Race-ready 1970 Nissan Z brings nearly $804,000 at Tokyo auction

Well-preserved lightweight brings record price at BH Auction in Japan

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BH Datsun
This rare and race-ready 1970 Nissan Fairlady (AKA Datsun 240Z) sells for record price at auction in Japan | BH Auction photos

If you had any doubt about the desirability of Japanese Domestic Market vehicles in the current collector car marketplace, those doubts should evaporate when you learn that a 1970 Nissan Fairlady (aka Datsun 240Z) sold for a record $803,857 (88.55 million yen) on January 12 at the BH Auction in Tokyo.

The Z432R was one of only around 30 such vehicles built for racing with lighter body panels that were 0.2mm thinner than stock and with a composite hood and acrylic side and rear windows, and thus more than 220 pounds lighter than dealer-sold versions. The car also has a special 26.4-gallon fuel tank for long-distance racing events.

 “The engine is basically the same as the Z432,” according to the auction house description. “But… being tuned as a race-based car, has the air cleaner removed and carburetor’s funnel uncovered.

“Equipment such as the radio and heater are removed thus interior is simplified. Instead of a reclining seat, a bucket seat is installed. Only missing is a roll cage and it would be ready to race; it is a very spartan setting.”

Another 1970 Fairlady Z, a Z432 but non-R, though equipped with one of only 419 2.0-liter first-generation S20 “sports” engines, sold at the same auction for $147,805.

The high-dollar sale of the auction was the more than $1.71 million paid for a 1987 Ferrari F187 Formula One racing car. A 2006 Porsche Carrera GT brought $499,342, a 1973 Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R went for $429,434, a 1963 Ferrari 250GTE 2+2 Series 3 sold for $409,460.

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Among other sales, a 1990 Ferrari Testarossa sold for $110,944 and a pair of seats for a Ferrari F40 brought $20,700.

BH Auction is short for Best Heritage Japan Co., a Tokyo-based company established in 2017 that not only does collector car auctions but import and export sale, and it plans and stages events. The auction was held at Warehouse Terrada in Tokyo.

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A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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