Used Car of the Day: 1971 Datsun 240Z Series I
Most days, we look for quirky used cars, or inexpensive ones, or project cars. Yes, we've tossed a few classics up there -- two or three '60s Ford T-Birds, for example, but it hasn't been the normal modus operandi.
Generation Why: The Skyline Fades From The Rear-View Mirror
It’s not just oil, water and other precious resources that we’re running out of here on planet earth. Apparently, we’re a little short on automotive nameplates too. If you believe the reports in industry trade pubs, we’ll eventually be overrun by obscure alphanumerics as the number of trademark-ready monikers gradually thins out. Scarcity isn’t the only factor behind it either. Frequently, nameplates get retired, and an all-new version of the previous car is re-introduced with another combination of numbers and letters – just like Nissan is planning to do with the Skyline after 56 years of production.
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!
Junkyard Find: 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo 50th Anniversary Edition
After the Malaise Era of 1973 through 1983, we had the Turbo Era. I’m going to say the Turbo Era lasted from 1984 through about 1992, and it was followed by the Everybody Finally Has Electronic Fuel Injection And It’s About Damn Time Era. The real star of the Turbo Era was, of course, the Mitsubishi Starion, which was so incredibly turbo-centric that it had the word “TURBO” stitched into the seat belts. The Nissan 300ZX Turbo didn’t register much lower on the Turbo Awesomeness-O-Meter, however, and now I feel vaguely ashamed that I’ve ignored so many of these things in so many junkyards over the years. Today we will honor one of the stars of the Turbo Era!
Junkyard Find: 1977 Datsun 280Z
After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month.
Curbside Classic: 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo
It’s nice to see someone still deeply in love with their pristine eighties time-capsule 300ZX. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but it’s always been a bit difficult to muster any warmth for Nissan’s Z cars after they turned the truly remarkable original 240Z into an ever more porky and ugly caricature of itself. The 300ZX was an attempt to ditch the over-wrought original styling cues for a clean new look, but by then the ZX was severely tainted by image issues, the price of its success.