For those in the know, the Datsun/Nissan Fairlady Z is simply the Japanese-market name for the Z-car sold stateside. Take a glance at an original 240Z, and you might wonder how the Fairlady is any different, aside from a steering wheel on the right and side mirrors standing way out on the front fenders. But, as is often the case, the home market got something we never saw in the U.S. of A. And because of that, the Fairlady Z432 is worth several times more than the Datsun 240Z.
But the Z432 that sold at the 2019 Gooding & Company Scottsdale auction for $89,600 was probably a good buy, even at four times the #3-condition (Good) value of a 240Z. Why? The same car sold for $170,500 at RM Sotheby’s 2017 Amelia Island sale. Another Z432, with more original parts, went for $253,000 in 2015.
Why is the Z432 worth so much money? First, it’s rare in general and even more so in the United States. Only about 420 were built, all originally sold in Japan and few have made the trip to our shores. Second, the 432 refers to 4 valves, 3 carburetors, and 2 camshafts on the engine, which was borrowed from “Hakosuka” Skyline 2000GT-R. It makes 160 hp (20 more than the 240Z) at a lofty 7000 rpm.
Why then, did this car go so cheap? After all, the Mk IV Supra, and Acura Intergra Type R are two examples of an overall trend towards Japanese cars rising in the collector market. But this sale shows that the enthusiasm for JDM has not reached every level of the auction market. It seems to Gooding was aware the car might not fetch top-dollar, at the high end of its estimate was $175,000.
More than anything, the low sale was probably a case of the typical audiences at the Scottsdale auctions. There was a limited number of classic Japanese cars for sale, and the present bidders were likely focused more on the typical American and European offerings. Given the long-term prospects of this car, we consider this specific case to be well bought.