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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Your handy 1970-73 Datsun 240Z buyer's guide | Hagerty Media

The 240Z was not the only Japanese performance car of its era, nor was it the first sporting vehicle from Datsun. But the Z car stood out from the crowd because Datsun managed to strike the perfect balance between performance, comfort, practicality, and affordability.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/your-handy-1970-73-datsun-240z-buyers-guide/
31 REPLIES 31
Corkola
Pit Crew

This guide needs to be revised for it has some serious errors. The first is that the flat top SUs came out with the 73 model, not the 72. I've never seen a 72 with flat top SUs. I owned a 73 model which I converted to the earlier carbs and the earlier carbs came from....a 72. I purchased this 73 in Alabama and then I moved to California in 1985. It came with the flat top SUs but when I purchased a rebuild kit from a local Nissan dealer, I was surprised to learn the gaskets did not fit. I then went back and ordered a kit for a 260Z and the gaskets worked. Apparently this was a late in the model year change for the 73.
Another glaring omission for this guide is the lack of mention of the differential position change which occurred with the 72 model. The diff was moved rearward so the axles were straight instead of angled rearwards as in the previous two years. This angularity was causing premature wear of the axle joints.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Ok thanks for this @Corkola, I have follow up questions, because I wrote these year-by-year breakdowns in terms of production date, not model year designations.

 

  1. It appears that plenty of Series IVs were made in calendar year 1972 and sold as 1973 model years. Because the Series I, II, III, IV 240s were made at seemingly random times every year, are you sure SU carbs were not installed on examples made after September 1972? 
  2. By the same token, Series IIIs were originally built in calendar year 1971, and that's where the rear subframe change is described. 

I am revising the article to show more clearly which series were being built at the beginning of each model year. 

 

Corkola
Pit Crew

This article still isn't clear. You still have the flat top SUs listed under "1972" and this would be incorrect. This is a "guide" and as such each reader will see "1972" and think 1972 MY instead of series. Datsun 240Z's are sold by listing the MY and not the "Series".
Sajeev
Community Manager

I made a change to the SU carb part to show doubt in what historical info I found regarding what year they came out.  You are right about the years, so I have changed the singular years headings to show a range in the headings instead. Sorry, should have thought of that beforehand! 

DMG
Pit Crew

I bought a 1971 Z new for $3600.00 and in 1981 traded it in for 4600.00.
Best car investment I ever made.
Plus, I loved driving it.
jimgall
New Driver

2.4 liters hence the 240
Sajeev
Community Manager

Sorry about that, fixing now! 

55longroof
New Driver

Yes and yes, had a 72, great fun to drive car...
ed
Intermediate Driver

uh...240Z was 2.4L. Did I miss that somewhere? Had a '72 4-speed with AC, great car. It did well. However, in retrospect, I am a bit surprised that I actually survived our relationship.

Sajeev
Community Manager

That's embarassing, fixing it now. 

Iso_Grifo
Intermediate Driver

I remember a collector car auction I attended as a kid and saw my first Ferrari Daytona. I was amazed at how successfully Datsun had used that P.F. masterpiece for their own and grafted on an E-type front end!. Later that year I noticed how the new RX7 had a remarkable resemblance to the Porsche 928 in town! At the time I was kind of mad for some reason? But now I find both the Japanese cars charming in their own way.
Punk
Detailer

My dad went out in 1973 to buy a Porsche. One look at the stickers and he bought a 240Z series IV. I wasn't old enough to drive but instantly fell in love. I never had a Ferrari on my wall, always an E-Type so the appeal of the Z was obvious. Dad's car was a dream to drive and toss around. Until it got hot outside. Then the damn thing wouldn't run. Vapor Lock. Multiple trips to the dealership and multiple supposed fixes never helped at all. After about three years he threw in the towel and traded it in. Very sad day for me. So the 1973 240s and the 1974 260s (which were even worse!) should be avoided. Either go with the '71 - '72, or get the 280.
shepherds2
New Driver

