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Need expertise of the Z vets!


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I've been wanting to get a Z for years. Ever since my brother took me out for a spin in his 240 I was hooked! I would read on and off about the Z but never took any initiative.

I have the opportunity to buy an all original 1972 orange 240z with 50k original miles. Mint or near mint condition, no dings, no scratches, original stereo, and even wooden door locks or so. Clean in and out and absolutely no rust. It was always a garaged car. At the price of 8,000 USD. Is this a good deal? What is it worth if its true to its descriptions?

The thing is, I did not see the car myself, but my friend checked it out and even test drove it. I give his opinion weight because his family owns a dealership and he has been dealing with cars his whole life. He knows a heck of alot more then I do.

If I were to go check out the car myself, how would I know the car is all original. I know I can't take a screw driver and poke the floors and panels for holes as its not a rusted project Z car, not to mention it being rude. The owner is my friend's father's friend so I don't think he would be deceitful about the car.

Thanks for your time and I hope to hear your advice!

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OK, first thing---TRUST is an issue which can easily separate you from your money when it comes to buying old cars....

It is NEVER rude to inspect a car thoroughly, especially when it involves a Z car and the words "rust-free." Sorry to be dogmatic, but if you're spending 8k, you deserve to know EVERYthing about the car, good or bad....

"All original"

1) Check the plate on passenger fenderwell of engine bay. It has VIN and engine number printed on it. Engine number is along back edge of block on passenger side right at the head gasket. VIN is also on driver's dash and driver's door jamb.

2) Dash should be all one piece. Some have caps, so be sure to look for strange seams, creases. Clock should have the word "JECO" on it--don't sweat it if it doesn't work. Speedo should begin at 10 mph (earlier models started at 20mph)

3) Seats should have four metal round vents along the lumbar region

4) Shock towers and trans tunnel should have diamond vinyl pattern--no carpet.

5) Original paint? Check the spare tire well, typical overspray in fenderwells and undercarriage. Should be a code decal on passenger side rad support. Info for decal paint numbers is on Zhome.com.

6) Engine: should have all the emissions stuff, including smog pump. 2 domed carbs (SU-type) should be present with an orange air cleaner...

7) Wheels: 14-inch rims. Stock were steel rims and wheel covers (center caps red with Z logo), but dealers put on differing rims like the 5-slot aluminum mags...

Rust: VERY few cars are "rust free." Most have rust which hasn't yet been detected. Major usual suspects include floor pans (UNDER the tar sound deadener) rocker panels, rear quarter panel (INSIDE the plastic interior panel), battery tray, frame rails along rear of fenderwells, rear hatch area.

What do you mean "rude" to check for rust??? It's Standard Operating Procedure for Z Car shopping...

I'm sure there's more, but this is a reasonable start.

If you haven't driven it or seen it, you probably shouldn't buy it unless you're willing to risk an $8,000 mistake. I'm sure your buddy means well, but it's YOUR MONEY you'll be spending, so be careful. Check with NADA for valuation.

Caveat emptor and all that.

Good luck!


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Because there is no hundred thousand mile figure on the odometer, one cannot be completly positive about a milage claim. It is possible for the car to have 150,000 miles rather than 50,000. Which would warrent plenty of bargaining room in the price.

Easiest way to check for validity of the milage claim is to check for spots of common wear and tear. Also you can check stuff like wear on the clutch stop, and maybe even if the braided raidiator hoses are still there that can be a good verification of the low milage. This isn't fool proof though, because it is possible that the car has the low milage and those hoses were just replaced. But you should be able to tell first hand just by overall appearance and a thorough inspection.

Even if it did have 150,000 it is probably still a good buy. Good luck with your inspection and possible purchase!

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........... and even wooden door locks or so.

your profile doesn't say where you, or the car are located, but if you and the car are US models, your statement about "even wooden door locks" confirms that the car IS NOT "all original". Now some may say that this doesn't matter, but I'd be surprised if these items are the only items on the car that are not "all original".

The "locks" ( the actual lock cylinders that you put your key into) are made of metal like any other car. So I'm thinking that you are referring to the stock OEM Datsun supplied "door lock pulls" (the things you grab to unlock the door, or push down to lock the doors from inside) which were made of black plastic on ALL US model 240Zs.

If the car you are looking at has wooden ones, at some point someone went shopping at the local Megalo-Mart for some "pimp-daddy" accessories.

Hopefully you can find someone local who really knows 240Z cars to inspect this one very thoroughly for you, otherwise you're likely to be throwing $8K at a car that isn't what it's being represented to be.

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$8 grand US is about $10.5 grand in Australia. If the car is as you describe and has its original engine, interior and is the original colour with complete badgework then the price is good as far as I'm concerned. (cars in this condition in Australia go for AU$15k plus). However, caveat emptor applies - let the buyer beware. You should satisfy yourself that all claims are true... If so, go for it - you will be buying yourself an increasingly rare thing - an unmolested z-car!

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By all means go see the car for yourself. You'll do several things for yourself by that.

You'll eliminate the possibility of assigning fault to someone else if it should turn out to NOT be everything it's claimed to be. There is still the possibility of being duped, but you aren't being duped by proxy.

