Solid Driver: 1972 Datsun 240Z

It’s amazing to see how quickly old-school Z cars took off in recent years, especially for the first run of the 240Z. The Series 1 cars are practically untouchable at this stage, and long-dormant projects are even being pulled out of the shed and selling for good money. Really, the smartest play right now is to either happen upon one that the seller isn’t hawking for big money or to buy a later 240Z like this car that will still fetch a good price but won’t require refinancing your house. The 1972 240Z seen here is described as a mostly rust-free car with a healthy drivetrain and very nice interior. Find it here on eBay with bidding at $11,000 and a Buy-It-Now of $25,000.

We don’t get to see many of these 240Zs in white and in such nice condition. While there’s a tendency to associate Z cars of this era with bright oranges and yellows, white works very nicely in tandem with the chrome bumpers. The wheels are period-correct and fill out the arches nicely. The body looks laser straight down the sides, but it’s hard to say whether the panel fit is even – the gap looks larger by where the door meets the rear quarter panel versus the hood line. The seller notes some minor bubbling near the cowling and rear hatch on the driver’s side, and also mentions that this is not the original paint job.

The interior is a treat and reminds you why the 240Z is so special. The cockpit quite sporting, with nicely bolstered bucket seats, auxiliary gauges atop the dash, wood-rimmed steering wheel, and full center console. A surprising number of  Z cars came with automatic transmissions, but not this one. The door panels also look darn near mint in the gallery photos, and although it’s hard to tell for sure, the dash pad doesn’t appear to be cracked – which is extremely hard to find in any generation Z. The only real disappointment is an aftermarket radio that looks out of place in the otherwise original interior.

Engine-wise, the seller reports that the installed engine is not numbers matching but that the original block, E88 head, and crank are all included in the sale. No details are offered around why the engine was removed, but the current powerplant is said to run well with a smooth idle and excellent clutch engagement. New and extra parts are included in the sale, such as new weather stripping for the rear hatch and passenger door, black interior vinyl kit, and spares including brakes, interior trim, and door and quarter glass. This 240Z is priced in the sweet spot right now for cars that are better than projects but also haven’t been restored, and this asking price will likely look cheap in just a few years.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    No mention of why it has the earlier front bumper.

  2. Howard A Member

    Fantastic cars, changed the world in classic Asian fashion, but something extremely unsettling about the lead photo. Z cars and snow did not mix. Fact is, just having it out on a snow covered drive for photos, it’s probably already starting to rust. I sure missed the boat by buying an MGB rather than one of these, but as much as I drove that MGB in the winter, I wouldn’t have got half the life with a Z car. At the time, not much could compare to these, almost like an affordable XKE, and they were very popular. 5 years MAX, and they were no longer safe to drive. Front shock towers rusted and that was it. Saw a lot of Z car beaters in the north. Nice find, tho.

  3. Fred

    I remember as a kid I used to climb into one at a local dealership and imagine racing around town. I fit pretty well. I was 12 years old. I think I would need a shoe horn (or cut off my legs at the knees) to fit into one now.

    • Chuck

      IDK, I’m 6’2″ and owned four of these back in the day (’72,’73,’74-1/2, and a ’77). I fit fine and made quite a few long road trips with the wife in them. We did 21 days, 6000+ miles in the 280 in ’77.

      Like 1
      • Fred

        6’2” isn’t tall, its just slightly above average, shorty

        Like 1
      • Fred

        Great story Chuck. I’m 6’7” and would have to cut off my legs at the knees to fit. Difference between ‘kinda tall’ and tall.

      • DKW

        Actually, Fred – average male height in the US is between 5’7″ and 5’10”, you freaky tall guy. 6’7″… hell, I’d have paid good money to break into the 6′ range at all. I’m on the shorter side of the “real” average.

        Like 1
      • Fred

        Sorry, I wasn’t TRYING to be a jerk (I come by that naturally), I just felt like I was being called out as a liar for saying that I don’t fit in these cars. I’ve tried, and I don’t. I was 6’2” entering my sophomore year. Being tall is kind of nice in some ways, but it is very impractical. Sports cars are out.

  4. Frank Sumatra

    Too bad Datsun/Nissan turned this beauty into the automotive “Fat Elvis”. I would add this to the E-Type Jag and 1963 Corvette as one of the best designs of the 20th century.

    Like 5
  5. Malcolm Boyes

    IMHO..every early Z looks so much better with perspex headlight covers. This looks like a good solid car and you’ll never lose $$ on it.

    • Ike Onick

      “Perspex” ?? You are not from around here, are you? My people call it “plexiglass”

  6. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    I definitely wish I had bought one of these in 72 instead of my Lemans (almost a GTO) GT. Especially when my next door neighbor bought his silver 260Z shortly after.

    Granted, many models tend to morph into “Fat Elvis” versions over time. And while my 370Z will never be mistaken for a 240Z, I have no regrets.
    332HP in a 2 seater not that much bigger than a Miata? Oh yeah.

    Like 2
  7. Elmo

    Check for frame rust.

    Like 1
  8. JoeNYWF64

    This is one import i would like to see a dynacorn for. A true import pony car with that LONG hood & short rear deck.
    When i see a modern 2 door civic with a gigantic windshield almost twice as long as the “hood”(!), i just shake my head repeatedly left to right – & back. & say to myself, “that’s all messed up” …
    Well, at least the above 2 door has now been discontinued, but think of what’s left at Honda – or the others for that matter.

  9. Timmerz

    Never forget my first drive in a 240z, buddy of mine in high school had one and I was aware of the hype surrounding them, so I asked him what the big deal was, and he handed me the keys and said you need to drive it…so I got in behind the wheel and he got in passenger, I fired it up and proceeded to swing around the left corner and punched it going into second coming out of the corner, and that fkng rocket almost took my head off…as I regained control and looked at him with my eyes wide, he said “Now you know…”
    Never forgot that moment! His name was Tim Carbral, at Bishop O’Dowd High, and of you’re reading this Tim, thanks a mil for fueling my future car fetishes!! LOLOL!!

    Like 1
  10. angliagt angliagt Member

    I used to detail cars back when these were new,
    specializing in 240s.Did a lot of “extra” driving that I probably
    shouldn’t have.
    Anyone else remember that “peppery” smell of the interior
    when these were new?

  11. wardww

    That has got to be one of the best looking survivor 240s I have ever seen, and it is still a DD
    I mean what point is there having early Z car if you can’t drive it because it’s been “restored” and now is only allowed out on the weekends? I’d DD this all day long.

    And you can call me……………Mr Joshua

  12. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $20,000.

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