Interesting sidenote: I ordered my 240z in April 1970 (HLS30-08594 which I still have). I paid $200 down just for a place in line too order the car. The car was built in August 1970. But there was an all important West coast dock strike that summer so many cars remained on cargo ships for weeks unable to unload. The delay caused many headaches as my car finally arrived in Seattle in November 1970. This lead to a problem with with Washington DOT wanting to call the car a 1971 as it is now November and in the model year change. This adds to the problem of trying to date cars. My car has all the attributes of the 1970 (very low VIN #, rear deck vents, solid indents on steering wheel, etc. as you listed) but it is listed as a 1971 on the title. This was caused by shipping delays from the dock strike. 51 years later and 247,000 miles of joyous driving.
Thanks for the well written and informative data. ( P.S. car now has over 300 hp. 280ZX turbo.)
Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you for your kind words!  You are truly a Z-car connoisseur! 

Kamikazi
New Driver

If its actually a 1970 there is a way to change it to a 1970 title. 

LFox3
New Driver

I've had a 72 240Z and a '74 260Z in the past, and I'm still driving my '73 (manufactured fall '72). The 1973 won't have the crazy bumpers or crazy Hitachi SU's that my 1974 260Z did. I left the original 1973 motor on a stand, and swapped it with a 2.8L from 1982. The Turbo had a higher flow head (P89) that suits triple Webers just fine. Tons of (cheap for now) upgrades available to make it safer/faster, and I can still put it back to stock when the time comes.
GSM
New Driver

Sajeev, Thanks for a great Buyer's Guide for a truly special, and still more-or-less affordable, classic sports GT. While I will always love the lines of a Ferrari 250 Daytona, a 240Z presents itself as a practical and much more affordable alternative! Two thumbs up!
Sajeev
Community Manager

Glad you enjoyed it, @GSM thank you very much! 

Waterboy1KHY80
Intermediate Driver

Only **bleep** car I would like to actually own.
CarlClearwater
New Driver

@Sajeev Mehta - You write:
"His affinity for the Jaguar XK-E provided the inspiration for design chief Kazumi Yotsurnoto’s team, which styled the Datsun 240Z”
- - - Kazumi Yotsurnoto was the Manager of the Passenger Car Styling Dept. Mr. Matsuo, the Chief of the Sports Car Styling Studio writes that Mr.Yotsumoto was not supportive of the future Z Car design.Mr.Yotsumoto told Mr. Matsuo to focus his efforts on the more conservative path of restyling the existing roadsters. Mr. Katayama many times spoke of relaying his thoughts about the styling of the future sports car for the USA to Mr. Matsuo and his team. Mr. K supported Mr. Matsuo’s vision of a completely new Sports/GT for the American market.

"Built between October and December of 1969, the first batch of “HS30” series 240Zs (538 units) were likely all left-hand-drive;”
- - - Model Information in the VIN: “H” = 2.4L Engine, “L” = Left Hand Drive and “S30” = Sports Coupe. Thus the Datsun 240Z’s produced during Oct., Nov. and Dec. of 1969 were HLS30 (not HS30 which were Right Hand Drive).

"That said, the “HS30 Series I was produced in full swing by January of 1970, with eight exterior and two interior colors”
- - - - - By the end of March 1970, in the first six months of production only 2739 Datsun 240Z’s had been produced. Averaging some 450+ cars per month. It wasn’t until Jun of 1970 that production was in full swing at something close to 1500 per month.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Thank you for this. 

  • I am fixing my HS/HLS mistake now. 
  • June is month where "full swing" is most appropriate indeed, fixing now
  • Making changes to the design paragraph to reflect what you have taught me. Gonna keep it vague, as there's already a lot to process in this 1671 word article.
SheperdSimmons
New Driver

Any advice on selling one? My daddy is in poor health and will need money eventually. He has a 1971 240Z that he bought new and drove until it hit 30,000 miles and then he put it up. It’s been outside but under cover all this time. I expected it to be in better condition than it is… looks like some squirrels have gotten into it, and even though covered, there’s been deterioration. So I don’t know if it’s worth anything to anybody, where to look for buyers, or if it’s just scrap. But body is in good shape. He did some minor modifications to it, and I’m aware there was some issue with the ignition. I have pictures. I would appreciate any guidance!
CarlClearwater
New Driver

