1971 Datsun 240Z Coupe

It is no secret that Datsun-Nissan was inspired by the Jaguar E-Type when it was decided that a new sports car was needed to take on the American market. The Datsun 1600 and 2000roadsters enjoyed moderate success in the US market, demonstrating Datsun could build a very capable competitor to the best of the British roadsters. Especially when compared with the MGB, the Datsun held the upper hand thanks to its 5-speed gearbox and 135 hp overhead cam engine. Loyal enthusiasts and club racers knew the Datsun was the superior car, though Japanese cars still faced negative attitudes in the US. When the Fairlady (known simply as the Roadster in North America) was due for replacement, Datsun decided to go all out and design a car aimed specifically at the critical North American market. The basic formula was that of a baby E-type with an elegant 2-seat coupe body designed in-house by Yoshihiko Matsuo at the Nissan sports car studio. A 2.4 liter, overhead cam inline-six was chosen along with four wheel independent suspension and front disc brakes. The resulting car was very pretty, could punch above its weight in terms of performance and had a build quality unseen in its British rivals. Thanks to the efforts of Yutaka Katayama, who was responsible for marketing the Z in the North American market, the 240Z developed a cult following and spawned several generations of iconic sports cars that have enjoyed huge success around the world.

This 1971 240Z presents in very nice original condition, having had a recent high-quality repaint in its original shade of Racing Green (code 907). The original 240 is the most desirable of all the Z-cars, thanks to the clean lines which are accented nicely on this example by a set of Perspex headlamp covers and classic Panasport alloy wheels. The body and paint work are in very good condition, with straight crisp lines and good panel fit, in keeping with the overall feeling of originality on this example.Chrome bumpers are tidy and straight, and window trims are all in very good condition, again reflecting the well-maintained and original feel of the car. Stepping inside, you find the black upholstery is clean and tidy with no rips or tears in black cloth seat inserts. Correct black loop carpet is in excellent condition and well protected by a set of embroidered overmats. The original deep-dish wood steering wheel is a joy to hold and the dash has been signed by Yutaka Katayama himself- the Z enthusiast’s equivalent to scoring Carroll Shelby’s signature on a Cobra. A modern Clarion stereo system is fitted and the large trunk still features original luggage straps. The engine bay is nicely detailed, and appears largely original with the correct blue paint on the engine block and the signature bright orange airbox still intact and in nice order. This 240Z is a great performer, thanks to the abundant torque from the big six and four wheel independent suspension. It is a very fine and solid driver with high quality cosmetics and a pleasing, well-maintained feel. The 240Z offered performance that could approach an E-type but at the price of an MGB GT. It’s easy to see why the 240Z was such a smashing success for Datsun and helped establish the reputation for all future Japanese cars in the American marketplace.

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