In 1970, Datsun (now Nissan) completely changed the sports car world with the launch of the 240Z. The new Z car was a sports coupe that looked like Ferrari and Jaguar designs, boasted a strong-performing SOHC inline-6 engine and was available for only $3,500.
The 240Z had fully independent suspension, front disk brakes and great performance. And it was comfortable, did not leak water into the cabin and was amazingly reliable. Never before had a sporty car offered so much for so little.
In a market segment dominated by MG and Triumph from England, and Fiat and Alfa Romeo from Italy, the 240Z from Japan swept the floor with the competition, often for considerably less money.
The Pick of the Day is one of these 1970s icons, a 1972 Datsun 240Z that has received a no-expense-spared and almost-flawless restoration to factory original condition, according to the Corona, California, dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com.
The Z car is finished in factory-correct Orange Blossom paint with a correctly restored black vinyl interior. The only incorrect item I see in the photos with the ad is the aftermarket leather-covered steering wheel; the rest of the car looks to be correct and excellent, right down to the hard-to-source original hub caps.
After the arrival of the 240Z, sports cars were never the same, and to add insult to injury, the 240Z was as good on the track as it was in the showroom, racking up victories driven by the likes of John Morton, Elliot Forbes-Robinson and Paul Newman.
But despite being an excellent and most-reliable sports car, 240Z’s values fell throughout the 1980s and ’90s until you could buy a near-perfect example for as little as $10,000.
Then in the early 2000s, the world woke up. The 240Z was finally recognized as a viable classic sports car and prices began to rise for nice examples. The car now finally receives the respect that it is due.
The 240Z is a phenomenal car for weekend drives and vintage rallies, and it is now accepted at quite a few shows and concours events. In fact, a 240Z won its class against Ferraris and Jaguars four years ago at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance.
The 240Z also is widely recognized as a collector car that still has quite a bit of room for appreciation, which makes the asking price of $24,000 for this well-done Datsun seem not so steep.
Plus, you could be getting in ahead of the value curve on this Z. Twenty years ago, you could have bought a restored Jaguar E-type for that price, and look at them now.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.