Datsun 240Z sells for AU$145,000 at auction

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 front quarter Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 front quarter
Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 rear quarter Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 rear quarter
Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 interior Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 interior
Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 engine Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 engine
Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 undercarriage Datsun 240Z sells for 145000 undercarriage

The restored Z is one of around 37 cars restored by Nissan America

Vintage Japanese sports cars have enjoyed tremendous rises in collector interest and subsequent value recently – illustrated by a number of ceiling-shattering sales overseas that have seen otherwise catalogue offerings of yesteryear fetching eye-watering prices.

We had long been of the opinion that there are plenty of interesting and fantastic-driving Japanese sports cars available to collectors, which until now have been available for a relative pittance with plenty of headroom for gain.

The tide seems to be turning on the once-humble Japanese sports car, and it’s quickly turning into a tsunami – with Datsun’s layman performance car at the centre of it.

Just last month, we reported on the United States sale of a restored Datsun 240z with plenty of history; it sold for an astronomical AU$180,000.

And now another 1972 Datsun 240Z restoration has been auctioned on the American online auction site Bring-A-Trailer for almost AU$145,000 (US$101,240).

This example is one of around 37 240Zs that was restored in Nissan America’s Vintage Restoration Program, a late-90s project to restore and resell the original Z-car in between the 300ZX that ended production in 2000, and the arrival of the 350Z in 2002.

Jalopnik reports that back in 1996, Nissan North America bought a fleet of good surviving Datsun 240Zs, and commissioned four specialty Z shops to carry out nut and bolt restorations.

The cars were completely disassembled and restored to close-to-factory specification, but added modern tyres, brakes, clutch and modern suspension components for reliability and roadworthiness. The cars were then sent to ten dealerships across the US to be sold for around US$27,000 with a 12-month/12,000 mile warranty.

Nissan originally intended to sell 200 restored 240Zs, but they weren’t on the collectible radar yet, and fewer than 40 completed cars eventuated.

This one is finished in Lime Yellow over black vinyl interior, and features a rebuilt 2.4lt inline-six with a four-speed manual transmission: all corrected to the car’s build order from 1972.

The odometer wears just 97,000 miles to date.

While the sale of this 240 is some AU$35,000 shy of the record price we reported last month, the ultimate 240Z sales record goes to a Japanese-spec Fairlady Z 432: one of 420 produced for the Japanese market, bearing the four-valve triple-carburetted S20 engine from the original Hakosuka Skyline GT-R. It sold at RM Sotheby’s in 2017 for AU$245,000.

Hagerty has reported surging year-on-year search volume for the humble Z-car since 2015: with values for neat cars nearing US$40,000, and exceptional examples reaching US$60,000.

Time will tell whether the recent string of high-dollar sales sees a trickle-down effect on an already bolstering Z-car market.


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