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.

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  • 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.

  • Zerofoo The UAW understands that this is their last stand. Their future consists of largely robot assembled EVs that contain far fewer parts. Factories moving to southern "right to work" states and factories moving to the southern-most state of Mexico.I don't think lights-out auto factories are on the horizon, but UAW demands might move those automated manufacturing process timelines up.McDonalds opened a fully automated restaurant in Texas in 2022 in response to a $15/hour minimum wage demand. I'm fairly certain that at $130/hr - fully robotic car factories start to make sense.
  • Redapple2 Cherry 20 yr old Defenders are $100,000 +. Til now.
  • Analoggrotto So UAW is singling out Ford, treating them slightly better in order to motivate the entire effort. Mildly Machiavellian but this will cost them dearly in the future. The type of ill will and betrayal the Detroit-3 must be feeling right now will be the utter demise of UAW. I just hope that this tribulation is not affecting Mary Barra's total hotness.
  • Redapple2 I guessed they were ~$150,000. Maybe attainable.
  • Redapple2 want one.