Time Machine Pricing: 1973 Datsun 240Z

I saw this next car and the $5k asking price and thought to myself; either there is something fishy going on here, or tipper Cory has found a time machine…because this looks like one of the best deals on a 240Z I’ve seen in years. The only asterisk is found towards the end of a comprehensive listing, where the seller admits that the floorpans are shot. Now, floorpans are easy to replace, but if the rust is in the floorpans, it could be elsewhere as well, so, as the proctologist says to the resident, be sure to probe sensitive areas rigorously. Find this 1973 Datsun 240Z offered for $5,000 in Springfield, VT via craigslist.

From the seller:

1973 datsun 240z
cylinders: 6 cylinders
drive: rwd
fuel: gas
odometer: 189000
paint color: red
title status: clean
transmission: manual
1973 Datsun 240Z – 2.4L SOHC Inline 6 Cylinder, 4-Speed Manual. Last year of the 240 series. * Dual SU round top carburetors.

HLS30134739 – Have a clean Florida title, the car was registered in Vermont but never driven here. [VT does not issue titles for cars that old]

189,xxx miles almost exclusively a “Southern” car [Alabama and Georgia from what I recall from previous owner [PO], and Florida where I had it for 12+ years]. In 2018 I moved to Vermont, bringing the car with me but it’s never seen road salt. The car was parked for a while back in Florida [long story], but before we moved to Vermont I had the following work done:

New Fuel tank,fuel lines and fuel pumps

New Battery

New tires

New clutch, clutch master cylinder and slave cylinder

Full brake job including new pads, rear drums, new master cylinder and rear wheel cylinders

Full tune up

Engine – Engine starts right up when warm, idles smooth and pulls strong. The chokes are a little stiff and could use some tweaking so starting it “cold” or in cold weather takes a few turns of the key. An easy fix really. The PO took off the original ’73 Hitachi “flat top” carburetors that most everyone agrees were garbage, and installed a 70-72 set of factory “round top SU-style carbs”, a very common swap back in the day. The previous owner converted the throttle system from the factory mechanical linkage to a cable system. The factory system had its quirks and that conversion is relatively common but I do have the factory original mechanical linkages if you wanted to return it to original. He also took off the few emmisions controls that were on the car but I have them all in a box somewhere and they will come with the car. Just a hint of smoke on start up when cold [remember, its 47 years old] but that goes away quickly. Cylinder pressures on all 6 are even and good. The Chassis mileage is 189,000 miles but the PO rebuilt the engine sometime after 100,000 miles [can’t recall exactly at what miles but somewhere I think I have a copy of the original factory service manual and all the notes of the rebuild he took]. The car does have dealer installed air conditioning which is quite rare [Datsun did not offer A/C from the factory] but it does not blow cold. The compressor turns but I never got around to having the system tested to see what it would need to make it work again. I’m sure it was running the old R-12 freon and would need converting to R-134a today. The exhaust system is in good shape as well, but the car does come with an aftermarket “monza” muffler [which is very “pretty”] and length pipe that were never installed.

Chassis – Car drives well, tracks true. It does have a very slight vibration right at 40mph that I haven’t been able to track down but would certainly pass inspection as is. Above 40mph it smooths right out. Brand new tires [less than 100 miles on them] on aftermarket wire wheels. A couple of the wheels have a little rust but are still solid and could be touched up easily. Personally I love the look of the wires. A set of dealer aluminum slotted mags also come with the car [Western Slotted, VERY 70’s style!] . Only the spare tire has the original factory steel wheel rim [I think the spare tire is actually factory] No power steering so you feel everything in the wheel, very old school. The exhaust note alone is amazing, no need for a radio! This is my second Z [had a 260 previously] and I never get tired of the sound.

