Digestible Collectible: 1972 Datsun 240Z

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1972 datsun 240z

I was turning sixteen the autumn of my junior year in high school, and if I wanted to get a job, I needed a car. Ideally, I’d have begun working at 14 and saved up myself, but I lived several miles from anywhere a teenager could reasonably expect to find gainful employment.

Dad took pity on me and offered to give me a car. Not just any car, mind you, but a pristine 1973 Datsun 240Z that he and I had done a mechanical restoration on. However, the Z had never seen snow, and I told my dad that it would be a crime to subject the Z to an Ohio winter.

So he sold it, and used the proceeds to buy me an ’85 Nissan Maxima. I’m still kicking myself.

Clearly, the collector value of the 240Z has risen a bit since the early ’90s. Back then I’d be surprised if dad got more than $4,000 for his car. These days, it would likely pull between $15-20k easily, like the 1972 Datsun 240Z featured today. The Z is the OG Japanese sports car. While they were built in large numbers, few clean original examples remain today due to the dual threats of rust and tuners.

This one, like most clean Zs, is in California. Cali cars tend to have great sheetmetal, but sun-baked, cracked interiors. This one looks pretty good on both fronts, though it has been repainted. The seller hasn’t posted any photos under the hood, but mentions that a later 2.8 liter block has been fitted, as well as a five-speed transmission which will help a bit on long highway cruises.

I don’t love the polished slot mag alloy wheels, but they were such a common dealer add-on to replace the ugly factory hubcaps that they still look right. I’d either fit Panasports — like we did to the ’73 that got away — or VTO replicas of the American Racing Libre wheels that ran on the BRE race cars.

I will own a vintage Z someday. This one is not far from being perfect, and I keep looking around the house for things I can sell to afford this. Anyone need a spleen?

Join the conversation
3 of 36 comments
  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