A real contender: ’70 Datsun 240Z
Made in Japan had wonky connotations back in the 60s. That persisted in the early 70s but there were definitely cracks appearing in the argument. Datsun and Toyota sedans were beginning to give VW fits on content and performance. Forget the American small car entries. They were just an embarrassment. Then, on the sports car front, Datsun stuns with the beautifully, yet derivatively styled, Datsun 240Z combined with a smooth 2.4 liter overhead-cam straight six and independent rear suspension. That was a wake-up call and everyone knew it. Needless to say, the Z clobbered competition from the likes of Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Opel, Triumph and MG. Porsche was put on notice too. But longevity was not a Z-car’s strength and many of the early cars have disappeared or have been highly modified. We always look for nice early Zs but they come available rarely. And then we found this 1970 model. Yes, it has been “improved” a bit but most of it is under the skin. The seller retained the original wheels and wheel covers and we would definitely keep them. The front spoiler isn’t our favorite but we understand why it was done. An easy return to original if the spirit moves you. We haven’t seen a Z interior in this color blue and we like it. It retains the unique diamond patterned center vinyl covering. The seller has compiled a list of improvements including a 5-speed gearbox. There is a rather optimistic Buy It Now of $23,000. You can read the balance of the goodies by clicking here.