1971 Datsun 240ZS

While 280Zs are fairly common on the streets of Alameda, you don't run across a 240- or even a 260- every day. Part of the reason is that many of the smog-exempt 1975-and-newer Zs have been stuck in garages to await small-block Chevy swaps (we like V8 Zs, but only the ones that actually get finished), while the hoon-magnet nature of these cars has led to many of them being wrapped around telephone poles and/or eroded away in death-of-a-thousand-cuts fashion.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


This car might actually be a '72; the differences between the '71 and '72 seem to require a serious Z expert to discern. Any of you who can ID the exact year, please chime in.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


Every year that passes makes the early Z's design look better. Even an example as rough as this one still looks good.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


It's been in a few scrapes. Well, more than a few. The scorched-looking area around the gas filler door is a little bit disturbing.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


You can see that it has an IRS from this view; supposedly the stock rear on this car can withstand the power of a fairly healthy V8 (or lots of boost on the original six) before it goes kerblooey. And, hell, they're still pretty common in the junkyard.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


The door and fender are mashed in pretty well on either side of the firewall. In fact, it's hard to find an undented square foot of sheetmetal on this car. It looks mean.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


With the 240Z, you got a small, agile, rear-wheel-drive car boasting a six-cylinder engine, with Japanese reliability to boot. The Z did a good job chasing British sports cars off the shopping lists of American car buyers; the '71 listed for $3596, only $336 more than the far slower MGB-GT and $222 more than the somewhat slower Triumph GT6 MK3.

1971 Datsun 240ZS


I just hope this car lasts a few more decades on the street.