Interior – The interior is decent but showing its age. As seen in the photos, driver seat cover has some cracks. I believe those are dealer installed covers, varying from the factory style in that they have velour insets instead of all vinyl. It does seem to keep the seats cooler if you live in a hot climate, which may be why the dealer installed them [it does have A/C after all, a rare thing in it’s day]. The dash cover has some small cracks in it, two the previous owner patched and one new one I just noticed this summer. The factory carpeting was pulled but replacement sets are available at a good price. 240Z carpeting is not anything like ‘modern’ carpeting, they’re more like carpeting mats for the car, look them up on the internet and you’ll see what I mean. A radio is installed and AFAIK still works but no speakers are attached [it had a set of portable speakers hooked up in the rear deck area]. The factory AM radio comes with the car if you want to get that factory look. All gauges work, even the clock [which is a rarity of cars this age]

Exterior – as you can see in the photos the Florida sun took it’s toll on the paint. The car was resprayed back in the 1980’s by the PO, converting it from the factory code “112 – lemon lime” [which you can still see in the rear hatch area] to what I would call “Campbell’s Tomato Soup red”. Good paint but it is showing it’s age. I have not tried but I’m betting it would buff out real nicely. There are a number of small chips and scratches [some I grabbed some touch up paint to keep it sealed, but there are still a few unaddressed]along with some cracking you can see on the hood area. The PO spotted some rust on the passenger lower front fender and cut it out and sealed it. No signs of the rust returning but it is an eyesore, you can see it in the photos. Can be patched or you could just replace the whole fender. Drivers side rear of the car you can see where someone bumped into the car [in a parking lot I was told from the PO]. He pulled it out as best he could and again sealed it, it’s an eyesore but a good body person can fix it without too much trouble. The photos show it all. The original tail light lenses are broken as you can see in the photos. I do have a replacement set of used lenses that are good but the chrome banding is not as bright, they come with the car.

Issues – Most of the issues with the car are very common to the 240Z. The good news is there is a TON of help out there on the internet in the form of Clubs, Forums and multiple “Z only” businesses, and plenty of parts are readily available. The Z drivetrain was basically unchanged all the way through the ZX era and the original 240 series were very popular in their day so lots of k

Floorpans. As seen in the photos, they’re shot. I believe under the seats are okay but the foot well areas are definitely gone. A good welder could patch them, but there are also several sources for replacement pan kits out on the market. I’m not a welder nor do I have the space, time or skill to do it myself.

Headlight switch – another common malady. Datsun wired up the headlights to run on a negative switch ground system, which in turn runs almost full amperage through the headlight switch, making them prone to fail. Many owners have bypassed this by installing a relay kit which then only runs minimal amperage through the switch, but you still need to get the switch fixed or replaced. You can buy rebuilt ones for a reasonable price or if you’re so inclined you can try to repair it yourself, lots of videos on this on the net. And as is typical all the other lights work just fine, just the headlights are out [and thus wont pass inspection]. If I keep the car much longer I may tackle this one myself but then the price will go up. It’s a relatively easy “plug in” swap.

Driver Door – the exterior driver side door handle doesn’t work. It’s common for them to break the tab which secures the rod system inside the door. the inside handle opens the door fine which corroborates this. Not too hard of a job im told, especially if you’re adept at fishing around inside doors. Replacement handles can be sourced used or even NOS for a reasonable price.

Overall I feel it’s a very solid, minimal rust example of a driver car. You’ll find plenty of examples around the country, especially out in California and the desert areas, but they are becoming increasingly rare in the northeast, mostly because so many were eaten by rust long ago. Prices of these cars continue to climb in the classic car market. Hagerty values this care even in “#4 fair” condition [#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.] at $8,300 and prices can jump dramatically from there. As I say, this is my second Z and as much as it pains me to let it go, it’s time. I just don’t have the time to drive it any more and it needs more love and attention than I can give. Hoping to see it go to someone who will appreciate this classic.

Photos – a full set of photos can be found on our [Farm] website at https://www.datsun.landiahillfarm.com/

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