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Lot 237: Datsun 240Z Historic Rally Car

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (16 September 2011)

Formed in 1933, the Nissan Motor Company marketed most of its exported products as Datsuns until the latter name was dropped in 1983. There had been Datsun sports cars before the 240Z, most notably the Fairlady series of the 1960s, but with the Big Z's arrival in 1969 the Japanese firm established itself as a major force to be reckoned with in the sports/GT market. Indeed, the Datsun 240Z was the first Japanese-made sports car to achieve worldwide recognition. Boasting a 2.4-litre, overhead-camshaft, six-cylinder engine, five-speed manual (or three-speed automatic) transmission, independent suspension all round and a high trim level as standard, the keenly priced 240Z proved an outstanding success in the all-important North American market, taking sales from MG, Triumph and Jaguar. In addition to its commercial success, the 240Z was immediately successful in motor sport, particularly in club racing in the USA and on the world rally stage. Factory prepared and run rally cars quickly gained a reputation for durability on long distance events, especially the Safari Rally where the 240Z won outright in 1971,'72 and '73. Leading drivers included Edgar Hermann, Rauno Aaltonen, Harry Kallstrom, Shekhar Mehta and Tony Fall. Richard Anthony 'Tony' Fall, a former car salesman from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was the young star of the BMC works team of the mid-1960s, achieving outright wins on five major international rallies in Mini Cooper S and Austin 1800. He subsequently drove for Lancia and Ford (6th on the London-Mexico Rally with footballer Jimmy Greaves) and in 1970 was signed to the Datsun team. In a 240Z he won both the Welsh International (1971) and the Total Rally in South Africa (1972). After retiring from professional driving in 1974 he formed the Dealer Opel Team in the UK and later became motor sport manager for General Motors Europe. In 1992 he purchased the UK motor sport safety equipment company, Safety Devices. Tony died suddenly in Kenya, in December 2007, while assisting the organisers of the Historic Safari Rally. The Datsun 240Z offered for sale was built in 1997/8 by Martin Johnson to a specification similar to the original 'works' rally cars of the 1970s for Tony Fall to compete on historic rallies, and was driven on numerous British and European national and international events, including at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The Tony Fall Datsun has most recently been in the care of BTR Preparations, of Castleford, West Yorkshire. Of unknown capacity, the engine incorporates a race camshaft; modified and polished cylinder head; high-compression racing pistons; triple Weber DCOE carburettors; and an extractor exhaust manifold. Although there are no rolling road figures, the engine is described by BTR as a 'very torquey and strong unit when compared with fully modified 2.85-litre rally engines'. Replaced in January 2011, the clutch is an AP Racing twin-plate item while the gearbox is a very rare works-specification, close-ratio, five-speed synchromesh unit. The 'box was fully serviced by Datsun preparation expert Laurence Evans (Star Motorsport, Coalville, Leicestershire) prior to its last event. Fitted with a limited slip differential, the rear axle has been up-rated with the stronger 280Z Tripode/Hookes joint sliding-spline half-shafts. The suspension struts incorporate Bilstein inserts with motor sport springs, appropriate for UK Historic Rally regulations and particularly for gravel and road use, while the anti-roll bars are original. The rear damper insert bodies have been modified to add grease nipples between the bushes, as 'stiction' was a 'designed in' problem with the rear strut. The geometry was last set for the 2007 Rally Britannia's asphalt conditions. Tony Fall's own steering, suspension geometry and friction reduction modifications are incorporated to improve 'driveability'. The steering features a high-ratio rack with the front suspension modified to reduce bump steer and to rectify a lack of Ackerman geometry. (Both design faults of the original car.) The steering arm/bottom ball joint fixture (bolted to the strut base) is unique to this car. AP Racing discs and callipers provide stopping power at the front, while the rear disc brake conversion is of unknown make. Other noteworthy features include a Motorsport exhaust system, skidded appropriately; substantial sump, rear differential and fuel tank guards; and Safety Devices roll cage, fire extinguishers and seat belts. (The extinguishers will require servicing before the car can be used on an MSA event.) The car rolls on Japanese-made 'works' specification wheels. Offered with Swansea V5, 'MYB 770L' is presented prepared for British historic rallying, and complete with associated paperwork including RAC MSA documentation and copies of the original FIA homologation papers.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Goodwood Revival, Chichester, Sussex, England
Lot Number237
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberMYB 770L
Chassis number
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2