Solid Californian: 1972 Datsun 240Z

There probably isn’t a lot to be said about the Datsun 240Z that hasn’t already been said or written at some stage. Ignoring the comparisons to the early E-Type Jaguar, one thing that can be said about the 240Z is that it is a great and enjoyable car to drive. This one is largely original and unmolested and is located in Brentwood, California You will find it listed for sale here on eBay.

The owner believes that the New Sight Orange paint that you see on the car is original. Rust is conspicuous by its absence, with the really prone areas like the lower quarters, rockers, floors, and around the inside of rear hatch all looking very clean. It looks like there may be a small spot on the rear quarter close to the gas filler door, a few small spots in the lower fenders, and some appearing around the rear glass, but that seems to be about it. The paint is looking pretty sad, and the top is starting to peel, so a repaint is certainly on the cards. In all honesty, if I were to buy this car, I would probably try to take it back to bare metal, as the long-term value of the car would justify the effort.

The engine in this Datsun is the numbers-matching 2,393cc straight-six engine, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. The owner is pretty open here. He says that the car is showing 61,000 miles on the clock, but he believes that it has rolled over once. He also says that the motor starts and runs, but not how well it does either of these things. The only other reference that we get is that the slave cylinder will need to be looked at. The seals and bores on these can deteriorate over time, and it is easier and cheaper to replace the slave cylinder completely, rather than mess around with it.

The interior is going to require complete refurbishment, and this is potentially the area which could cause the new owner the most grief. The vast majority of interior trim items for a 240Z are available as either NOS products or as high-quality reproductions. The hardest item to source and replace is probably going to be the dash pad, as the original one has multiple cracks in it, and is probably not going to be able to be repaired effectively. Still, nothing is impossible.

Regardless of any other comparisons, one quality that both the Series I E-Type and the 240Z share is the fact that both have experienced significant value increases over the past decade or so. A good 240Z will currently sell for around $22,000, while an immaculate one will run closer to $35,000. The bidding on this particular car has been strong, with 10 bidders pushing the price to $7,200 at the time of writing. People appear to be willing to fight for this one, and with the reserve having been met, this 240Z will be going to the highest bidder.

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  1. Howard A

    Not me, I’m done looking at peoples junk they want big bucks for. Nothing but headaches here.

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    I agree with Howard that this Z-Car is overpriced, for what is for all intents and purposes, a project. It looks like it sat in someone’s back yard somewhere in the San Fernando Valley for a number of years. (I know, as I used to live there back in the 1970s…)

    On the plus side, the paint does look to be original, as do the license plates, which are 1972 issue.

    The downside is that there’s going to be a lot of work and money – especially the latter – to bring this Datsun back to showroom condition.

    Shame I gave away my original 240Z wheel covers many decades ago. I might have been able to sell them to the car’s new owner… ;-)

    • Miguel

      Actually, I don’t think Brentwood in the valley. I think it is on the other side of the hill.

  3. Bear

    1972 was THE most desirable year for these 240s.
    Great little “rice rockets”!! (y) (y)

    Gotta check them over for rust, & past accidents that might have “twisted” the unibody. A simple walk-around to check that all of the door, hatch, & hood gaps are even is a good 1st check. Then check the rockers, fenders, strut towers, and window mounts for rust.
    Struts will likely need to be replaced.
    SU Carbs will likely need to be rebuilt.
    U-joints are another common problem area.
    But they are GREAT FUN to drive once they are in running order!! :-)

    • Bear

      Given the fact that this is a California car speaks well for the “rust concern”.
      I am always AMAZED how “rust free” old cars from CA (or AZ) can be.
      I have been known to drive cross-country on more than one occasion to acquire a solid example of a classic that I don’t need to do any rust repair on. Personally I’d rather pay for transport/shipping costs than deal with costs & hassle of rust repair. :-)

      • Miguel

        Just being a California car doesn’t guarantee no rust. If it has lived its life in Malibu or San Diego, you really should check the car for rust.

  4. ken tilly

    After having driven both Jag E Types and Datsun 240 Z’s fairly extensively over the years I still fail to see the comparison.They were both exciting to drive, the E Type more so, but the 240 was very noisy mainly due to the differential not being insulated from the cabin, by nothing other than a piece of carpeting.

    • Howard A

      Naturally, the Jag is going to be the better of the 2, but I think the Z cars were just the same kind of car, 6 cylinder, 2 seat, rear hatch, but was no Jag. At the time, kind of the “poor man’s Jag” although that saying is horribly out of date today.

  5. Christopher A. Junker

    I’ve been in both and the refinement of the E type over the Z is obvious after just a few miles. What is not obvious was the Z’s front end lift with a full gas tank and luggage when I took it over 80. Nice engine and tranny though, the tranny especially.

  6. David

    The antenna should be retractable. It goes up automatically when you turn on the radio. This year and model was one of my favourite drivers.

  7. bog

    This one has (had) merit and sold for 13 plus. Esp nice with thin bumpers. I was a member of Windy City Z Club in 1980 ++++ and the revered older members had these or 260s. However, BOTH were prone to vapor lock on hot days driving back from Road America. Since my ZX never had that issue, I got to be “chase” car carrying multiple coolers full of ice…..LOL ! And I concur, not even close to an “E” Jag…

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