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A Z-man Again


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The year was 1981. I was a freshman in college and my roommate purchased a semi-ratty 1973 240Z. It was a nice car but I never gave the car much thought. Until his father restored it during the summer between semesters. What he got back changed my view of the 240Z forever.

I was in love with his 240Z and I had to have one. At the time nice examples were selling for $2,000 to $3,000 – way beyond what I could afford.

A year went by and I wanted a 240Z more then ever. During the summer of ‘83 I got a call from my roommate. He told me that there was a 240Z for sale in his town that he “knew” had to be sold because the owner lost his license and his mother wanted the car gone. I drove down to his house and we went (uninvited) to look at the car. The car was rough. It was missing quite a few body parts from the front end. I noted they were stuffed in the back. Someone attempted to paint this car like a racing Z, it was red below the belt-line and blue above. But the colors were all wrong because it was really maroon and sky-blue. On the positive side the interior was perfect and it had a custom cabinet in the back that held speakers, reading lights, eq/power boost and a CB radio. It sounds hokey, but it was a cool cabinet.

Without knowing if the car even started I approached the front door of the house and knocked on the door. “How much for the Z?” The kid/owner stepped outside and whispered “it’s not for sale”. From upstairs his mother screamed “it is for sale, sell it!”

I drove away with a ’71 240Z and a car-load of parts – all for $1,100. That evening each of those parts found their way back onto the car. In just a few weeks I had it running perfectly and looking good. I loved that car (but not the paint job). The front end wasn’t quite right, but all of it’s problems were concealed behind a front-end bra.

As luck would have it, someone hit the car in February ’84 and the front end was replaced, giving my car perfect bodywork. I begged the body shop to give me a quote to repaint the entire car but they said it was a project they’d rather not get involved in. They perfectly matched the maroon and sky-blue paint and off I drove with my Z.

In the spring ’85 I was pulling into the parking lot of the residence hall and someone stopped me. “How much for that car?” I threw out a ridiculous figure of $3,500 and this stranger said “I’ll take it”. A few days later I had $3,500 in my hand, watching someone drive off with my pride and joy. I knew it was a mistake at the time.

For years, maybe a decade, I mourned the loss of my Z. And everyone knew it. In the early 90’s I purchased a 260Z and drove it for a few weeks, but it just wasn’t right and I sold it. I gave up the dream of owning a Z. The Z’s were and are still dear to my heart, but the dream was over.

But not so for my college roommate. He became quite successful and began his own personal car collection. One of his prize possessions is a well restored ’72 240Z that he has owned for about 5 years. Unfortunately for him, his priorities are changing and he needs to shed some of his cars. Luckily for me, he thought of me when he thought of a good home for his 240. He called me a few weeks ago and asked if I would “temporarily take custody” of his Z. Of course I said yes.

At this time he doesn’t know if and when he’ll take it back. So as part of the deal, I must OWN the car; drive it, maintain it – treat it like I treated my own 240Z many years ago.

In a few weeks it will be on a truck to my home (my friend and I no longer live anywhere near each other). I know that the car has some carb issues and a few odds and ends that need attention – mostly from inactivity. I can’t wait to get elbows deep into this car.

I look forward to participating in this forum to relearn what I have forgotten about the Z and discover what is (and isn’t) available.

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I know how you feel. My 'College car' Z sat for 26 years unpainted in a back room of the garage. Out of sight, out of mind, out of money, but never for sale. I don't think I could of reassembled it without this site. Once going again, after all those years, it was like reuniting with an 'old friend'. Enjoy the ride.

Welcome to Z madness.

Bonzi Lon

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