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 2000 roadsters 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 particularly club racers knew the Datsun was the far 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 body designed in-house by Yoshihiko Matsuo at the Nissan sports car design 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 affordable, 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 is a very fine example from the 1973 model year, the lastfor 240Z production. The car was sold new in California on August 1, 1973 by Garden Grove Datsun to Tracy Barber of Irvine, CA. and the original invoice, finance paperwork, and sales brochure accompany the car. This car has clearly been cherished by its previous owners, and was given a sympathetic and pleasing restoration, bringing it to very fine driver standards. The high-quality respray was done in the original shade of metallic brown (code 114). The quality of the body restoration is first-rate, exhibiting good shut lines, straight panels and gleaming bright work all around. It rides on an attractive set of polished 5-slot alloy wheels, a desirable period accessory for 240Z enthusiasts, and were added by the dealer when the car was new. Inside, correct butterscotch upholstery is a great match for the original brown metallic exterior, and is in beautiful original condition, only recently freshened up with a new set of black carpets. Under the hood, the 2.4 liter inline six is very tidy and well-detailed. On the road, engine performance is strong, the upgraded five-speed manual gearbox slick and handling excellent thanks to the four-wheel independent suspension. Thanks to the recent restoration work and years of enthusiastic care, it exhibits a delightfully solid feeling. Usable, well-restored 240Z’s can be difficult to find as many have been subject to years of hard use or questionable modifications. This is a fine example of Datsun’s iconic sports car that will reward its next owner with strong performance and delightfully good looks. With performance that could approach an E-type offered 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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