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Tribal elders (you know who you are) – I need your opinion.


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The car is a solid, one owner, silver 1972 240Z, stock and unmolested except for undercoating and 14” slotted mags (both upon original purchase) and an aftermarket stereo head. 128K meticulously maintained miles with full documentation and all maintenance records since day one. Solid bodywork—when rust reared its ugly head, the owner replaced the panels and, concerned about color match, painted the entire car. Records are a study in Z car durability. Never mothballed or neglected, oil changes, tune ups, valve adjustments, radiator flushes, etc were all done like clockwork. Interior is stock, intact, and in very good condition. Because the car is so nice and original, I’m thinking of diverging from the 2.8, headers, 5-speed, lowered route.

My question is this: What is the value, if any, in keeping this car as original as possible? An A/C upgrade, new stock bushings, new seat covers, and new carpets are certainly not out of bounds, but would a few subtle, functional upgrades (Panasports, stabilizer bars, electronic ignition, RetroSound stereo, BRE spoilers) detract from the value of the car?

Compression and leak down are acceptable, but indicate a rebuild should be in the planning stages. Would a stealthy Robello 2.7 rebuild using the stock block and head, some porting/polishing, and mild cam hurt the originality of the car? Should the rebuild just be to stock specs? Z-Therapy SU magic can be part of the rebuild either way.

Even though about 160,000 were produced there are fewer and fewer unmolested 240Zs around. I’ve owned two Series 1 cars in the past--–the second one in town in 1970 and one rescued from ITS in 2004. The new car with the 4-speed was no slug and I remember two youthful 100+ mph citations. The wanna-be track car was a 2.8 with an aggressive cam, sweet triple Dellortos, 5-speed, urethane bushings, and lowered. Both the ride and fuel mileage of the modified Z were challenging.

The car silver will be driven a few miles to “work” 2-3 times a week, zoom up the occasional mountain road with the Z club, take the occasional 800-mile freeway trip, and maybe make the occasional “cars and coffee” meet. No stoplight grand prix, no autocross, no track days.

Am I nuts to want keep the molestation to a functional minimum? What say ye, Z aficionados?

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I don't know if I'm a tribal elder, but I'd say you should make it what you want it to be. What fun is it otherwise?

I don't think minor engine mods detract from the originality of the car in any meaningful way. Body mods might. But I'd say if this car is to be a daily driver, originality is less important than dependability, so mods such as electronic ignition, alternator upgrade, and headlight relays are dandy. It's not going to be a concourse car, so do what you need to do.

Edited by FastWoman
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This elder (you calling me old? ;) ) says do what you want. Its your car.

If this car is an investment for you, then restore it to perfect stock, put it away and never bring it out into the light again until its value is at the point that you want to cash it in. I hope you live that long.

SO, the only value you're hurting is the value of your time not working on and driving/enjoying your car. Now get out there and have fun you youngin' Git!

Edited by zKars
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My rule of thumb for mods to a very original Z would be to deduct the cost of the mods from the current value of the car. Example: Current value $15K. Add a $2K aftermarket AC system. Your original car is now worth $13K. Add headers and 5 speed for $1K, your car is now worth $12K. And so on.

Just my 2 cents.


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Anything that can be unbolted and put back to original is ok. Drilling holes for an air dam or rear spoiler can't be undone. You can weld the holes, etc. but that area is no longer "original". I'd pull the stock engine and set it aside. Build a different engine to use for fun.

I have an AAR 'cuda and V-code Road Runner. I plan to do a lot of upgrades to them so they're more reliable and drive better. The RR already has electronic ignition, hidden CD player, radial tires, stainless exhaust, etc.


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Tribal supreme Elder Rich talks what he knows. If you follow Chucks advice as well it is still the same as Rich said. Add stuff, it costs money then when you go to sell it and put back on the old parts it costs money so why not just leave it the way you found it; the greatest line ever said by car collectors: "it is only original once". Besides a bone stock 240Z is still a great pleasure to drive.

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Hi jmorrison146:

If I had that 240Z - I'd keep it stock. In simple terms, it will cost you less to keep it that way - and it will be easier to resell, as well as return a higher amount - if you ever have to sell it. You never know what will happen next week - let alone next year. All of us have seen fellow enthusiasts fall on hard times - and have to "give away" their Z's.

When things start to go bad in life - the first thing to GO when you need to raise funds quickly - is a Classic / Sports Car you don't need. So if you must sell it quickly and need the most money back out of it- keep it stock.

I have a nearly "stock" 72. I use it mostly for road trips and pleasure drives - I did add a 5spd. to keep the noise in the cabin down at highway speeds {70 to 85mph}.

I also added a front BRE style Spook..I also have mag's..{but kept the original steel wheels and hub caps} All in all it is a pure pleasue to drive.. and fun to enjoy at local Cars&Coffee mets etc.

About Production Numbers:

The whole idea that 240Z's will never be worth anything because they made too many - is in my opinion simply silly.

While Nissan may have produced 160,000 240Z's in four years of production. Ford sold 190,727 Mustangs in 1970 alone. Chevy sold 124,901 Camaros in 1970 alone. For 1967 Ford sold 472,121 Mustangs. Still think a lot of 240Z's were produced? Still see many of any of those cars still running around? In four years 1964 though 1967 Pontiac produced 286,470 GTO's... does anyone say that they made far to many of them to ever with worth anything?

With the recent rise in collector interest in all Japanese cars - I believe the Datsun 240Z's are just starting to come into their own in the Collector Market. Good solid stock/original cars will gain value over the next few years.

If you can afford it and want to Mod's a Z - buy one that already has had $5K to $10K spent on it - you'll be able to buy them for less than half what the owner put into them. {that should tell you something as well}.


Carl B.

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I agree with Carl B.

But it does come down to your usage and your future plans.

I wanted to keep my 71 all original for a long time, before the mod bug got me. Then I changed and made it a bit of a Datsun 'best of' car. I would never drop a SBC into one, but at the end of the day you only have to answer to yourself. The rules are simple and never change. All original cars are worth more. All original cars in great shape are worth even more.

The only original once phrase is overused today. I see non running rust heaps dragged not rolled out of a barn being sold for more than a fully restored car.

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Thanks to all for the excellent input. No offense Montezuma and Rich, but I thought Carl was the UberElder. I was hoping Julio would chime in -- I think he has gone the Rebello 2.7 route.

Zedyone – Thanks for the sage advice. I really like the "twice pipes" on your silver Z! Are they MSA or did you have them fabricated?

I've been making the rounds of LA (El A, not Louisiana) Z shops over the last few days trying to get smarter. Today, I had the pleasure of meeting Pierre Perrot at Pierre's Zs in Gardena. He offered up a stock 0.20 over rebuild with, ARP rod bolts, a mild street "BRE 311" cam and full SU rebuild. Pierre is a great guy with wealth of information and Datsun lore. His shop is nothing fancy, but he knows his stuff.

Pierre was rebuilding an L24 for Pete Brock that will go into Pete’s wife’s 1971 Z. He was nice enough to let me take a couple of photos. Pete specified the same stock build except for a stock cam, an upgraded A/C compressor, and an electric blue paint job.



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