Datsun 240Z | Buyer’s Guide

Datsun 240Z | Buyer’s Guide

(ambient music) – [Voiceover] In Japan,
it’s known as the Fairlady. The rest of the world
knows it as the Samurai. But one thing’s for certain,
whatever you call it, the 240 Z is a fantastic package. 150 brake horsepower, naught
to 60 in eight seconds, the 2393CC Straight Six is one of the sweetest you’ll ever
find, and here’s the thing. This is a reliable super car. It’s a car you can use every single day. And that’s why the 240Z
is absolutely brilliant. So obviously you want to
buy one, and who wouldn’t? In the last ten years, values
have gone through the roof. And that’s why we’re here today, at Bicester Heritage in England. There’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is, because Datsun made 150,000 of them and more, there’s plenty of spare parts
around, plenty of specialists, there’s second hand parts as well. All the mechanical bits are sorted, there are even panels as well. Unfortunately, the bad news is like any Japanese car of this
era, the 240Z rusts. So let’s start with the bodywork. So like any car built
in Japan at this time, rust is the big enemy. You need to do some
specific checks on the 240Z. Along the front lip of the bonnet, that’s a water trap, rust collects there. Check inside the bumper, because they rust from the inside out. Follow yourself around the wheel arches, do all the normal checks
that you would normally do on any car of this age. The sills, get down and low and feel. If you’ve got a magnet with
you, that could be quite useful. Slip it in a sock, put
it against the body work and run it along, you might be able to find some filler
there, be wary of that. All the way along to
the dog leg of the back, the dog leg is a notorious rust spot. Check carefully for patch repairs here and also carefully for any patch repairs, it’s extremely difficult
to replace anything here. With any great skill, it’s very expensive and these cars, 15 years
ago they were worth nothing, so you’ve got to check for budges because back in the day,
that’s what would’ve happened; they’d have been patched
up and thrown together. So look carefully for
patches, look carefully for thick under seal or new under seal that might be hiding some kind of horror. Because if there is something wrong here, you’ll have to redo it, it’ll
be a restoration project and that will cost you money. Okay, now’s the time to go inside. If you can, lift the carpets
and what’s underneath them because that’s where you
should find some more rust if it hasn’t been looked after properly. If there’s anything that
leaks in this vehicle, the water will go down,
it won’t escape, it’ll just sit there until it
starts rusting through. Check out where the
floorpans meet the seals, check out where the
floorpan meets the bulkhead and also behind the driver
and passenger seats as well. Gonna go under the bonnet now. Opens in the middle, a bit like a Jag. Now, you might notice this is
a bit of a modified engine. But we’ll come on to that later. Very, very important. When you’re inside the engine
bay to check the inner wings, strut tops is really, really,
a notorious rust point. Check them from underneath if you can, but you might need to take
the wheels off for that. The biggest killer of 240Z’s is where the chassis rails meet the bulkhead. Check very carefully
there for rust obviously, and also for botched patch repairs. If there is under seal, maybe even dig into it to have a look. But with the seller’s
permission, obviously. When you’re buying, it’s worth having a really good scout around the engine bay. Like you would with any
car, check for obvious signs of leakages, check for
frayed electrics and wiring, check for all sorts,
those all sorts of things that you normally would. So let’s have a look
underneath the oil cap. What you’re looking
for here is mayonnaise, where oil and water has mixed to congeal, that’s a sign of a head gasket failure. Do the same with the radiator cap, check inside there to see if there’s any oil in the water, similar things, all of these things could
be negotiating points. Remember, if there is some mayonnaise underneath the oil cap, it
doesn’t necessarily mean there’s been a head gasket failure, it might just be that the
car’s been left for a while and there’s condensation
underneath rocker cover. The 240Z has got some fantastic
little tricks up its sleeve. These lovely inspection
hatchets, they’re just gorgeous. There’s one on the other
side there so you can inspect underneath the
battery tray as well. In all though, it’s a
great looking engine bay. Everything you can get at as well, so it’s really easy to service at home. And servicing at home
is made even easier by the nifty little torch, this one works. If the one that you’re buying works, it’s obviously the sign of a car that’s been well looked after. It’s a great little toy. Okay, the interior of a 240Z is a vision in black, vinyl and plastic. It’s like the definition of the 1970’s. Deep dials, you’ve got these
fantastic vents in the seats, beautiful sculpted steering wheel. But, it’s not particularly strong as well. You’ve got to be careful to look for splits in the dashboard,
that’s a classic sign of a car that’s been
keep in a hot, dry state. You’ve got to look as well to see if the dashboard has been replaced. A good way of doing that is to check in the speedo here. If it starts at 20 miles per hour, then that’s an original speedometer. If the oil pressure gauge goes up to 140 pounds per square inch, then you know you’ve got an
original pressure gauge. It’s not necessarily a
problem but it could be something you want to negotiate on. Everywhere look for wear and tear, and if there is wear and tear, don’t worry because it can all be remade and there are plenty of second hand parts around. But they’re good negotiating points. There’s always another
thing to look at as well. If you check round the
back of the seats here, lift up the carpets just here, both sides, and on one side you should find an original jack in this hatch. On the other side, the original toolkit. Now if they’re both
there, that’s really nice because it means the
car’s been looked after and you won’t have to go
and find them yourself. Also, check things like the original luggage straps are there,
again, lovely touch. Means it’s a well-presented car. Now, (whispers) let’s start the engine. The first thing you notice
when you sit in the 240 is how brilliantly spacious it is. You will be fine if you’re a six-footer. You’ll also be fine in terms of the amount of space that you have for your luggage, for yourself,
everything falls to hand nicely. It’s been well thought out,
it’s a great car for that. But once you’re in of
course, you gotta do the duty and that is to turn the engine on. Now before I start this
engine, I’m gonna tell you, this is a hot engine, okay? It’s gonna sound really
cammy and really loud. A normal 240Z will be a
lot quieter than this, but I’m gonna do it anyway. (engine revving loudly) That’s a fantastic noise, now while the engine is
spooling up and warming up, you can do a lot of instrument checks. You can make sure that you
go through all the lights, go through the indicators, make
sure that everything works, all the dials work, the
clock works, the radio works. Do all your checks as the
engine begins to warm up. And of course, when you start the engine, check for blue smoke at the back. It might even be worth
opening the rear hatch, okay? Every time you blip the throttle just keep an eye out for the smoke. There could be a little bit of smoke on start up, it’s not a problem. If it continues or if
it’s any other colour, investigate a bit further. Now the thing about the 240Z is that it should feel modern
enough to be effortless, and classic enough to
be really interesting. One of the problems with
doing test drives with a car like the 240Z is that
they are such competent vehicles in their own right that actually even a bad one drives well. So it’s worth taking it for a
reasonably lengthy test drive. Remember it’s got a five speed box. On the road, anything that
feels vague in the steering, anything that feels
vague in the suspension, check it out when you get back, because like any other
classic car a 240Z might well suffer from worn bushes,
worn dampers and springs. It’s all replaceable,
that’s the good news. One of the most important
things to check on a 240Z when you’re out on the road if you’ve got some space is the brakes. It should put up in a straight line. If it doesn’t, you might have a bit of seized caliper problem. But in general, the biggest
problem about taking a 240Z for a test drive, and this is the real crux of the thing, is that actually, you
won’t want to give it back. (ambient music)

