Lot 21: Datsun 240Z
The Z wouldn't have made it to production without the encouragement given to the project by Nissan USA's President Yutaka Katayama. A small team headed by Yoshihiko Matsuo designed the car, and whilst a huge seller in the USA, sales were hampered in Britain by a high purchase price and residual anti-Japanese sentiment. But any Z represents a huge leap forward for the sportscar over established `classics' such as MG and TR, and in truth, the Datsun is the spiritual successor to the Austin Healey 3000, which went out of production a year before the Datsun came onto the market in 1969. The team even went so far as to think about how long-distance transportation to North America would affect the cars cosmetic condition, and rust-proofed accordingly; British sports cars often arrived on the dockside with visible corrosion. The single overhead-cam 2393cc straight-six (L24) motor was a revelation in drivability, and would scream to its high-for-the-day 6500rpm redline. Hitachi copies of SU side-draught carburettors were utilised, but modified to improve fuel delivery and power. A five-speed gearbox was a standard fitting, and the rugged all-round McPherson struts and `live' rear axle allowed for hooligan driving in a league beyond that of its natural competitor, the 3-litre Capri. And so it should, although reputedly capable of 0-60mph in 8.3 seconds and 125mph, the 240Z cost almost fifty percent more.
This example was in storage for many years. It was re-commissioned during 2008, and is now refreshed, fully-serviced and re-painted. The car is fitted with alloy wheels from a slightly later 260Z, and the interior is trimmed in white vinyl, diamond-quilted to the load area and transmission tunnel as standard, with a black dashboard. The odometer shows an unwarranted 24,269 miles, and work was completed to the suspension and brakes for the MOT which runs until June 2010. The car falls into the historic taxation bracket. Any fan of the sports car genre should try a 240Z, as the characterful Japanese offering provides a unique experience, with its blend of pace, panache and period detailing. Fewer than 2500 examples were imported into the UK, so an almost-standard Z such as this would be a nigh-on unique entrant at almost any event or tour.
Fine Collectors' Cars|
H&H Sales Limited, The Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£8580|
|Engine capacity (cc)||2393|
|Engine - cylinders|
|Number of doors||2|