Datsun 260Z - today's tempter

By: Guy Allen, Unique Cars magazine

Original and best shape

Datsun 260Z - today's tempter
Two-seater 260Z is the shape to have.

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Early Z-series Datsuns have suffered the fate of many cars of their time - apprecitaed when new, but became Saturday night specials as they moved along a series of owners who were, as time moved on, less forgiving and cashed-up.

And then there was the issue of the lack of rust-proofing, which turned many cars into proverbial tea-bags.

Easily one of the best-looking body shapes ever to come out of Japan, the 240Z series kicked off into the market in 1969. Powered by a capable if unspectacular SOHC straight six engine, they have become highly desirable on the collector market. Unmolested originals - particularly manuals - are very difficult to find and command big numbers.

Which is why this two-seater 260Z (there was also a longer and less-focussed 2+2) got our attention. This series was built 1974-78 with numerous modifications along the way.

For its time, it had decent specifications: independent suspension all round with disc front brakes and drum rear, a 2.6lt straight six powerplant and a choice of four-speed manual (depending on market) or three-speed auto transmission.

Power was a claimed 162hp (121kW) at a fairly lazy 5600rpm with a torque figure of 157ft-lb (213Nm) at 4400rpm. It weighed around 1100kg, which meant the acceleration was solid rather than exciting. But it had a decent top speed (over 200km/h) and handled well for its day.

The engines in fact respond well to a little warming up, without hurting the reliability.

Like their forebears, 260Zs, particularly two-seaters, are difficult to find in decent condition.

This one claims to have had the rust issues sorted and runs a five-speed manual. It also runs 16-inch rims, which opens up your choice of rubber. Located in NSW, it's priced at $25,000.

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