I was nine years old when my stepdad brought the brand new 1970 Datsun 240Z home. It was absolutely gorgeous, and as a kid, I thought it was the coolest car around. Not only do remember that first day, but I even remember riding in the hatch area with my brother. My mom and dad were in the front seats of course, and traveling from Redondo Beach to Dana Point. We could have taken the family station wagon, but the Z was so much cooler.
Dad was smart and wouldn't let me touch the car when I got my license at 16. I did however sneak it once when they went on vacation to Vegas. I think I would have gotten away with it, but one of the hubcaps came off when I zipped around a corner and I couldn't get the ding out of the hubcap lip for dad not to notice. Needless to say I paid for that.
After I graduated from college, my folks retired up in Idaho and brought the Z with them. There it sat in their barn (cement floor and insulated) for the next 25 years, with mom taking it out for the occasional drive to the city.
As dad was growing older, he wanted to keep the car in the family and offered to sell it to me for a small sum so they could get a new snow blower. Needless to say, I was happy to get the car, more for the memories than anything else. Little did I know what I was really purchasing. As the car was my dad's 'baby', he took incredible care of the car. The 240Z was virtually untouched and still had the original factory paint, vinyl interior, uncracked dash and untouched engine. I remember shortly after bringing the car home from Idaho, entering it in the MotorSport Car show which, at the time, took place at a large park in Irvine. My son and I worked like crazy to clean off all of the dust and dirt to make it look presentable for the show. I remember hoping that it would not be too embarrassing to bring the old car. I was actually quite surprised at how well the car was received, well enough to take second in our class for original 240Z's.
Since then, I have done a lot more clean-up and polishing as well as spending hours underneath the car just to clean everything off. My goal has been to keep the car as original as possible. The only significant work done to the car has been to have some of the zinc re-done in the engine compartment as that looked very tarnished. The car has gone on to win a number of significant awards including first in class at the 2012 La Jolla Concours (preservation class), and first in class at the Benedict Castle Concours (Japanese Class). The car currently has about 98K miles on it and is kept in the 'Cocoon', my semi-climate controlled single car garage. The plan is to pass this down to one of the kids when I am older, just as my dad did for me.