Cohort Outtake: Original Datsun 240Z – A Rare Survivor

Datsun 1971 240 Z fq

Mike Hayes found what has become a rare thing on the road these days: an original Datsun 240Z. Original, in two ways: the first of the long Z Car series, and the best looking, for sure. And original as in its condition. Very few survived the huge Z-Car customizing mania that raged like an epidemic across the land for a couple of decades, resulting in mostly abominations along with a few decently done ones. But here’s how it looked, when the 240Z arrived in the fall of 1970.

Datsun 1971 240 Z emblem

I did a proper CC on the 240Z here, so I’m not going to very in-depth this time around. Let’s just say that the Z was the biggest revolution in the affordable sports car market just about ever, at least until the Miata showed up. Just like in so many other segments, the Japanese broke barriers in terms of content, performance, value and most of all, reliability. That was a factor sorely missing, and the Z and Miata re-wrote the book. Never mind that the Z had an unbeatable bang for the buck factor at the time, arriving with a phenomenal $3500 price tag.

Datsun 1971 240 Z rq

Yes, these are very notorious rusters. And in very nasty places, like around the front inner structure, which cause scary damage. My son’s friend had a 280Z some years back; the outside of the body didn’t look bad, but when I looked under the hood, I blanched. The whole front end structure was rotten. They wisely ditched it shortly afterwards.

But this one is still in one piece, and we can celebrate that here today.