Datsun 240Z and 260Z Buying Guide
If you want a decent Z you must read this – otherwise you risk serious rust. But get a good one, and you'll love it!
How much to pay
• Project £1500-3000 • Good £12,000-13,000 • Concours £16,000-25,000 •
Running costs ★★★
DIY Friendly ★★★★
When Datsun launched the 240Z in 1969 it couldn’t really fail. Until that point it was the British that had the affordable sports car market sewn up in Europe and the US, but the products were unsophisticated and not all that well equipped.
Then along came the 240Z with better build quality, far superior heating and ventilation, hatchback practicality and an ultra-durable straight-six engine. The powerplant allowed this super-stylish sportster to swallow long distances with ease, helped by a capacious fuel tank. It may not have been available as a convertible but the 240Z – and the 260Z that came later – were still tremendous fun.
Over the past half a century or so rust has massively reduced the number of surviving 240Zs and 260Zs, but this is a classic that’s as desirable and as usable as it ever was, and it remains surprisingly affordable. However, with ongoing trends, prices are destined to shoot upwards in the near future.
Your AutoClassics Datsun 240Z inspection checklist
The overhead-cam straight-six can be tuned to give a reliable 250bhp; with just 151bhp in standard form it’s far from stressed. That’s why with 6000-mile oil changes a Z engine will easily dismiss 250,000 miles.
It’s essential that the coolant level is maintained, and the antifreeze concentration kept at 50/50. The alloy head corrodes if this isn’t undertaken and it will warp if the engine overheats. A healthy engine will show 55psi while cruising, although sender units and gauges are unreliable.
When an engine needs a rebuild there will be lots of rattling from the top end and rumbling from the bottom. Some owners just slot in a 2.8-litre engine from a 280ZX; if originality is important to you make sure this hasn’t already been done. A 240Z has an L24 engine number, a 260Z has an L26 while the 280ZX features an L28 unit.
The 240Z was fitted with Hitachi SU-type carburettors, which work fine; the 260Z’s aren’t so good. If the top of the carbs are flat (like a tin can), rather than rounded like an SU, the original units are fitted. It’s worth swapping these for SU HS2 items or you could fit triple Webers or Dell’Ortos, but you’ll need to upgrade the exhaust, valves and camshaft to make everything work properly.
All UK-supplied Zs got a five-speed manual transmission, but three-speed auto and four-speed manual gearboxes were fitted in other markets. The five-speed manual gearbox fitted to most cars is reliable, but if the car is displaying high-mileage on the odometer or has been abused, the synchromesh and bearings might be on their last legs. The parts are getting hard to find to rebuild these transmissions, which is why some owners fit a 280ZX transmission instead.
Differentials are strong and so are the universal joints on the driveshafts, but the latter wear, which results in clonking sounds. They’re not difficult or expensive to replace though.
1977 Datsun 280Z 2D Coupe
The Datsun 280Z was designed as a luxurious touring car which combines luxurious and performance. In his time the Datsun was the fastest Japanese fastback on the market. The Datsun is in a very nice condition, the interior is as new. The paint is even so in a very good and original condition. The original 2.8 liter straight 6 engine runs perfect and is very clean. The manual 5-speed gearbox shiftsFor Sale | 28 Apr 2018 | North Carolina€ 23,950
DATSUN 240 Z 1973
1973 Datsun 240 Z. For 95% original paint. Imported from California and in very original condition. The car runs, stops and shifts gear. This Datsun has the original 6 in line engine with manual transmission. This Datsun 240 Z hasn’t driven for about 16 years, so the car needs some attention. Thanks to the increase in value this is a very good investment. Car has USA title and document importdutFor Sale | 28 Apr 2018 | Kleiweg 1 5145NA Waalwijk, The Netherlands, Industry No. 1302€ 20,950
1977 Datsun 280Z
