My 385,000-mile 1973 Datsun 240Z has never been healthier

Courtesy Pete Toft

A Hagerty Drivers Club reader gives us the lowdown on his 1973 Datsun 240Z:

I bought this car brand-new from Daland Datsun in Millbrae, California, in August 1973—my first car. The Z now has 385,000 miles on it and still has the original motor, which has always run well.

It was my daily driver from 1973 to ’94 and was then driven by my son through high school and college, which explains how it ended up with four different-colored quarter panels and fenders.

In 2014, I had the body restored at Petaluma Autoworks. We didn’t touch the engine, but the work required a lot of rust removal from the floors, doglegs, and body panels. Then I had it repainted in its original metallic brown.

My brother-in-law, who has his own Z as well as an excellent inventory of early Z parts, helped me complete the restoration in 2015. This included re-chroming the bumpers, reupholstering the seats, refurbishing the interior, hand-painting the grille and horns, and replacing many exterior bits. Upgrades include 15-inch Panasport wheels and Tokico blue shocks, 1972 Z carburetors and a 6-into-2 header, and a BRE front air dam.

Datsun 240Z engine
Courtesy Pete Toft

I have such great history with this 240Z. In 1975, my college roommate and I drove it on a long Colorado ski trip; all we needed was a good Barrecrafters ski rack designed for the Z. A year later, I took it up through Oregon and Washington to British Columbia, then down through Montana; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Reno, Nevada. I’ve always been amazed at how easy it is to pack a 240Z for an extended camping trip. After a couple of days, everything has its place.

These days, I baby it. It is always garaged, with a car cover, and I only drive it in ideal conditions, usually a few times a month out to the coast or to wine country. It runs and drives better than it did new.

Incidentally, my daily driver is a ’94 300ZX I bought new, which now has 350,000 miles on it, so I have over 700,000 miles on my Nissan/Datsun cars. Good cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed.

Datsun 240Z rear three-quarter
Courtesy Pete Toft

This article first appeared in Hagerty Drivers Club magazine. Click here to subscribe and join the club.

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    Amazing. Original engine. But has it ever been fully rebuilt? No mention of the trans being original? Still one’s own car should look so good at 350k

    Because the only real restoration done was in this persons brain. Actually its beyond restoration . Doesnt make ANY sense to NOT do any restorative work on the engine. Another case folks where it isnt good to let your car idle in a closed garage while you inhale fumes and damage brain cells.

    Great story. I have a 280Z with 258000 miles. Original everything. No rebuilt on engine, transmission. Driven mostly on highway. Bought off showroom floor at Fresno Datsun one month after marriage in 1975. Never thought about too many miles. “If it ain’t broke, don’t touch it”

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