Junkyard Find: 1973 Datsun 240Z

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1973 datsun 240z

I see endless Z31 300ZXs in junkyards, and I usually don’t pay much attention to them ( unless we’re talking about a rare 50th Anniversary Edition with BodySonic butt-vibrating seat speakers with super-futuristic digital dash, of course). Even 280Zs and 280ZXs are plentiful in self-service wrecking yards, so I don’t photograph many of them. However, an optioned-to-the-hilt 240Z, complete with automatic transmission, sunroof, and Malaise Era brown paint is worth shooting, so here we go!

I think this is the first 240Z I’ve ever seen with an automatic transmission, though this became a fairly common option in the 280Z and especially in the 280ZX.

I considered grabbing these Hitachi SUs, just as I bought the Weber DGV I found on this 22R-powered MGB a few months ago, but these are the not-so-desirable “flat-top Hitachis” and in the end I figured they wouldn’t be worth selling or trading.

Speaking of nightmare Hitachi-ized British smog carbs, what was the last year for a factory manual choke in a US-market car? Or is this just a light that comes on when an electric choke is engaged?

I was also tempted to buy this ignition switch with vintage Nissan Z key, but then decided to leave it for a lucky Z-owning junkyard shopper.

This car is very solid and— at least when I saw it a few weeks ago— nearly complete. By this time, I’m sure it has been picked over thoroughly by now.

Such an optimistic speedometer!

Comparisons between fully race-modified cars and their street counterparts are always suspect, but this ad does a good job of selling the 240Z.

Join the conversation
3 of 80 comments
  • JMII JMII on Mar 11, 2013

    The 70s Zs were too early for me, I lusted after the 2nd generation models as a friend's mother had one. As kids were could fit in the hatchback. It had the turbo and the wild digital dash, it was like a car from the future with its awesome looks and warp speed compared to my mothers VW Rabbit of the same era. I almost bought a 3rd generation model, but it was way too expensive for a newly married Graphic Designer back in '96 so I got an Eclipse GS-T. When the wife and I finally decided we weren't have kids I started looking for a real sports car. Sure I owned the turbo Eclipse and Prelude Si but those were wanna be FWD vehicles. I found a mint, garage queen '03 350Z Touring model and scooped it up as fast as could write the check. I love driving it despite the wife's complaints (too loud, too stiff) but as a daily driver it manages 26 MPG in a 70/30 highway/city mix. Sure the shape isn't as sexy as the original Zs but it kind of grows on you... its a very simple organic kind of form and the interior (while very plain) carries over the 3 gauge pod look of the original. Kind of strange to thing of a Japanese sports car as a "classic" but my '03 will never achieve such status as its engine is same VQ V6 in every Nissan on the road from Altimas to Quest minivans. Plus most people consider it too heavy to be a real tossable RWD coupe. It seems to handle great to me, but haven't gotten any track time in yet and don't have anything else to really make the comparison.

    • -Nate -Nate on Mar 12, 2013

      Unlike many Americans , you have grasped that a " Sports Car " is -NOT- a _Race_Car_ ~ it's supposed to be fun and sporty to drive Vs. your average Sedan . You were the target for the Z cars , don't worry about not winning any trophies in the Slalom , just go drive and enjoy it . -Nate

  • HLS30-150256 HLS30-150256 on Jul 26, 2013

    Marilee Martin - Did you buy that brown 240z ?? If not...would you tell me city and name of the junkyard? I am desperately looking for the center sections of the seats in that 'ginger' color/pattern. I'm keeping my 73 original only....Thanks, if you can help.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Auto insurance renewal every six months. Ten year old car, good driving record, own my own home, excellent credit score, no teenagers on the policy, etc, etc, etc.Yet, I pay thru the nose!!!!!Adds on the morning news brag about $500k settlements.I paid less when I lived in New York State.
  • Jim Bonham Full EVs are not for everyone, they cannot meet all needs. Hybrids do a much better job of providing the benefits of EVs without most of the drawbacks. I have a hybrid sedan with plenty of room, plus all the bells and whistles. It has 360 hp, AWD, does 0-60 in just over 5 sec.(the instant torque is a real benefit), and I get 29 mpg, average. NOT driven lightly. I bought it used for $25k.Sure, it's a little heavier because of the battery, motor, etc., but not nearly as much as a full EV. The battery is smaller/lighter/cheaper and both the alternator and starter motor are eliminated since the motor assumes those functions. It's cool to watch the charge guage show I'm getting energy back when coasting and/or braking. It's even cooler to drive around part of the time on battery only. It really comes in handy in traffic since the engine turns off and you don't waste fuel idling. With the adaptive cruise control you just let the car slowly inch along by itself.I only wish it were a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV). Then, I'd have A LOT more EV-only range, along with even more of that instant torque. The battery would be bigger, but still a fraction of the size of a full EV. I could easily go weeks without using much, if any gas (depending upon my commute) IF I plug it in every night. But I don't have to. The gas engine will charge the battery whenever it's needed.It's just not as efficient a way to do it.Electric companies offer special rates for both EVs and PHEVs which lower your operating cost compared to gasoline. They'll even give you a rebate to offset the cost of installing a home charger. You can still get federal (up to $7,500, plus some state) tax credits for PHEVs.What's not to like? My next daily driver will be a PHEV of some kind. Probably a performance-oriented one like the new Dodge Hornet or one of the German Hybrid SUVs. All the benefits, sound, feel, etc., of a gas vehicle along with some electric assist to improve fuel economy, performance, and drivability. None of the inherent EV issues of cost, range anxiety, long charging times, poor charger availability, grid capacity issues, etc. I think most people will eventually catch on to this and go PHEV instead of going full EV. Synthetic, carbon-neutral eFuels, hydrogen engines, and other things will also prevent full EVs from being 100% of the fleet, regardless of what the politicians say. PHEVs can be as "clean" (overall) as full EVs with the right fuels. They're also cheaper, and far more practical, for most people. They can do it all, EVs can't.
  • Ron rufo there is in WaSHINGTON STATE
  • ToolGuy @Chris, your photography rocks.
  • ToolGuy No War for Oli.If you have not ever held a piece of structural honeycomb (composite sandwich) in your own hands, try it.