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Chances are if anybody is going to be buying one of these beautiful cars, it's not going to be running, there will be more rust than paint, and the tires will have been from 1981… You should make a video on how to buy one in bad shape and make a step by step process video checking, compression, oil, and bearings/hinges and that sort of stuff. Anyways great video!

  2. Despite some minor errors pointed out by some sharp-eyed Z lovers, this was the most enjoyable "short" comment/review vid on Youtube I have seen in a while. Good work!

  3. Very good advices but at this point just buy what you can find and expect to pay or do body work. For the rest keep the ecu dry or you'll see yourself install a megasquirt/haltech/used ecu. They are in the worst location and they are not sealed at all.

  4. The prices on these cars are ridiculous. I swear it's as if fanboys run my life now. I almost got one of these running and driving for 300 bucks when I was 15. Of course my mom wasn't having it, I was upset about for a while but I never though that a rusted out piece of junk would turn into 4k.

  5. All the talk of rust makes me glad I live in California. There are positively ancient old hoopties running around without a speck of it. Downside to all that sun in faded/cracked plastics and upholstery, but those are easier fixes than rust.

  6. Are those wheels Konig Rewinds? If so, can you still purchase them new? Also, I'm currently looking to buy a datsun 240z as a daily driver, any tips for me? (budget range is roughly ($14,000)(€12,737.69). I hope you respond to comments! Thank you for the informative video!

  7. The car in this vid looks just perfect. Great colour, nice wheels, lovely interior and absolutely original – no garish spoilers, flared arches, scoops etc.

  8. Actually the dog legs rust from the inside out and often look fine from the outside, best to just cut them out and replace them, they have a panel. I welded a stronger plate inside, coated and gave it drainage. The reason for the rust there was no real drainage. Who cares about the hood and fenders, they make them or you can find used ones before any bodywork. Major rust spot is under the rear hatch, on the tailgate, behind the headlights and along the top of the gate is always rusted. They make the piece for that too.

  9. 240 Z Enthusiasts… I need you help!!! I accidently smacked my Z into a concrete barrier of a lamp post in a parking lot. It was night, and hard to see… I have ALL THE PARTS, but it is going to take around 4000 USD to repair, and I would really appreciate it if the community can help me out… click on updates on the gofundme site for photos of the damage. Also watch my pre-accident video on the page… I also broke my left wrist, that at least was covered in the insurance, but my father had taken off collision and Comp… so, I need everyone's help to get "The Dragon" back on the road.
    Please help me get my 1972 Datsun 240 Z repaired and back on the road!! THANK YOU for your generosity!!

