I usually don’t get overly excited about stuff from offshore manufacturers but this 1971 Datsun 240Z brought back some nice memories of the days when most automotive brands had some form of affordable sports car. This car fell into that category along with the MGBGT, the Mercury Capri, Buick’s Opel GT and others of similar size, slightly smaller than the mid-sixty ponycars.
In my opinion the 240Z was the best looking out of all of them. It was such a vast improvement over Datsun’s earlier 1600 and 2000 sportscars in both appearance and function. The ’70 through ’72 models came with the slimmer bumpers that grew significantly larger and less attractive as seen on the ’73 and later Z’s. When you sat in the early 240Z cars you felt like you were sitting in a true two seater sportscar.
This particular car is a very nice representation of everything that was great about the first 240Z’s. The cosmetic restoration that it received years ago is still holding up very nicely. It runs well with its 2.4L inline OHC six. It’s not overly powerful but the powerband works well within the gearing of the four speed manual transmission and IRS rearend. The rack and pinion steering directs the car precisely through the corners, and remarkably, with no bumpsteer while travelling over the last of New Hampshire’s frost heaves.
As I told the owner of this particular car, “I worked on these things when they were new.” This car was everything that I remembered them to be in terms of being really fun to drive. A true sports car should make you feel good about (and while) driving it. This one does.