cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/18/20 6:31 p.m.

I have an opportunity to pick up an early 240z that has been sitting for....a while. The seller is helping to dispose of it for a relative that is moving into a nursing home. They know very little about it, but assume it's not running. 

I know these cars had rust problems, but is there anything else in particular I should look for? This has been a dream car for me since I was in high school, a neighbor had one that I nearly bought but I had nowhere to store it and really, no money to maintain it at the time. Trying to go into it maintaining some objectivity, the fact is that I really don't have space or time for it now, but they're not getting any easier to find. 

Current state is buried:


You said it. rust. otherwise get it. Maybe get it even if it's rusty. I have no real knowledge of problem areas. 

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
7/18/20 6:46 p.m.

If it's a really early one, they are worth real money and have some hard to find parts.  Makes it worthwhile to keep it original.  

Otherwise, hang a brace of Weber's on it, a header and a 2 1/2 inch exhaust with a turbo muffler and enjoy.

Rust.  Yeah.  Rust.  All over.  If there's no large holes visible in the frame through the front wheel wells, it's a good one.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/18/20 8:03 p.m.

If it's local-ish to you, there's a reasonable chance that it's not that rusty. But yeah, that's more or less the only thing to look for.

And then pull an MCM and stick an RB26 in it .

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
7/18/20 8:06 p.m.

In reply to BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) :

They swallow a small block Chevrolet very nicely, but a L28 with a diesel crank makes three plus liters and the correct noises.

And you can buy parts on this continent.

Pattyo Reader
7/18/20 8:14 p.m.

I have a few. Could you be more specific with what you want to know?

240z's are great little cars and are becoming more popular seemingly by the day. '69-'70 are different than the '71-73. Lots of little differences.... 

The engines and trans are swappable all the way up to '83; including the turbo models. Though originality is best for re-sale.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/18/20 8:21 p.m.

I'm pretty sure this badge makes it pre-72. I really don't have space or time for it, so this will probably be more of a "get running and driving, hold onto it for 6 months" situation rather than a full resto or motor swap project, but I'm always interested in bad ideas devil.

If it's rusty at all I don't think I can do it, but if it's not, game on. It sounds like it will be at least a week before it's cleared off and I can go check it out. 

Tom1200 Dork
7/18/20 8:25 p.m.

Check the sills floors and area just below the windshield. The mechanicals are solid. First step just get it running after that you can figure out what you want to do. The possibility for modifications on these is endless.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/18/20 8:26 p.m.

In reply to Pattyo :

I guess anything that's a problem area that's not obvious - some cars have particular places that rust out that are hard to spot if you're not familiar with them, that sort of thing. Also any parts that are unobtanium, so I can make sure they're present and accounted for. 

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
7/18/20 8:37 p.m.

Rust or not they get crazy dollars.  Even if you flip it you won't lose out.  

All the $2500 240Z's I passed on?   

ShawnG UltimaDork
7/18/20 8:40 p.m.

Battery tray is above the frame rail at the firewall. Mucho rot in that area.

Pattyo Reader
7/18/20 8:42 p.m.

On a 240 you really want everything. I know that is not helpful, sorry. If you give me the year I can give you specifics of what to look for.  3 screw carb tops vs 4 screw, that sort of thing.

Rust and issues: rear hatch along the seam, the top of the rear  lights, battery box usually has issues so pull out the battery and the plastic cover, the inside of the headlight buckets can be bad, the center console usually has a Crack from people putting their weight on it, the door cards get cut for aftermarket speakers, the radio surround gets cut for aftermarket radios, the dash cracks and gets covered with a plastic cover, half covers are easy to spot. The outer window squeegee gets hard and cracks and is expensive to replaced with oem. Nothing is impossible to replace but can get spendy.

Hubcaps are rare so hopefully it has those instead of d-slots that everyone throws on them.

Feedyurhed UltraDork
7/18/20 9:02 p.m.

The OEM radios and antennas can go for big money. There's a 240Z radio listed on Ebay right now that claims to be in "stunning condition" with one bid so far at $1200. Antennas are sort of in the $300-$400 range. I picked up a 240Z radio at a salvage yard a few years ago (not in the best shape) for $20 and listed it on Ebay for $450 and it sold in the first hour........a sure sign I asked way to little for it.  Should have sold for twice that. Didn't do an auction, went with buy it now.  Anyway, check out the radio and hopefully it's an OEM and not an after market.

Pattyo Reader
7/18/20 9:14 p.m.

In reply to cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) :

Just saw your pic, that badge is the mark 1 badge, rarest and most expensive models. The valve cover should say Nissan 2400: metal fan, e31 head, e31 intakes, the carbs should have 4 screws holding the tops on, the air cleaner should just have a snout without  "valve", 4 speed manual trans, rear hatch has the vents instead of the c pillar, fuel door has an external latch, two small map pockets mounted vertically behind the seats, the steering wheel has indents but not squart holes, I think the horn pad says "Datsun", the rear glass should have VERTICAL defrost lines.

I forgot to mention the spare tire well as a rusty problem area. I don't know how much you would have to give for this car, but even if it is rusty all the things I just mentioned are very expensive, so good for re-sale.

Good luck! I hope to see the thread! 

tremm New Reader
7/19/20 7:06 a.m.

Throw it up on bat as-is & give the old people their money?

docwyte UberDork
7/19/20 9:25 a.m.

My Dad had a 280Z when I was little.  These are super cool cars and unless its a rust bucket you should go get it

Datsun310Guy MegaDork
7/19/20 9:39 a.m.

Rust - I bought a '72 parts car that spent its life in Milwaukee, WI then sat in a chicken barn for 10 years on a dirt floor.  

Pattyo Reader
7/19/20 11:46 a.m.

It looks like OP is in the San Francisco area. Does the ocean cause things to rust? Its been off the road for awhile so hopefully it is not too bad.

wspohn Dork
7/19/20 12:05 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

hang a brace of Weber's on it, a header and a 2 1/2 inch exhaust with a turbo muffler and enjoy.


If by 'brace' you are using the correct meaning of a pair, I assume you mean those horrid downdraft Webers people inflict on cars. Please do not do that. For a straight six, Webers should be side draft and come in threes, not pairs!

I have been an admirer of the 240Z (that is pronounced 'Zed', not 'Zee' ) since they came out and instantly obsoleted most of the British sports cars then for sale.

friedgreencorrado UltimaDork
7/19/20 12:09 p.m.

There is a deep, dark secret held by those of us who like vintage J-Tin. 

Yes, they are brilliantly engineered. And their initial build quality is astounding. But they rust like Fiats.

That being said, Z cars are one of the ones finally getting some love in the collectors' market. Bring it home. Check it out. You might have one of the last "driver quality" ones left. Worst case, you'll make a few bucks parting it out and helping better examples survive. 

I wouldn't turn my back on a cheap Z. They're amazing cars.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
7/19/20 12:24 p.m.
Pattyo said:

It looks like OP is in the San Francisco area. Does the ocean cause things to rust? Its been off the road for awhile so hopefully it is not too bad.

IME and from buying cars from that area in the past, it's much less of an issue than, say, in the mid-Atlantic area on the other coast.

cmcgregor (Forum Supporter)
cmcgregor (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
7/19/20 12:42 p.m.

Thanks for all the info! I'll keep you all posted as things develop. 

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