1977 Datsun 280Z V8. 350ci V8 & Tremec 5-Speed manual transmission. Rare Japanese-spec 280Z “G” body kit. Sliding sunroof. 4 wheel disc brakes. Fly Yellow exterior with a black interior. Autometer gauges – speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, temperature, and voltage. Wooden Nardi steering wheel. New Corbeau seats and 4-point racing harnesses. Are you a fan of both Japanese and American caFor Sale | 28 Apr 2018 | 2340 Cassens Dr. St. Louis MO 63026$ 30,900
Datsun 240Z 1972
When Datsun launched the 240Z in 1969 the Japanese firm established itself as a major force to be reckoned with in the sports/GT market. Boasting a 2.4-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine, five-speed manual (or three-speed automatic) transmission, independent suspension all round and a high trim level as standard, the keenly priced 240Z proved an outstanding success. The 240Z was immeFor Sale | 23 Apr 2018 | Ripon, UK£ 84,995
1976 Datsun 280Z
Gateway Classic Cars of Scottsdale is pleased to offer this one owner 1976 Datsun 280Z in our Arizona showroom. Bought new in Davis, CA, the car has always led a pampered life and has always been serviced at Nissan dealers. Sporting the original gold paint with the owner-added two tone chocolate brown,it looks like it may have been ordered that way, but sharp-eyed Z-car people will know better. TFor Sale | 16 Apr 2018 | 22275 North 23rd Ave, Deer Valley, AZ 85027$ 17,995
Datsun 280Z ZAP Edition
Zeer gave Datsun 280Z welke wij opspoorden in de Amerikaanse staat Californië. Het betreft hier een zeer zeldzame ZAP edition welke enkel in 1977 geleverd werd in een zeer bescheiden oplage van naar verluidt 1000 exemplaren. De ZAP editions zijn allen geleverd in Sunshine Yellow lakwerk met zeer gave en tijdsbepalende striping / decals over zijkant en midden van de auto, tevens werden ze allen uiFor Sale | 16 Apr 2018 | Rodenburg 1, 9351 PV Leek€ 18,900
Datsun-240Z ''72 yellow
Een heel goed lopende/rijdende 1972 Datsun 240Z. Heeft wat werk nodig aan de vloeren. Een goed bruikbare auto. Geïmporteerd in Europa maar alle importkosten zijn betaald. Grootste keus in ECHTE klassiekers met meer dan 450 stuks in "de Stolze Collectie " ! "van project tot perfect.! "For Sale | 12 Jan 2018€ POA
1972 Datsun 1600 520 Pickup
Features Power Brakes, Vinyl Interior, Heat, Defrost, AM Radio Documentation Drivetrain Engine Type Gasoline Engine Size 1.6 Liter Transmission Type 4 Speed Manual Fuel Specification Gasoline Body Body Color Light Green Body Style Pickup Truck Doors 2 Basic Year 1972 Make Datsun Model 1600 520 Pickup Miles 74,058 (Unknown) Interior Interior Color Brown Seating Type Bucket Seat Material Vinyl ShiftFor Sale | 13 Nov 2017$ 10,995
1971 Datsun 240Z
Features Rear Defogger, Seatbelts-Front, Numbers Matching, Build Receipts , CD Player, Defrost, AM/FM Radio, Air Conditioning, Heat, Vinyl Interior, Front Disc Brakes, Power Brakes Documentation Maintenance Records, Original Warranty Card, Owner's Manual Drivetrain Engine Type Gasoline Engine Size 2.4 L Transmission Type 3 Speed Automatic Fuel Specification Gasoline Body Body Color Graphite MetallFor Sale | 26 Oct 2017$ 18,995
Suspension and brakes
The Z’s rack-and-pinion steering should be pin-sharp; if it isn’t it’s probably because the rack mounting bushes have perished. Polyurethane replacements are available to sharpen things up, along with a plastic steering coupler in place of the original rubber item.
The MacPherson strut suspension is reliable, but check for sagging coil springs or leaking dampers. US cars have softer suspension, which can be fitted with shorter, stiffer springs and a thicker anti-roll bar to tighten everything up.
Be wary of cars with over-sized wheels. The originals were 5.5 inches wide and, while it’s acceptable to go up to 7J rims, anything more than this will put too much strain on the suspension and bearings, leading to rapid wear.
Most Zs have rusted away. Many survivors are often rusty or poorly restored (or both). The biggest problem is the mass of subtle curves that are very hard to recreate properly, so look for mismatched swage lines and awkward panel gaps. The area that causes the most problems is behind the doors where three swage lines converge; fixing this is very involved.
Rotten floorpans are common, especially the longitudinal crossmembers beneath the seats, and the front chassis legs that run the length of the engine bay. The flitch panels in the front wheelarches also dissolve, particularly the double-skinned base of the strut towers.