Go to the Classic Z Car Club's on-line forum - lots of help there from knowledgable Z Car enthusiasts. The value of the 240Z depends about 90% on the overall condition. Post the pictures to the forum.
https://www.classiczcars.com/forums/forum/61-open-discussions/
SFM5
Pit Crew

I remember when these cars first came out a particular brand of pop ran a promo where you could win one. My pop consumption went up that year about as much as a 10 year old’s budget would allow!
TonyM
New Driver

I bought a used 240Z in Australia back in the late 70s and we were fortunate to have a 5 speed gearbox. At speed it floated which was cured by fitting a front air spoiler and then it was great for doing my weekend 400 mile round trips to my parents home. The colloquial name for this car was a "pound and a half"; think 24 ounces.
Gary_Bechtold
Detailer

There is a guy in my area with a clean emerald green 260Z I see from time to time. The 240/260 is my favorite of the original Z. The 280 doesn't quite hit me the same. Great cars, lovely straight sixes. Some have been resto-modded with GT-R era RB straight six turbo power. Wish the new Z had a straight six again. Happy to see the Z at least has kept going and had kept it's heritage.
Kamikazi
New Driver

I bought a 76 280 roller with most of the parts and some were either new or rebuilt. The parts were in plastic tubes wooden crates or cardboard boxes. The roller was sitting outside in the Tucson desert and the boxes were stored inside. It had new paint but the clearcoat was burned. I paid the guy 3200.00 for it and loaded it on a trailer bound for Folsom California. The year was 2013 and I still have it sitting in my garage. There is no rust on it anywhere.
Kamikazi
New Driver

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 this is the actual 76 that I bought in Tucson in 2013. I removed the fiberglass "California come **bleep** me" kit and installed the series 1 bumpers. 

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Kamikazi
New Driver

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 the old gal just sits mostly in my garage now. I bought another wreck and repaired it myself using spare parts from a donor Z and I drive that car daily during the spring summer and early fall. Sometimes I'll drive the yellow one but it's on non op so not too much. The blue one it seems everyone wants to buy it when ever I gas it up I get a lot of crazy people with some fairly crazy offers. My cars are not for sale at any price. 

Kamikazi
New Driver

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 I never hung an engine in my life or even a transmission, never installed even a clutch but I did this myself and when I couldn't get the mount bolts to line up I called a guy and he told me to use ling number 3 Philips screwdrivers to align the bolt holes. It worked, I mounted the transmission to the motor and used a creeper and an engine hoist, I did it alone in my garage. The car came with a new dash in a cardboard box and I installed all the gauges and controls which I disassembled and rebuilt with parts that I painstakingly researched and purchased from various people and places. I actually refinished the old 240 steering wheel then used steel wool on it to five it that "worn" look. 

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Kamikazi
New Driver

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 The fuel injection system was in a box but I wanted to use SU carburetors which were worn out and I couldn't get them into sync so I removed them and sent them to an Z Carb Therapy for overhaul and modification.  The brake lines and other parts were full of sand, so was the fuel lines. So I had to flush all that out and I painted and then installed the fuel tank and the filler neck and the other tanks, the old fuel lines were another story. I used 7/8 inch stainless springs inserted into the 1 inch fuel hoses to get them to bend without kinking and did the same with the heater hoses. I filled the tanks then drained them and strained the sand out of the gas and repeated it until i got the tank clean. I layed under the jacked up rear and used my knees to align the fuel tank and installed the mounting straps. Then i bought a battery and fired it up. Imagine my relief when the engine caught and the brake master vacuum allowed the brake pedal to move easily towards the floor and the brake lite shut off. The oil pressure gauge indicated normal and finally the temp gauge started moving towards center. Wow i brought a totally dead s30 back from the grave. I had tried to get the car registered a few years before but the guy at the DMV said no way, come back when it not on a trailer so drove it to the DMV with just a forged bill of sale and it took two gals and finally a supervisor to agree on issuing a title. 

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