TORQUE GT ● BLOG
Sleek & Uncivilised - Datsun 240Z
When it comes to old school Japanese automotive shapes the 240Z is pretty high up on the list. From it’s swooping long bonnet to it’s sharp lipped rear it’s hard to find an unflattering angle. You could call it Japans answer to the E-Type Jag. All the proportions are spot on!
The courageous Datsun has it all, great looks, tail happy handling and Japanese reliability. Just imagine your in the 1970’s driving along in your Ford Cortina and out of nowhere this glamorous shape fly’s passed you, bewildering you with it’s noise…
Fully restored in 2001 (The Z farm) and yet again a mere 3 years ago (2015) by Classic car specialists Fourways engineering in Kent this 1972 Datsun 240Z had a small fortune spent on it in the last few years alone. Backed up with detailed service history and photographic documentation of the restoration process the care this 240Z has received over the years is beyond impressive. With MOT certificates and TAX discs dating back 30 years present within the service history folder shows what this car meant to the previous owners.
It soon became apparent during its creation, that the Datsun 240Z represented all the requirements of sports-minded drivers by fulfilling their desires for superb styling, power and safety whilst providing them with the most thrilling and enjoyable ride available in any car.
According to Classic and Sportscar, the ‘Z’ was “In a different technical league” whilst Race and Track Magazine noted “Datsun have reinvented the sports-car with the sleek, civilised, sexy and sporty 240Z”. Reporting 151 B.H.P and 146 lb ft of torque at just 4,400 rpm, Car & Driver said; “A brilliantly conceived car with twice as much thought having gone into it when compared to the Big Healey, MGC, Lotus Elan, Porsches and Corvettes”.
Offering a 125mph top-speed and the 0-60mph dash in a shade under 8 seconds, the well-spaced 5-speed gear ratios made the most of the engine’s torque whilst retaining the ability to achieve in excess of 30 mpg, this was to put the ‘Z’ ahead of many of it’s contemporaries and on a par with Porsche 911s of the time. Very impressive, by anyone’s standards.
It was no surprise therefore that, for many years the Datsun 240Z was heralded as the most successful sports-car of all time. Launched in the UK as Car & Driver’s ‘Car of the Year’, it was noted by renowned race-driver and motoring journalist John Bolster of Autosport; “To the man who still regards high-speed driving as a pleasure and an art, it promotes un-ending joy with the benefit of easy door entry, ample seat adjustment and good visibility for even the tallest of drivers”.
Although Datsun didn’t invent the Overhead-Cam Engine, Disc Brakes or all-round Independent suspension, the 240Z incorporated all of these systems into a brilliantly conceived car.
New paintwork colours were introduced (intended to attract the young), such as, Montecarlo Silver, Orange and Grand-Prix Blue Metallic with all cars having tinted glass. Equipment levels were high, the sports theme continuing with an almost entirely black interior. Front and rear spoilers were fitted to improve handling stability.
The Datsun ‘Z’ had an immeasurable record in competition, achieving excellent results in both racing and rallying, earning the car a deserved reputation for ruggedness and reliability. Carefully gas-flowing the cylinder head, increasing compression ratios, fitting high-lift performance camshafts and the use of Mangoletsi-type inlet manifolds with triple 40 DCOE carburettors, along with 6-into-1 exhaust manifolds and straight-through exhaust systems, led to power outputs in excess of 190 B.H.P and 0-60 mph times of around the 6 seconds mark.
Thoughts of replicating the same are what led to the procurement of this original right-hand-drive car.
Nissan GB have themselves commissioned The Z Farm of North Yorkshire – one of the country’s leading Datsun ‘Z’ restorers – to recreate their own ‘as-new’ 240Z. It should come as no surprise to learn then, they were responsible for the comprehensive bare-metal restoration with period modifications, of this superb blue example back in 2001, detailed as follows:-
• Strip the complete vehicle to bare shell and carefully assess all components..
• Carry out concourse-standard restoration to the bodywork.
• Strip and assess
• Fully rebuild a balanced and blueprinted engine to 190 B.H.P fast-road specification with triple weber 40 DCOE carburettors.
• Supply and fit Janspeed 6-branch manifold/exhaust system.
• Upgrade braking system with vented discs and four-pot callipers.
• Fit period 7J x 14 Wolfrace Alloys to clear callipers.
• Rebuild/replace all ancillary items.
Back in the day if you wanted a car that would munch up the miles, the 240Z would of been the perfect companion for a grand tour. Other exotics of the time may of given you doubt in whether they would be durable enough for long distance runs, but being from Japan you could of been assured your Datsun wouldn’t let you down.