Other areas likely to be rusty include the tops and trailing edges of the front wings, the door bottoms, the base of the windscreen plus the tail panel around the rear lights.
Many Zs have had their original quilted trim and resin-coated wooden steering wheel replaced, so there are few original interiors left. Repro parts are available to return a Z cabin to standard though.
More of a problem is a dash top that’s cracked from years of exposure to the sun. Replacements aren’t available and repairs are tricky. Although, if the dash has faded it’s usually possible to recolour the plastic.
- 1969: The 240Z goes on sale in Japan.
- 1970: The UK and America get their first 240Zs; American editions get a four-speed manual gearbox while UK cars have an extra ratio.
- 1971: The transmission and location of the differential are improved. A Jatco three-speed automatic is offered in some markets while the rear quarter panel and hatch are redesigned for improved through-flow ventilation.
- 1972: The compression ratio is lowered from 9.0:1 to 8.8:1, reducing emissions and power. Automatic seat belt retractors are installed and the rear window defroster lines are now horizontal.
- 1973: The carburettors, manifolds and cylinder head are changed to meet emission standards. Intermittent wipers are now fitted along with tinted glass, three-point adjustable seat belts, a collapsible steering column and fire-retardant trim.
- 1974: The engine capacity is increased to 2.6 litres, and the car is renamed the 260Z. There’s also a new 2+2 body style, with fold-down rear seats.
- 1975: The US now gets a 2.8-litre model, the 280Z, with Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection.
- 1975/76: The UK market loses the coupe; only the 2+2 is marketed for this period.
- 1977: The 260Z coupe is relaunched in the UK with revised interior trim, improved suspension and a more luxurious specification. The coupé and 2+2 continue alongside each other until the introduction of the 280ZX.
- 1978: An all-new, second-generation Z-car debuts: 280ZX. Only the engine, transmission and differential are carried over.
These Z cars can fulfill pretty much any role you like, from occasional shows to long-distance touring, racing or rallying. If there’s one thing that limits these cars’ usability it’s the thirst of the six-cylinder engines; it’s not crippling but the cost adds up if you cover a heavy amount of miles.
There were lots of different derivatives sold in the various markets; Europe got one set, the Japanese market another while US buyers got a different spec again. The 240Z has more of a following than the 260Z and 2+2s aren’t very sought after, as few people buy these cars for family use.
Very few of these cars are still original, so whatever you buy might be a bit of a mongrel, but if done well that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, collectors generally want cars as close to original spec as possible and that’s what we’d recommend for the authentic Z experience. Find a good one and you’ll soon see that significant changes just aren’t needed; this is a car that’s a blast to drive just as Nissan built it.
|Datsun 260Z 2+2|
Want to buy a Datsun 240Z?
Classic Cars for Sale
The Datsun 280Z was designed as a luxurious touring car which combines luxurious and performance. In his time the Datsun was the fastest Japanese fastback on the market. The Datsun is in a very nice condition, the interior is as new. The paint is even so in a very good and original condition. The original 2.8 liter straight 6 engine runs perfect and is very clean. The manual 5-speed gearbox shifts
1973 Datsun 240 Z. For 95% original paint. Imported from California and in very original condition. The car runs, stops and shifts gear. This Datsun has the original 6 in line engine with manual transmission. This Datsun 240 Z hasn’t driven for about 16 years, so the car needs some attention. Thanks to the increase in value this is a very good investment. Car has USA title and document importdut
1977 Datsun 280Z V8. 350ci V8 & Tremec 5-Speed manual transmission. Rare Japanese-spec 280Z “G” body kit. Sliding sunroof. 4 wheel disc brakes. Fly Yellow exterior with a black interior. Autometer gauges – speedometer, tachometer, oil pressure, temperature, and voltage. Wooden Nardi steering wheel. New Corbeau seats and 4-point racing harnesses. Are you a fan of both Japanese and American ca
When Datsun launched the 240Z in 1969 the Japanese firm established itself as a major force to be reckoned with in the sports/GT market. Boasting a 2.4-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine, five-speed manual (or three-speed automatic) transmission, independent suspension all round and a high trim level as standard, the keenly priced 240Z proved an outstanding success. The 240Z was imme