Project Or Parts? 1971 Datsun 240Z

The classic Datsun Z car is in an interesting spot right now. Their values are rising, especially as enthusiasts realize that few pure sports cars from the 1970s remain in an attainable price bracket (I’m looking at you, air-cooled 911s). The Z has long been an attainable classic, and supply is extensive. However, finding good earlier models can be more challenging than expected, which makes the prospect of restoring this 1971 240Z found here on eBay not as unlikely as it once was. 

One of the surest signs that a car is quickly becoming collectible is the increasing likelihood that a specimen like this will fetch real money as a parts car. I recently featured four 240Z  / 260Zs from the large Georgia collection we’re helping to wind down as parts cars loaded with desirable trim and other NLA parts (in addition to engines and transmissions). This 240Z is similar, with lots of good spares still attached and an original drivetrain that isn’t stuck.

The interior is quite rough and likely isn’t saveable. The seats are trashed as are the door panels, and the dash is a mess of cracks. There’s likely not much usable in the cabin, aside from maybe the console and the steering wheel. And given these cars aren’t so rare yet that you can’t still find one with a good interior, this one will likely go straight into the trash. The Datsun, thankfully, does roll and steer for easier loading.

Rust-wise, this 240Z has a decent amount to contend with. The seller notes: “The rust on the car is upper rear wheel wells, rockers and someone filled them in with filler so I can’t see how bad it is. Rust on the front floor pan and some lower frame structures I took pictures of these issues and someone took angle iron to some points under the front of the car to fix rust issues.” restore vehicles that the rest of the world gave up on eons ago So, it seems increasingly likely this one will be parted out but who knows – folks like me are known to .

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Comments

  1. Bob Hess Member

    Helped a friend restore a Z this rusty a few years back. Must of put 250 hours of welding into it and it still wasn’t worth much more than when we started. Everything everywhere rusts on these cars because of all the bare metal on the other side of the paint. Get a good price, grab the mechanicals, turn the rest into bean cans.

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Member

    Agree with Bob, this Z car is toast, unfortunately. It is far rustier underneath than it looks from up top. Somebody has riveted some sheet metal into the front wheelwell, and that has not done anything to help the structure survive. There is perforation in the metal just above the frame rails, so the structure is significantly weakened.

    And amazingly someone has welded a big iron bar under there, I guess to help hold things together. When you see that you know it’s a real bad sign.

    The interior is shot, and much of it is plastic and vinyl. You would need to buy lots of expensive repro parts or search for a long time for good original parts, most of which have already been bought up by people who have done or are doing restorations on better cars than this one.

    It would be far better to pay more and get a better car to start with. The hard parts like the drive train components aren’t difficult to find in good used condition, so this car really doesn’t have much value. You need to start with the best early Z car body you can afford, and this one isn’t it, unfortunately.

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  3. Steve R

    When the sellers ad describes the car based in the condition of its salvageable parts it’s wise to believe them. Too many would be beginners make the mistake of buying cars like this because they are cheap, they tend to either learn their lesson or find another hobby.

    Steve R

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  4. Steve R

    When the sellers ad describes the car based in the condition of its salvageable parts they are telling you something. Too many would be beginners make the mistake of buying cars like this because they are cheap, they tend to either learn their lesson or find another hobby.

    Steve R

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