Series 1 Automatic: 1971 Datsun 240Z

In some cases, finding a sports car equipped with an automatic transmission is a good thing, as it means a vehicle that would otherwise typically be abused has survived in better-than-expected condition thanks to being used as more of a cruiser than a true performance car. The 240Z shown here is a desirable Series 1 model, which puts it among the freshmen class of Z cars, but it’s equipped with an automatic transmission which is typically maligned in the vintage car community. However, in this instance, the 240Z has apparently been left relatively unscathed, aside from the exterior being in dire need of finishing and a respray. Find the 240Z here on eBay with bids to just over $4,000 and the reserve unmet.

The seller reports that he snagged this 240Z survivor from the proverbial little old lady, who apparently received the car as a gift in high school from her father (thanks, dad!) She kept the 240Z long after she stopped using it, and attempts were made to preserve it as much as possible – hence the primer sprayed all over the body. Overall, the seller indicates it is a solid car with some evidence of rust repair and prior attempts to extract cancerous sections, with seemingly all of the work performed to driver quality. The orange paint you see here is likely the original color, and the vents are still present just below the glass on the hatch – a key indicator this a Series 1 car.

The interior remains in great shape, with the original black buckets showing very little in terms of flaws. The automatic really does sap a lot of the fun out of this iconic Japanese sports car, but a quick Google search indicates there’s a turnkey kit available for converting your automatic Z car into a three-pedal example. I’ve actually had two cars this year converted to manuals, and while  it was a tedious process, the benefits clearly outweighed the negatives, which largely stemmed from how long it took. The Datsun seen here seems like a perfect candidate for this kind of work, especially if the body is as solid as the seller seems to indicate.

The engine bay is bone stock, right down to the original air cleaner housing. The best part about this Datsun is how original it appears all the way through, which lends a great deal of credence to the seller’s story in terms of who owned this car and how it’s been stored these last few years. The only deviations from stock condition are a cheap aftermarket radio and the horrific wire wheel covers, which seems like a typical grandma thing to do when trying to hide the fact that the original hubcaps are long gone – just grab whatever you can find at the local Ace Hardware store. Overall, this seems like a Series 1 worth rescuing, provided the rust concerns aren’t any worse than described here.


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  1. CCFisher

    It’s not often one has the opportunity to by a complete set of Walmart wire wheel covers!

    Like 4
    • Ralph

      Thanks! Now that I know an old lady owned it, am not as disgusted.

      Like 2
  2. Al

    I really like the camou paint job, it reminds me of my ‘Nam junket.

    I didn’t realize that this paint was available in 1971 or I would have considered it. But such is life, when you are not aware of available opportunities.

    Like 7
  3. Freddy

    Al, you crack me up. Thank you for your service. As for the car: I didn’t even know you could get an automatic in one of these. But it might be help with the inevitable swap with an LS pullout motor with an automatic

    Like 1
  4. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    Seller doesn’t indicate body is solid, he indicates a lot of “Prior repair”, and solid areas nearby. Bondo is solid repair, until it gets wet and swells. “Prior repair with body filler at base between wheel house and right door. This repair appears a bit more extensive than others as it appears to have thicker body filler.”

    Like 2

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