1973 Datsun 240Z

Few realize the roots of Nissan reach back to 1912, when a young man named Masujiro Hashimoto created a car. The car was named DAT, after three family member’s initials. By 1934, the cars were Datsuns and the company was Nissan. By the late 1950s, Yuraka Katayama, a young engineer educated in America, advocated both the use of racing to develop the breed and the idea of a car designed for the very different roads and drivers in America.

Katayama hired noted German designer Dr. Albrecht Graf von Goertz, who had been involved in the creation of the BMW 507. He and the Nissan styling staff developed the design while Katayama engineered the drivetrain and built the prototype. However, Nissan and Yamaha could not agree on the engine design and the project was shelved. Later, Goertz and Yamaha took the engine and prototype to Toyota and the result was the Toyota 2000GT, an original and striking design.

Nissan decided to develop a car in house. Chief designer Yoshihiko Matsuo and his team developed the car we know today as the 240Z, using a selection of contemporary sports cars as influences. Introduced in 1969, it was an immediate success, offering striking styling, strong performance, advanced specifications, good build quality and an affordable price.

The car’s sleek lines easily placed it at the top ranks of production sports cars of the time. Inside, a luxurious interior with reclining seats, an impressive instrumentation binnacle, and a host of standard equipment creature comforts added to the appeal. Its sophisticated single-overhead cam straight-six engine, four-wheel independent suspension, and disc brakes put the car in a class by itself. For the first time ever, it could be said that owning a Japanese car was the dream of high school boys-both in Japan and America.

The exceptional 42,000-mile example pictured here has been in the same family since new. Garage kept, its paint is excellent as is the original interior. Unlike many, it has never been modified and looks, runs and sounds like a new car. The car is also well equipped, with electric rear window defroster, underhood light and a full tool kit.

It is well documented, including the original window sticker, owner’s manual, past registrations, service work orders, the warranty and service booklet, warranty registration card and even the original radio operation guide. Both a Chilton’s and factory service manual (on CD) accompany the car.

A car can be restored many times but is new only once. The outstanding example offered here provides the informed collector with a rare opportunity to acquire an original, one-owner, unrestored example of the car that started it all for Nissan-the original Z car.

Jim Schrager

Jim Schrager - SCM Contributor

Jim wrote for the 356 Registry and SCM for over a decade, was a Contributing Editor for Porsche Panorama (the magazine of the Porsche Club of America), and wrote for Excellence and the Porsche Market Letter. He has written two popular books on vintage Porsches: Buying, Driving, and Enjoying the Porsche 356; and Buying, Driving, and Enjoying the Early Porsche 911. He owns about 20 vintage Porsches, which he attempts to keep on the road through all kinds of weather. He is a clinical professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he teaches a popular course on strategy. He actively races his family’s 41-foot sailboat with his two boys on Lake Michigan.

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