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Recently Updated! 1971 Datsun 240Z Series 1

This sporty early Z car spent its early days in the island paradise of Hawaii. The never-restored classic shows minor rust and imperfections, and recently enjoyed a bounty of new parts and a transmission swap to a manual gearbox. The 1971 Datsun 240Z currently resides in North Canton, Ohio and you can relocate it to your driveway with an acceptable high bid here on eBay. At least four bidders have elevated the market value on this six-cylinder sports car above $10,000 so far without meeting the seller’s Reserve. The $22,000 Buy It Now price ends the auction for the first impatient suitor pledging to thrill the seller.

Low-slung door handles and bucket seats skimming your posterior inches above the road punctuate the sporty nature of the original Z car. Fully embracing Pony Car styling, this Japanese pony (long hood, short deck, front-engine, rear-drive) could be described as an Asian Corvette with its two-seat driver-centric cockpit. Neither driver nor passenger will forget they’re in a sports car here. Born with an automatic transmission, this one recently changed to an original-style four-speed, a deviation from stock that few Z-car shoppers will lament.

The vinyl top is believed to be dealer-installed along with the air conditioning, and vinyl tops were available from Datsun as described here on ClassicZCars. According to the seller, the car began its life at the car dealership of Von Hamm-Young, a Hawaiian conglomerate in its day, and the 58,167 miles is claimed as original.

Here’s where the Z differs from most “sporty” cars of the era, with its glorious twin-carbureted inline six-cylinder engine. Long a favorite of classic sports cars and luxury cars as well, the I6 comes inherently balanced and makes more torque than a comparable V8, and they’re simpler to maintain and upgrade with a single cylinder head and single intake and exhaust manifolds. I’ve driven an early Z with a later 2.8L version making over 300 HP, and my only complaint was how stupid my face looked wearing the ridiculous grin I couldn’t stop. This 2.4L original makes 151 HP, more than enough to scare yourself and a passenger in the one-ton two-seater. Thanks to Silodrome for some details.

A host of new parts has this Z back in driving shape, including new brake parts visible here. Clearly it needs more attention before traversing Route 66, but many of the finds showcased here can’t start or cross the street under their own power. Do you have a soft spot for the early Z cars?


  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    My god, vinyl tops look awful on these!

    Like 18
    • Fox owner

      I disagree. The top is almost tasteful, but I go to wonder, why did they do it?

      Like 0
  2. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rack Member

    “It’s not original-they took the automatic out of it!!!” A merciful thing to do for a car like this. And from what you folks back East tell us out here about serious rust issues, the underside looks pretty darn good in the few photos showing it.
    Good bones! Take the vinyl off (or leave it), wipe its nose clean and get ride of the ridiculous door guard on the rear fender area and drive it like it was meant to be driven-“Damn the coal rollers, full speed ahead!!”
    It’s a driver, and good the way it sits-unless you’ve a 5 speed that fits in it…

    Like 6
    • 8banger 8banger Member

      I’m not so sure about the underside looking “pretty darn good” as I think it needs to go soak in a puddle of 5w30 for a few days…

      Like 6
      • Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rack Member

        Agreed, but from some of the stuff we’ve seen lately…
        If I saw this on something left out on a ranch out our way I’d walk away but compared to some of the stuff we’ve seen from east of the Mississippi it looks good even

        Like 0
  3. Tim

    That vinyl roof is hideous. Bad idea. I didn’t think you could make one of these look ugly, but apparently I was wrong. Yikes! I owned a ’73 for several years and still miss it. Fun cars.

    Like 6
    • JoeNYWF64

      I have never see 1 of these before with a vinyl roof, but i have seen an ultra rare ’70s trans am with a vinyl roof! – looked even worse.

      Like 0
  4. Davey Boy

    I guess to each their own. I actually like the vinyl top on this one. I’ve owned a couple of 280ZX cars and although they’re not the exact same car I do like the vinyl top on this. Not so sure about the price but it is the way of the world these days. Good luck with this one.

