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Just Bought a Project, Part Two

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Well, I got my "new" '72 240z home just now. Whew, what a mess! The wheels were locked up and we had to drag it across a field with a tractor until the wheels finally broke loose enough to at least roll. Then, we used a come-along to drag it up onto the flatbed.

When I looked at this car the first time, the owner, Bob, (who has to be in his 70s), said it had been sitting for "about 10 years" in a field behind his farm house. As we're messing with it I noticed a safety inspection sticker in the window. 1984! You can't drive a car in Oklahoma without a current inspection sticker. I asked Bob if it had been sitting since then, and he said "yea, that sounds about right."

Turns out, he bought it from the original owner. It had a dented driver's side door and a dicey fuel pump. He drove it home, replaced the door, and hadn't touched it since.

Looks like field mice have been living under the passenger seat, and there are mud dauber nests in the engine compartment. Everything on the outside is covered in grime, but the engine compartment is surprisingly clean. On quick inspection, I could find no signs that the car had ever had an oil leak.

The odometer reads 73K miles, but that could easily be 173k since it doesn't register over 100. Bob said the previous owner was an older fellow who had since passed on. Maybe he only drove it to church on Sundays and it really is only 73k!

Obviously I'm going to have to replace everything rubber in the car, all the hoses and belts and weather seals. The interior is toast, with everything falling apart with age, and the dash is cracked in a dozen places.

But despite all that, I suspect I could change all the fluids and ignition components, put on a new fuel pump and fire that sucker up. We'll see. This will be a Project with a Capital P!

I've taken a huge number of photos for reference, and may post some later on my web page.

I'm still up in the air about hybrid or restore, but I can see it might be fun to have an original. Who knows, maybe I could go Vintage racing!

By the way, the car's orange and has a vin of HLS30 95972. Is there an easy way to decipher that? A metal plate on the driver's side door post has a stamp that says 7/72. Is that the manufacture date? It also says GVWR is 2820, which I found surprising. I though 240s were lighter than that.

I don't know enough about these cars. Time to learn!

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It sounds like you have a tedious job ahead of you. If the chassis is in good shape you have the basis for a good car. There will be a lot of work in finding all the little pieces that need to be replaced by the long term sitting in a field.

To answer your question about the VIN number, the don't "decode" like a Chevy or Mopar would. The HLS30 is the model and series designation and the 95972 is the sequential build number. 7/72 is the build date and the GVWR is the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of the car with passengers and anything else they might put in. The chassis weight is closer to 2300 plus or minus a bit.

Vintage racing? Ouch, read that expensive as is most any other type of racing, except for autocrossing or Solo. Before you decide on that you might want to get the car back into road worthy condition and then decide on how deep you want to dig into your pockets, how deep you go will judge what kind of modifications (if any) you can do to do any kind of racing. I have raced in Improved Touring and yes it is a blast but it is a lot of work and it definately isn't cheap anymore.

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