroof it doesn’t add to the styling and may decreases the value.

    Like 13
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Nice car. Wheels are off a later model as the steel wheels with hub caps were the only ones available on the 240s. That’s why the slotted mags were so popular with new 240 owners, me included.

    Like 4
  3. Corey King

    My brother has a 240 that is sitting in my garage for a couple of years and in his garage for 20 yrs and have 2 extra bodies if someone love to restore them. Contact me if you’re interested.

  4. Dallas

    Hood’s off a 280Z. Slotted mags would look better. Seller should’ve left it stock if they were after the big money.

    Like 8
  5. RichardinMaine

    That’s not an engine compartment in $45,000 condition, and hints at maintenance issues not readily visible in other areas as well. No.

    Like 9
    • alphasud Member

      I agree. Seems as if the seller started out on a strong note with the exterior appearance but petered out when it came to the interior, electrics, and mechanicals. It’s extremely expensive to go the distance and the seller might have come to that conclusion to sell it on. The 240 is a beautiful car and holds its own when compared to other sports cars of the period.

      Like 3
  6. Frank

    Nice but not original! Needs detailing for $45K and mini lite mags and that hood. Yikes It looks like the vehicle may have been in a accident. If its no rust its worth money. So the Seller needs to detail the hell out of it.

  7. Robert LaFrieda

    Short in blinker I’ve seen this short before and I’m betting it also has a cold hard start problem Listen up Z240 owners. At battery is a ground to Chassie it shares with blinker to the Rt passenger front AND the ground to the cold start Just clean it up and The 2 problems are fixed …rob442

  8. MrBZ

    Nice car, but the 280-hood louvers, spoilers and polarizing paint scheme do not help the value IMHO. And the stinking sunroof is a deal-killer for a top-dollar buy. Anxious to see how high the sellers expectations are.

    Like 4
  9. Greg Sharp

    Having owned 1 240Z and a 260Z in the past, I love the styling and handling of these cars. I don’t mind the 280Z hood, I like the rims, love the spoiler, but the sun roof is a no-no…

  10. Gary

    Many thousands (hundreds?) cars were ruined with those God awful cheesy sunroofs. Anyone that installed these should hang their head in shame. He should have found a roof or had a bodyman make a panel and repaired it. And yes Steven, it definitely detracts from the value, at least 10k to me.

    • Karen Bryan

      Agree 100%. In fact, I dislike sunroofs on ANY car, factory-installed or aftermarket. Rust magnets waiting to leak.

      Like 1
  11. Eric B

    What a joke. You can buy nice, original 240 Z’s for this money or less. Contrary to what others said, it’s actually not a 280 hood, but they were most likely trying to replicate that look. These are aftermarket vents they slapped on and cut up the hood in doing so. If you look at the 280 hood, the sheet metal actually raises up a bit and meets the vent. Vents are parallel as well, not tapered like these.

  12. Rj

    The Deaks should prace home, attach to a teet, and see if they can draw some cheese.

  13. Jonathan Scheel

    Twenty three thousand miles and worn out seats? Doesn’t add up.

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