For $15,500, Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

Barn find is the phrase typically applied to vehicles that show up - Marty McFly-like -years past their prime and apparently in tip top shape. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe middle child Datsun is just such a find - albeit from a garage and not a barn - but will its price prove something that'll keep ‘em down on the farm?

Have you noticed that Florida's governor - Rick Scott I believe his name is - looks disconcertingly like the Bat Boy? That coincidence is perhaps reason enough to want to call that southern state home, but for 80% of you at least, yesterday's equally weird and Florida located'02 330ci, now with more JZ! was not.

It's much cooler in California, and that's perhaps why SitCom family the Bradys decided to bunch up out here. One common plot line exploited by that ‘70s scion was the travails of being the middle child, most often exemplified by Jan Brady, the incessantly whining sibling of older - and smoking hot - Marsha , and younger, pigtailed spaz Cindy. Adding insult to injury, on the show Jan eventually received unflattering glasses and became uncontrollably flatulent.

For $15,500, Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

Okay, so I made up that last bit, but still what a pain in the butt she was. And in the automotive world, no car more perfectly exemplifies the Jan Brady syndrome than Datsun's short-lived 260z.

The 240Z rocked the sports car establishment. More modern and better looking than anything the British could muster at the same price point, it put Datsun on the map and made the company some serious bank. But the American market was a moving target and the evolution of both safety and emissions standards meant that the 240 had to adapt or die.

This 1974 260Z is representative of that adaptation, and this 63,000-mile middle child is claimed to be all original with the exception of its period-correct slotted mag wheels.

For $15,500, Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

The problems with the 260 when considering in relation to the 240 and following 280 are manifold. The 260, while sporting an increased stroke for 200 more ccs, saw a drop in power from the 240's 155 to a meager 139-bhp in federalized trim. This was due to a switch to smog-reducing Hitachi carbs and retuning of the engine to meet emission standards without the use of a catalytic convertor. Drivability suffered over the earlier cars, a foible Nissan finally eliminated by blessing the 280Z with fuel injection.

Along with the drop in ponies, the early 260 received bumpers that while probably more effective added 6 inches to the overall length and unhelpful weight. Later cars - along with the 280Z - were blighted by even larger battering rams, so I guess this early edition's middle child ones aren't the worst thing.

For $15,500, Marsha! Marsha! Marsha!

The 260Z did get some suspension upgrades including a rear anti-roll bar, revised steering rack, and beefed up springs to compensate for the car's more lardasstic position and improve handling. It also received factory integrated A/C, which this car appears to have - an option that added an additional 80s pounds!

This silver over black Z also has the 4-speed manual - a plus - and an aftermarket alarm as evidenced by the key lock on the front fender and under-hood horn. Those typically mean electrical issues as it was probably installed back in the day by a 17 year old high school kid at a place called Leo's Stereo. YMMV.

Overall, this Z - as exemplified by its status as a barn/garage find - is pretty exemplary. The car looks straight and rust-free, showing only a modest patina of use. The driver's side seat cushion looks like it could stand to be reformed, but surprisingly the dashboard is as crack-free as a church choir and even the little knotty shift boot seems intact. On the outside it features side stripes which unfortunately make the 260Z badge on the front fender seem redundant. Aside from that, when was the last time you saw old school Vitaloni mirrors like that?

This all begs the question, do you really want a 260Z, and if so would paying $15,500 for this premo-original example be a good idea? As far as middle children go, the 260Z is probably as brash an example of interim as you could expect, but it's still a Z and a sort of small-bumpered one at that. What do you think, is this one worth that asking price? Or, like Jan Brady, is this one too middle of the road to command so much?

You decide!

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