Solid Z-Car:1971 Datsun 240Z

With that long hood housing a six-cylinder engine, the short tail, and the ability to seat two people, it is easy to see how many motoring journalists of the day drew direct comparisons between the Datsun 240Z and the original E-Type Jaguar. The 240Z was a sales success when new, and this situation hasn’t changed in the decades since. Good examples are still commanding strong prices decades after the last car rolled off the production line. This particular 240Z is a car that is going to need some work to return it to its best, but it does appear to represent a pretty strong starting point for a restoration. Located in Lehigh Acres, Florida, you will find the 240Z listed for sale here on eBay. Interest in the Datsun has been quite strong, and this has pushed the bidding along to $7,300. At that price, the reserve hasn’t been met.

The 240Z is finished in Universal Blue, a color that was available from the 240Z’s initial release, right through until August of 1971. At that point, it was replaced by a slightly darker shade with the imaginative name of Blue Metallic. When you look at how baked the paint appears to be, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the 240Z has spent a large part of its life in sunny Arizona. While that environment can wreak havoc on paint, it also tends to preserve the metal that can be fragile in these cars. This is the case with this one, with rust issues being very limited. The owner does say that the floors are solid, with only the usual coating of surface corrosion that you can come to expect from an Arizona car. Actual penetrating rust appears to be limited to some spots near the rear of both rockers, which is pretty common. The primer on the rear of the car is from where the car was fitted with a rear spoiler at some point, which has now been removed. The glass and chrome appear to be in good condition, so the car certainly does show a lot of promise.

The same Arizona sun that can be of such an enormous benefit when it comes to the preservation of steel can also be pretty hard on interior vinyl and plastic, and I suspect that this was probably the case for this car. However, steps have been taken to address many of these issues, and it isn’t going to leave the next owner with a massive amount of work to restore this interior. Starting with the negatives, the vinyl on the door trims is pretty stretched, and I believe that it will need replacing. The original radio is also missing, so a replacement of some sort will need to be sourced. There are a couple of additional holes drilled into the side of the console, but I think that these could be repaired, and the console restored. The seats now wear new covers, but the owner suggests that the padding on the base of the driver’s seat will need some attention. The dash also looks quite good, with the pad wearing a new cover. Overall, it isn’t as bad as it could be, and it is one of those interiors that is going to require time and effort, but surprisingly little money, to restore to its best.

Powering the 240Z is the numbers-matching 2,393cc OHC straight-six engine, and in original form, it produced 151hp. The power is sent to the rear wheels through a manual transmission, but it isn’t clear whether this car is fitted with the 4-speed or 5-speed version. Giving the 240Z terrific road manners and handling is the 4-wheel independent suspension. As you can see, this engine has received a few upgrades, and it really should be breathing quite nicely. Triple Weber 40mm DCOE carburetors direct the air/fuel mixture into the engine, assisted by a more aggressively ground camshaft. Spent gases exit via a set of headers and an Abarth exhaust system. Handling should also benefit from lowered suspension and the fitment of urethane suspension bushes. All of that augers well for a car that should be quite a potent little performer, while the suspension upgrades, coupled with nice new tires, should allow the 240Z to grip tenaciously in the corners. The owner does still have the original hubcaps for the car, but these will need restoring. There are also some other parts included with the 240Z, and these should assist the next owner in the restoration process. The owner states that everything on the Datsun works as it should and that the car could definitely be used as a daily driver.

If someone is looking for a 240Z to restore and isn’t too committed to the concept of originality, then this is a car that could be a good one to consider. It appears to be a solid car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed, and the mechanical modifications should ensure that it is an enormous amount of fun to drive on a twisting piece of tarmac. Even the person who is seeking an original car could consider this one because none of the modifications that have been performed are irreversible. This is a car that offers the next owner a few alternatives, and having some choices to make is never a bad thing when considering a classic car project.

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Comments

  1. CapNemo CapNemo Member

    The vinyl on the door trims.
    Hubcaps.
    Yeah.

    1
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Back around 1974 I looked at a new one. Thing was the dealer just didn’t want to deal on the thing, he wanted sticker+ and everything just kept climbing on it so he kept this car, Bought a Malibu instead.
    Funny thing was living in the Midwest, seemed the rust demons had a heyday with them. Couple of years later and seemed like almost every one I saw had extensive rust on them.
    Whether it’s good or not would depend on a personal inspection plus what the reserve is on this one. I think it has potential, but at what price?

    3
  3. Haig Haleblian

    240Z was one of the most unispirational cars I ever owned. A giant yawn.

    1
  4. Dan

    Could there possibly be a worse choice of mufflers for this car? That thing needs to go! The six-pack sidedraft setup, though maybe terribly impractical, is awesome. This promises to be a fun, if pricey, car.

    3
  5. Rube Goldberg

    Yeah, these are ok, clearly a spirited mover, no air filter pretty dumb, IDK, has a fantastic motor, but you have to get used to the cheap Asian car around it. Stuff like those door cards, crummy seats, chinsey door handles, the rest of the car, it ain’t no Porsche. And you talk about rust, these were a very poor investment, as many looked just like this in only a few years, when the front shock towers let go, as seen here, it was over. The whole thing about Z cars, is they are fun to drive, I’d think the way this is set up, it would be a pain. I’d dump the carbs, put the old tried and true SU’s back on ( hey, I had no trouble with SU’s for many miles) and enjoy my rust free Z car.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/74458080@N00/2247840738

    3
  6. H5mind

    I remember when Nissan bought up all the best 240Z chassis they could find and remanufactured them to OEM specs to be sold to collectors. If I recall, the price was $25K. They must all be hibernating in bubbles because I have yet to see one in person.

    3
  7. Car Nut Tacoma

    Lovely looking car. I’ve always loved the Datsun 240Z through 280ZX.

    3
  8. PairsNPaint

    4:20 pm Sunday: bidding at $10,600, reserve still not met.

  9. Charles Hurst

    I bought an early model-as is this car-and drove it for 150K miles before it was too rusted to be safe. One of the most reliable cars I ever owned, and I used it to flat tow my 356 hillclimb car. Paid $3990 out the door in 1971. I did lose all but one hub cap.

    2
    • Car Nut Tacoma

      Rust can certainly do a car in, can’t it? I’ve always loved Datsuns and Toyotas of the 1970s, if nothing else, for the engines and drivetrains.

  10. g Wentzell

    I went the other route and got a 1978 810 wagon, essentially a Z car frame and drivetrain sitting on a wagon body. Air and 5 speed – all you needed. Fun car that was taken out by a distracted driver, head on, opposed crash at 40mph. Both cars (hers was a Jetta) were totaled. I got more in the insurance pay off than what I paid for the car.

    1

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