  10. Good video, shoulda watched this before I bought mine but I got it so cheap because of all the rust. And my rebuild process has been fun. Good luck finding a non rusted z!

  11. "15 years ago, they were worth nothing" – have you got your maths wrong – in 1985, they were worth next to nothing; in 2000, like all classic cars, prices of those were rising fast

  12. My oldest brother had this car and it sat in the yard for 7 years after his accident and then mother gave it away.
    Sad stuff

  13. I had a 1973 240z in near perfect condition I bought in 1985 when I was 18. I eventually sold it and the lady I sold it to totaled it 6 months later. I wish I never sold it.

  14. Wife got a ticket in mine , she had to borrow it one night , having never driven it before . she said the hood was so long she didn't realize how fast she was going . 59 in a 45 zone !

  15. I have owned my 71 240Z for over 25 years now and was my daily driver up until about 3 years ago, when I decided to do a full restoration on it. Now it is completely torn down and I am slowly putting it all back together. So far I have over $48,000 in to it and still looking at another $2000 to finish it off. I am very excited to drive it once again.

  16. Datsun is the best car ever been manufactured and produced and is one of the best sexiest car.Is the manufacturer is still manufacturing and producing, because we need to order and own one for the.

  17. This has been my dream car for so long, and I've never even been able to sit in one. I'm so afraid I wont even fit.. I'm 6'5 and have always had a hard time fitting in all my favorite cars, it's become such a discouragement. Like I'm forced to forever drive my Bronco and big ass boat cars. Not that I don't love my Bronco, but I want a car I like as well as that.

  18. Japanese cars rusted in 70s…? And British cars didn't? When this was new it cost the same as a dolomite sprint. The 240Z was one of the first truly desirable Japanese cars and what a fabulous car it was.

  19. Similar to the Mark 1 Celica in terms of styling–very pretty car and looks great from every angle.Weak review though, ' Look for signs of wear and tear'—what would you expect from a seventies car!

  20. My first X had a 280ZX Turbo. The ZX was known for relatively loose, sloppy, Americanized handling and steering. Not that it wasn't fun to drive as a Grand Tourer, but it wasn't the taught sports car that the 240, 260, 280Zs were. So in those I don't expect as much handling precision. Also, on those later ones, like those ZXs, beware of problems associated with the luxury touches Nissan/Datsun added, like the climate control. There were many vacuum lines, each one a potential leak, and since they were still using the chassis of the sports car the space to work on that stuff under there is nil, making it a source of learning to curse in Japanese.

  21. My grandfather got one in 1973 and used it as a daily driver for 40 years it's still in the family today

  22. I had 1970 240 z 4 speed that car would variance feel honored beat every car I reached on the freeway

  23. Step away from the Z Mr. Doofus. Owning a Nissan Leaf does not make you an authority on Datsun S30s. The British are dumbing the British are dumbing. Men from the Uk are not an authority on ANYTHING the last time I ckd the QUEEN has them by the balls.

  24. Great video, thank you for posting, it poited out most the things I should be looking for when I go to see a 280 Z that's for sale.

  25. Great to look at, a nightmare to repair and maintain, with all the rust issues. You basically have to get the 240Z all sorted, never drive it again, and put it in a hermetically sealed glass display. There's always something with some of these "heartbreaker cars" as I call them, some particular, serious weakness, that make them deal-breakers. Rust is the 240Z's. Forget it.

  26. Iam german…………………… germany it is boring watchig a 911 (old or even new or the way around) takes you over on the left side.Watching a Ferrari overtakes you ( better old than new is real cream!
    Driving a 240z ( modified or not ) overtaking a Porsche or Ferrari makes you real proud and ( Dare to be different) in germany. Greets Martin Weber

  27. Wasted many hours drooling over the motorsport auto catalog each time it came ( was the only decent parts in the day). BTW ownad '73 240z & '76 280z.

  28. “Samurai” is the most badass nickname for a car ever, except for “Outlaw” for the Porsche 356.

  29. My dad has a 280zx. Does anyone know how much it would cost for a body paint? It’s exactly the same color as the car in the video. Thinking about painting the car to black or red. Maybe other colors

  30. This was my first car in England, a '72 bought in 1975… Great car: before I knew any better I treated it like crap and it just kept on ticking. Loved it!

  31. Of all the cars I owned over the years (starting in 69) I miss my "71 Z the most followed by a 71 Dodge Charger. Both were beautiful cars. Interestingly I still have some body repair panels stored away for the Z.

  32. I'm going to dislike this video just because you pronounce it zed. Z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z z. No ed in the z name ask google how to pronounce z I'm sure it's not zed

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