You'll be able to talk to the seller and get a feeling for yourself of the man's sincerity and most importantly whether to be extra cautious or not. Not saying that this is an infallible method, but YOU will feel better for it.

You'll be able to ask specific questions regarding any questionable items. The comments above give you an excellent basis from which to proceed.

All original?

Are you making allowances for:

Proper Routine Maintenance?

There are bound to be replacement parts that would make it not 100% original and yet they would have been required in order to maintain it PROPERLY.

Tires changed due to wear (and let's face it 30+ year old tires wouldnt be MY choice to drive on).

Oil Filter, Air Filter, Fan Belts, Hoses, any and all rubber parts could have been replaced, again, if the car were being maintained properly. Again, none of these need be a red flag although they can be good indicators of a lot of things if you know how to interpret them.

Accepted Upgrades?

The change from the points distributor that was ORIGINAL to the 72 to the 280 ZX Electronic Distributor is again, NOT original, but it is a widely found, and accepted, upgrade. That it HAS been done to the car need not imply poor care, it may point to an owner that kept up with "the times".

Radial tires are so common that people would not notice, but the FSM for my 71 has a caution about mixing "ordinary" tires with Radials and vice versa, as well as cautioning about toe-in and camber adjustments. But even with the car having radial tires now, the advances in tire technology are such that the original tires (175SR14) would probably NOT be the ones on the car NOW.

Depending on where the car has been maintained (tune-ups, minor repairs, adjustments), it is entirely possible that the air pump was removed or rendered inoperative (fan belt removed). Additionally, other of the "smog" devices may have been removed or rendered inoperative. Neither of these are major issues, but they would make you think that the car is NOT original even though these are common modifications.

There's more, but I think with the advice already given and these items you should be able to get a good idea. Do some searching through the site and you'll find dozens of posts that cover this in more depth than you'll want.

As far as the price.....well that's all subjective. What it's worth to YOU may not be what the seller is willing to sell it for. Then again it may be less than what you'd be willing to pay...if you were desperate enough.

Remember this though, buy the BEST car you can for the amount you ARE willing to spend.

If this is $8k, then make sure that you are getting the MOST car for your money, whether it's a Z or some other car. That's far better than buying a cheaper close to gone junker and spending THOUSANDS in trying to refurbish all that might be wrong. Mind you, that's not only MY opinion, but that's the same opinion by other Z Car Vets; Carl Beck, HS-30-H, HLS30, and many, MANY other knowledgeable club members. The sad fact is this, you can spend a LOT of money refurbishing a vehicle, and the only return on your investment may be the enjoyment you get out of it. In fact, I doubt if anyone would tell you to buy cheap and hope to come out ahead.

As far as the wooden door lock pulls that's nothing to worry about. Many people replaced these as a matter of making it more difficult to coat-wire open the car. In fact AAA at one time offered these to members upon sign up. I got a plug-in flashlight instead.

Don't forget that EVERYONE does SOME form of personalization on their vehicle. Whether it's fuzzy dice on the mirror, personalized floor mats or those with a Z logo, custom paint, music systems, carpeting, window tinting etc. That it isn't what came with the car from the factory need not make it entirely undesireable. So don't automatically assume that any changes / modifications were done with the ulterior motive of deceiving someone, only a total moron would assume that. Normally, most modifications are efforts to personalize and privatize their vehicle. Those people who would automatically arse-U-ME more than a benign customization are undoubtedly those who have little to no actual experience with vehicles and see evil in other's deeds. The sad fact there is that those with malicious thoughts with regards to that probably have malice IN their mind.

Good luck with the car, and welcome to the club.


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Enrique and the others here have covered it pretty well, so I have only one other thing to add. When you are new to a car and uninformed about what should have come with it, and how it should look, other than doing what you have done(get with some certifiable enthusiasts), you should get(buy or borrow) a factory servcie manual (and or the Factory owners manual) for the year or model you are after. The variation between the 240Zs other than the changes in the console/decklid/carbs, and quarter vents were not that great. If you are willing to spend 8K for a car, even spending $150-200 for all of the FSMs (if you can't borrow them) for the model is cheep insurance, and will result in having the proper resources to take care of the car after your purchase.

I also suggest getting a copy of the Wick Humble restoration guide, as it will tell you what to look for in terms of repairs that may have been made.

If you can't take a well versed Z buddy, take both the FSM and the Restoration guide with you when looking at the car, if the car doesn't match the books, you should have more questions and a better frame of reference from which to ask them. A little variation should be expected-mid year changes that didn't make it into the manual...


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Sorry to come into this late. I see some really great comments and I generally agree with the majority of them. But the base question is what a '72 with 50,000 miles is worth. Mint / near mint condition. There was an article in the Wall Street Journal some months ago. Search the archive here. We went over it. A '72 in near mint condition with 50,000 miles is worth somewhere between $15,000 and $18,000. I see cars like this in collections in Tampa and Atlanta. It should appear almost brand new. 50,000 miles on a 240Z is nothing. You should be able to tell right away if the car is genuine or a restoration.

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My usual advice to prospective first-time buyers: update your profile on this site to include your location. You should be able to find someone in your area who can help you go over the car. You may be able to find a local Z car expert who you can pay for an inspection.

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