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Updated 1974 Datsun 260Z: Brilliance Or Blasphemy?

Posted in Car Buying, Cars, Cool Stuff, Corner Carvers, Favorite Cars, Foreign Cars, Nissan by Kurt Ernst | August 24th, 2010 | 3 Responses |

Photo: Sports Car Gallery

I have it bad for the first generation Datsun Z cars, particularly the original 240Z. The first generation cars made no apologies for being affordable sports cars, and unmolested examples get harder and harder to find each year. Datsun Zs began their evolution to GT cars with the introduction of the Datsun 260Z in 1974. In the U.S. market, the 260Z was sold in 1974 only, and new emission regulations made early import cars less powerful (by 11 horsepower) than the outgoing 240Z. The 280Z made its US debut in 1975, and things went downhill quickly after that.

Photo: Sports Car Gallery

Bring A Trailer has found this well built 1974 Datsun 260Z for sale in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. The exterior is stunning, with a tasteful front airdam and period correct Panasport wheels. Inside, it appears that the seats have been replaced by aftermarket cloth buckets, which isn’t a bad thing. The dash isn’t cracked, and added switchgear doesn’t detract from the appearance. In fact, it makes the car look like a track day toy that could be used for a daily commute.

Photo: Sports Car Gallery

Under the hood, however, beats an entirely different heart than what this car rolled out of the factory with. Gone is the normally aspirated straight six, replaced by a turbcharged V6 pulled from a 1989 300ZX Turbo. The original four speed trans and rear end were also traded out for the five speed and differential from the 1989 300ZX Turbo, and the motor was tuned to produce in the neighborhood of 400 horsepower from pump gas.

Photo: Sports Car Gallery

The car was built three years ago at a cost of $60,000, and the original owner died soon after its completion. The car sat, covered in a garage, for two years before being sold to Sports Car Gallery in Beaver Falls, PA. The dealership details all the work done to the car, and it sounds like it really is a no-excuses, turnkey driver. Given how much work has been done to it, the asking price of $19,900 really doesn’t seem out of line.

Still, there’s the whole non-original thing to contend with. If you drop your hard earned money on this car, chances are you’ll have a very entertaining daily driver and not much more. As a resto mod, you can’t expect the car to appreciate in value, even though it still uses a Nissan drivetrain. For the price, there aren’t many cars that would run with this Z on a track and look as good parked in your driveway. Is that enough? My guess is “yes”, and I seriously doubt this car will stick around long. If you have to have it, you’ll find it at Sports Car Gallery.

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3 Responses

  1. Taylor says:

    The whole originality thing can only go so far. Most people that buy into the “it has to be original” only have their cars so they can 1) possibly turn a profit at a later date or 2) so they can look down their noses at everyone else while they proclaim that they have an all original whizbang sitting in their garage.

    I say, if you are going to spend the money for a car and then let it sit in your garage undriven then you are wasting your money. However, if you buy a car, even if it is a Lambo that only sees around town MPH but you still enjoy it then more power to you. Cars are built for a reason. I can pretty much guarantee that sitting unused in a hermatically sealed cript is not one of them.

    Long to short of it, as long as there is some originality in a car project who really gives a damn as long as the owner is happy.

  2. Kurt says:

    Taylor, I kind of agree with you. Strangely enough, I’d spring for a 260Z with a 300ZX Turbo drivetrain, but I wouldn’t spring for one with a small block Chevy. Go figure.

  3. fairlady fan says:

    …just saw a blue one of these on the road the other day…all restored and looking quite nice. I’ll admit it, I had ride envy at the time….