The classic Datsun 1600 and 2000 roadsters from the 1960’s enjoyed moderate success in the American market, demonstrating Datsun could build a very capable sports car compared to the best of the British roadsters. Especially when compared with the MGB, the Datsun held a technological upper hand thanks to its 5-speed gearbox and 135hp 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 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, pretty, had great performance and a high level of 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 gorgeous 1972 240Z has been very lovingly restored and is an attractive, usable example of Japan’s most iconic sports car. Slate gray paint work is paired with a new tan and black interior, with tinted glass and color-keyed Panasport alloys completing the classic, cool and aggressive look. It’s a striking car done to a very good level of quality but without being over-restored. Paint and exterior trim present extremely well, and while this is not an all-out show car, it is still very attractive and would certainly make its next owner proud. The tan and black interior is in nearly new condition, with no flaws to speak of. The dash has been covered for protection and a correct original steering wheel has been fitted to complete the restoration.
The gutsy 2.4 liter inline six is mated to a robust 4-speed manual transmission. Cooling has been upgraded via a high quality alloy radiator. And while this car has been treated to a very nice restoration, it is certainly no trailer queen. It is a strong running car with excellent performance and handling. The engine pulls well through the rev range, the gearbox is solid and tight and handling is balanced thanks to the larger Panasport alloy wheels and modern rubber. For anyone seeking a reliable, approachable classic with outstanding performance, this example is certain to please. One drive in this wonderful car is enough to secure membership in the cult of the Datsun 240Z.
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