posted at the Cohort by David Edwards
CC by PN
Review by R&T
I see LOTS of rust on the lower parts of that Datsun. It’s only good for parts for a rust-free project now. 71 Model?
It felt oddly good to type ‘Datsun’. They should have kept the name. Perhaps Datsun could have called their upscale division ‘Nissan’ instead of ‘Infiniti’.
I read somewhere that they just stopped using the Datsun name in developing markets in the past two months.
I grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia. The roads were heavily salted for the first snowfall of the season, whether it was a foot or merely a flurry. After that first snow forecast, there was generally just sand to be spread. The year-round high humidity made it a place of moderate rusting. Most 240Zs looked like the one above by the late ’80s. My older sister graduated in 1985. Some of her classmates had rusty 240Zs or 260Zs, but it seemed like the were past roadworthiness by the time I got my license in January of 1986.
I really, really wanted one of these circa 1973. Of course I didn’t have the money and my financial situation was such that I couldn’t borrow the money I needed. Instead of the Z car I ended up purchasing a used Vega GT and a small Kawasaki on/off road bike. With the benefit of hindsight I probably should have eaten ramen for several months and built up enough of a nest egg to purchase a 240. Oh well, life goes on.
Having owned a Vega GT myself, at a time when a 240Z was way beyond reach (not to mention the new 260Z), I thinking owning a Vega built more character. Even if it required a ramen diet, the Z would have been too easy. Of course, I was driving a Vega AND eating ramen.
Datsun 240Z the export Fairlady, the only really aspirational car Datsun ever made then they ruined it.
This was spotted in a PEI junkyard a while back. All that iron oxide in the soil (The Big Red Mud) and salt air does no favour for the cars, with most looking worse than an equivalent Ontario car.
Even in this condition the 2 seater early Zs still tug at my heartstrings with their great proportions and fine design. And check out those period slot mags!
In addition to the mags, someone added 280Z hood louvers (only used on the ’77-’78 cars).
Well spotted, Dave!
Btw, I love your articles, especially the technical and “hands on” ones – please keep’em coming!
Steadily improving my daily driver Karmann Ghia – this week I’m re-bushing the shifter mechanism and giving the old thing electronic ignition….Working on them really shows you how different the engineering character of old German cars is to American and British ones I have had.
In the Calumet Region, they looked way worse than this one by the early 80s.
Around the mid 80s, I became friends with a dude whose dad was trying to build a good one out of three worn examples. In the first year I saw the first one go from rusty to crusty-rusty than pretty much to dust. The halfway decent-bodied one rusted out before the panels could be switched over to the good-runner. Eventually all three were junked. They rusted so fast you could almost watch it in real time.
I’ve only seen clean examples in pictures.
Of course I have all the Z-cars up to the last model in 1/64 scale thanks to Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Majorette, Tomica, and Realtoy. They never rust at all since I am much too old to play with them in the bathtub.
But I have anyway.
I had a 1978 280z 2+2 with a 5sp and every option . I could work on the car because it was so simple to work on. You could go 75mph and rpm were 2300 I really miss that car. I later had a 93 300zx a good car biggest complaint was it needed a 6sp not the 5sp but the 280z was the best
I’ve had several old Zs. A ’72, 73, 75 and a one owner ’77 280z 2+2 5 speed. I must have parted out another three or four. My ’77 was the real driver that I kept for four or five years. Even California cars would get a bit of rust but nothing like the snow belt. These cars had a spacious driver’s cockpit with great ergonomics. They wouldn’t seem special today, but compare them to something like a ’70 Mustang, and they were a revelation. Plenty of leg room, adjustable rake seat back, steering column mounted lights, wipers and ignition switch, All the ventilation and radio controls could be reached while belted in. They were quite practical with the hatch, plenty fast for the times, got acceptable economy, and were very satisfying to drive. And to top it off, they were real good looking. Needless to say I sold every one of my early Zs for a song, that’s all they worth at the time. the 510 was more sought after during the mid 2000s. If I ever get another Z it will have to be a 350 or 370, I can’t afford an early edition.
I should start posting some of the cars we have at our shop on the cohort, our shop is one of the top Z car shops on the west coast and as far as I know the top in Seattle area. We have at any time at least one of any given generation hanging about the place. Between those and them (damn) Skylines one becomes numb to their rarity. I will try to do better. We usually have some very nice and rare cars about the place.
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