Before Datsun’s stylish and affordable 240Z fastback coupe arrived on the scene, Americans were stubbornly skeptical of Japanese automobiles. Despite Datsun’s dominant presence in SCCA racing with the 510 sedan and 1600/2000 roadsters, it still took something special to win over American buyers’ famously fickle hearts. Designed specifically for this market, the 240Z offered four-wheel independent suspension, an overhead-cam inline-six, and superior reliability, all at a highly competitive price compared to its competition. The beautiful and exciting Datsun 240Z captured the hearts of buyers from the moment it arrived and transformed not only Datsun’s reputation but also nearly all of the Japanese motor industry as they made inroads in the all-important American market. The 240Z remains one of the most widely-beloved Japanese cars of all time, and in recent years, it has made the jump from cult-classic to a serious collector car.
The 1972 240Z featured here is a lovely example of Datsun’s groundbreaking sports car that’s enjoyed regular care and maintenance by a series of dedicated enthusiasts. In the early 2000s, it received a ground-up restoration by marque specialists Awesome Z of Houston, Texas. Having been a long-time Texas car before the restoration, it was reportedly very solid, necessitating only minor repairs to the structure. The restored shell was then sprayed in this striking shade of red (Toyota “Absolutely Red”) and fitted with new chrome bumpers, new gaskets, weather stripping, and details like new old stock taillights. Fit and finish are very good and car remains crisp and attractive. Period-style touches include white factory-style rocker stripes and 14-inch Panasport alloy wheels, fitted with fresh 195/70 radials for the ideal stance.
The interior was fully restored and updated with black leather seat upholstery that mimics the pattern of the originals. Details of the restoration include a rare original Nissan wood shift knob, restored original wood steering wheel, and factory OE replacement dash. An Alpine AM/FM/CD audio system provides an alternative to the gutsy six-cylinder soundtrack, and for the purist, the original radio accompanies the sale.
The leather seats are in fine order, displaying some minor creasing and character, consistent with the age of the restoration. Door panels are true to original specification and in good condition, and the same goes for the carpets and upholstered cargo area. Beneath the boot floor is an original steel spare wheel and Bridgestone tire.
Nissan’s 2.4-liter inline-six is one of the all-time great classic engines. Torquey and powerful, the six is perfect pairing for the 240Z’s superb chassis. This car’s original, number-matching engine was completely rebuilt during the initial restoration, and it has been maintained in excellent condition since.
The chrome Nissan “2400 OHC” cam cover, chrome individual air cleaners, and polished accessories, complement the excellent engine bay paintwork. The correct SU carburetors were restored by specialists Z Therapy of Salem Oregon. It also features a ceramic coated header feeding a sports exhaust system, and a discreetly integrated R-134 air conditioning system. The underside is well-detailed, with uprated sport suspension and a very rare factory splash pan.
Prior to its restoration, this Z featured on the cover of Ben Millspaugh’s reference book, “Z Car: A Legend in its Own Time,” a copy of which is included in the sale. In 2006, this car was shown at the 19th International Z Car Convention in Dallas, Texas, scoring 290 points and the Gold Cup award, which remains with the car. In the year since, it has been cherished by its caretakers it remains a marvelous example of Datsun’s beautiful, game-changing sports coupe.