The First And Best? 1970 Datsun 240Z

So, some will say that the first iteration of anything is the best, especially movies, we could wax on for years about Star Wars or The Godfather, etc. And that concept goes for cars too, or at least it did in the past – so many today are such uninspired lumps that first, last, somewhere in the middle doesn’t seem to matter. Anyway, take this 1970 Datsun 240Z, light, svelte, unencumbered, and powerful is one description that would be applicable. Were the later fatter, longer, and heavier versions better? I really don’t know but there is something to be said about this Denver, Colorado domiciled subject. It is available, here on craigslist for $14,500. Mark_ K gets a tip of the hat for this discovery!

The story of the 240Z is well known. First available in the U.S. for the ’70 model year the Z car grew and changed over the years. There was a 260Z – with silly-looking Federally mandated ramming bumpers, a 280Z, a stretched 2+2, a 280 ZX which morphed to the 300 ZX, and on and on. Fortunately, the Z car is still with us in the form of the 370Z. I say fortunately because there just aren’t that many options in that sports car realm anymore. But, is the 370Z really better than the original 240? Probably impossible to answer. Modern cars are safer in collisions, handle and brake better, are cleaner running, and probably have notably greater reliability. But they sorta drive themselves, that visceral feel and noise of running through the gears, or heel and towing the brake/gas pedal as you cut into a curve, all that old-way stuff is missing in a new ride. I guess it depends on what one’s expectations are.

Well, unfortunately, there will be no rowing the gears with our subject Z, it has an automatic transmission – what a bummer! The 151 gross HP, 2.4 liter, in-line six-cylinder engine will still offer lively performance but the automatic gearbox damps down the fun. The seller states, “Runs and Drives… car needs brakes but has new oil change, new coolant, flush, fresh tune-up“. OK, so it goes but maybe doesn’t stop.

There is no description of the exterior’s condition so the few included images will have to do the talking. What shows? Straight body with no signs of finish fade, crash damage, road rash, or rust. There’s a bump strip that has been added along the flanks, it somewhat breaks up this first-gen Z’s great, smooth lines, but, it’s cheap insurance against careless and oversized parkers who have a knack of sidling up to you regardless of where you have chosen to park – they will always find you!

I have an old high school friend who had a ’70 240Z back in the mid-’80s and I remember the interior specifically. It was an enveloping, total driver’s environment – it seemed like a car that was serious about road manners. The interior, including the cargo area, looks like it’s in good nick and not really in need of any improvement. Note the vents in the seatbacks – a neat Datsun touch!

So is the first the best? Well, you got to start somewhere and I’d say Datsun/Nissan certainly got it right just out of the starting gate. I’d greatly prefer a manual transmission version, and the mileage, at 138K is a bit up there, but this example looks like a well cared for 240Z, certainly deserving of a new life with a new owner, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    Something fishy here – if it’s as good as it looks,
    it should be priced much higher than this.

    Like 7
  2. alphasud Member

    I agree it almost seems to good to be true. CO plates and Denver phone number might be legit too. I have a friend in Denver and this is a bucket list car for me however timing is not right. Otherwise I would on this one and lining up a manual transmission, pedals, and drive shaft looks like a clean car that just needs mechanicals which is up my alley.

    Like 1
  3. DRV

    Agree that something is way wrong! A rust inspection is on top of the list. This hatch vented early Z is a steal if all is real.

  4. Bick Banter

    The autotragic might be one reason it’s so cheap. But yeah, in this market, especially with all of the hype surrounding the new Z coming out (which I think looks great FWIW), the price seems suspiciously low.. I would approach carefully. A PPI would be a must.

    Like 1
  5. Rw

    Sumpin fishy ,if not totally rot LS swap

  6. angliagt angliagt Member

    The posting’s still up,so something’s not right.
    If it was anywhere near as good as it looks,it would’ve
    been gone in the first day.

    Like 1
  7. Mikefromthehammer

    Not enough pedals for me.

    Like 2
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Another one of those ads that makes me question whether the seller actually owns it or stumbled upon it in a parking garage and is running a scam.

    I’m probably wrong, but pulling it outside and taking some better pics would definitely help the cause.

    Like 1
  9. Ward William

    An original unmolested 240z for less than 15k. ?!?!?!?!? It’s either a pure BS scam or I am dead and this is heaven. Do not try to revive me.

  10. Will Irby

    This one is a duplicate of the car a friend had–same color, and unfortunately the same auto trans, which dampened the fun significantly. His was the first 240Z sold in Mississippi, so we thought we were pretty cool at the time.

  11. Kenn

    Probably not a chance that the seller just wants to get rid of the car and doesn’t want the hassle of “tire kickers” beating down an asking price. Maybe not chance they are altruistic enough to want to see it go to someone who will keep it and drive it, not just flip it. Where I’m coming from? I sold a boat for what I knew was substantially less than what it was worth just to get rid of it.

  12. Glenn Salada

    I had a 72′ 240Z….I had a car museum on the Outer Banks of N.C. at the time named “The Rear View Mirror…”
    We opened in 1985, and the building was very impressive on the outside…we had a artist who used Styrofoam glued to the outside front wall, (which was approximately 50 yards long), who used a hand tool to sculpture the wall…

    Like 1
  13. Glenn Salada

    Anyways, “The Rear View Mirror,” car museum had a 72′ Datsun 240Z as a daily driver….The museum had a unique hand carved outside front wall that was 50 yards long, and was covered with hand sculptured cars that had a 3-D effect….I was the manager and assisted with every aspect of the museum…😊…that 240 was a blast to drive…it had the light lime green color, which was cool to me….the museum was in Nags
    Head, N.C. on the outer banks….I drove every kind of vehicle Emanuele, and that 240Z was among th

    Like 1
  14. Glenn Salada

    Well, another of collector cars….the museum was on the Outer Banks, in Nags Head….it was only open from 1985, until around 1992….there were some financial difficulties because my partner, George Crocker, got ripped off from a investment banker, who he had a second mortgage with…long story short, second mortgages in N.C. are worthless because of the Anti-Difficentcy set up in the 1930’s….so be careful to all that have property in N.C….second mortgages are worthless…so we had to close the “Rear View Mirror” car
    museum…had a great time though….this car does seem low in it’s bidding….should be close to 22,000….but this economy is shakey….who knows what will happen in 6 months….George Crocker was a great guy…he told me once that in the 50’s there was only one street light in Nags Head, N.C….!!!….and after September 1st, the Outer Banks literally shut down for the tourist season…sorry for the long message

    Like 1

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