CC Outtake: Datsun 240Z- Still Hard At Work, Or Still Needing Hard Work

I love beautifully restored vintage cars as much as the next car geek, but there’s something about a bona fide classic still being used as a daily transportation beater that makes me smile.

Such was my reaction upon stumbling across this well-worn early Z in the “Back 40” section of the Culver City / Marina Del Rey Home Depot parking lot in the early evening, a few days before Christmas. On that particular day, my buddy Don and I were picking up 2,000 lbs. worth of construction gravel for his backyard landscaping project. While my truck was being loaded up, I spotted this sitting off in the distance and immediately grabbed my phone. At the time I only got the chance to take one picture, as it was getting late and we were meeting friends for dinner soon after. I took one cursory pic and then skedaddled, thinking that was the first and last time I’d see this car.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I encountered this very same Z once again, just this past weekend. I can only assume that it belongs to one of the store’s employees here. This time Don and I were picking up a few little odds and ends, and while Don was paying at the register, I dashed outside and snapped a few more pics. As you can see, this Z is either a work in progress, or a stalled ( but driveable ) project. Hard to tell which. As you can see, it needs a little work.

The thin bumpers, body-color taillight panel, and small protruding taillight lenses with their integrated reverse lights denote this as being a 1970-1973 model Z. Later examples sported slightly larger, recessed rear lamps with inboard reverse lights, set into a matte gray panel.

The generous patina, missing door mirror, mangled trim, and practically destroyed interior indicate that this car has not had an easy life. Even so, I give kudos to the owner for keeping it running. Hopefully one day it will receive some much-needed cosmetic and interior work. Just a few rattle cans of Dupli-Color enamel and some cheap fake sheepskin seat covers would work wonders for this tired old Z. In any case, I’m happy just to see one of these that’s still around.