    Like 2

    There’s a company in Florida that makes a DOHC aluminum head for these, based on a Honda K-series head if memory serves me correctly, that takes these tiny, lightweight sports cars to 350hp. Can you imagine how fun this car would be with that much power? Or terrifying? But the head alone costs around $25k, not including the carb/efi setup so you need to have a nice chunk of change set aside after you purchase the car.

    But as far as this particular car is concerned- I actually think it looks pretty good with the vinyl top, but those wheels gotta go. I just don’t like them for some reason. The silver paint looks great, and if there is any rust in the body, it’s minor and can be easily repaired with some sandpaper and color matched paint. The thing that sticks out most to me is how good of shape the interior is in, these cars are known for two things- rust and an interior that easily deteriorates. I’d love to have it and considering the ridiculous prices these have been trading for the last few years, I think $22k is pretty fair.
    Hopefully a true enthusiast buys it and actually drives it the way it was meant to be driven, and of course shows it off at the local car show and c&c.

    Like 2
  6. james sartor

    Vents in hatch say 1970, not 71.

    Like 1

      70 and 71 had rear vents

      Like 0
      • james sartor

        Bought my 71 new and it didn’t have hatch vents.

        Like 1
    • Steve M Jackson

      Series one cars have the vents. Build date 11/69 through 1/71.
      So all 70 and some 71 models.
      Model year usually starts in September of previous year.

      Like 0
  7. Tbone

    Love the car, hate the wheels and the vinyl top

    Like 5
  8. KH

    I think one of our Z car owners here wants to swap a flathead into it. 🏎️

    Like 2
  9. Frog

    I owned a 1970 1/2 titled 1971. Automatic. If memory serves me correctly the car weighed 1700lbs. Handling and performance was phenomenal. And much more functional than the corvette.

    Like 2
  10. james sartor

    Vents on hatch say 70, not 71.

    Like 1

    It appears to have two cigarette lighters, one in the dash above the hazard switch and one in the console. This suggests that the dashboard has been replaced with one from a later year.

    Like 0
    • FredB

      On my ‘70 1/2, the top lighter location as I understand the description, was a blank, where I installed a toggle to control the Lucas driving lights, which I had located under the bumper.

      Like 0
  12. Mike

    Many fond memories of the early Z cars. My dad had a new 72? 240Z when I was a kid. His was pearl white with a red interior. He’s been gone for 11 years now and his last few years he couldn’t drive anymore. I so wanted to find one like his, drive cross country without him knowing I was coming. Pull up in his driveway to surprise him. Take him to the mall parking lot when it was closed and empty, let him rip it up!
    Man, that would have been fun.

    Like 1
  13. Mickey240z

    70 and early 71, are considered series 1 cars manufactured til about April of 71. Those would have the vents in the hatch, emblems on the side Pilar that say”240z”. May and June you kinda got a mix of series 1 and series 2 features as far as the the other small changes that were being made. It was a ventilation issue. They put the cabin ventilation in the side Pilar vs. Rear hatch, exhaust fumes were totally being sucked in the cabin via the rear hatch vents. They also relocated the fuse panel to right under the radio at the very front of the center console where the early cars had the ashtray and cigarette lighter located. I’ve owned more 240’s than I can count.

    Like 0
    • FredB

      Ah ha. Yep, my vents were on the side. I got confused about what year mine was. Seems I waited forever for it to come in to the dealer, and it’s the only Z I ever owned. Loved it. Funny story…I was traveling from my home in Ohio to Illinois, and got stopped by the State Patrol in Indiana. I got no ticket although my speed was clocked by Vascar as being excessive. The officer just wanted a look at the car. We stood next to it on the Interstate with the hood up, and discussed the engine.

      Like 0
  14. Tim

    On my honeymoon in the 80s I got clocked > 100MPH in my ’73 240z on a rural 2-lane in NE New Mexico. Got a ticket from the state trooper but in those days it was only about $30! One of 2 speeding tickets I got on that trip; the other in the TX panhandle. Still miss that car!

    Like 0

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