A few weeks ago we brought you an uber low mileage 1978 Datsun 280Z.  That would be the last iteration of the Datsun S30 lineup.  Today, we bring you one of the first.  Within the S30 sports car line, the “Nissan Fairlady Z” as it was known in it’s homeland of Japan or the “Datsun 240Z” exported elsewhere, was first introduced in October 1969.  Remember our story on the 2000GT?  You can thank Mr. Nissan for the Z…he declined an offer to work with Yamaha on the 2000GT.  Rather, he stayed focused on what would become the iconic Nissan Z, launching the brand into sports car popularity.

Photo credit to Nobuhiko Nakura

The Fairlady in Japan came equipped with a 2L inline-6 cylinder and its name reflected the sports roadster that preceded it.  Of which, only about 16000 were made for the Japanese market.  Here in the States, the Z received a bump in displacement up to 2.4L, which gave it the 240Z name, and came equipped with Hitachi carburetors for a max output of 151hp.  The public really took to it, and imported nearly 160,000 of these into the States…so they’re rather abundant compared to the Fairlady.

Photo credit to Nobuhiko Nakura

We recently caught up with reader Joe Rotz, long-term owner of this absolutely stunning 1971 Fairlady Z Type S with just 68,000 original miles.  At the time of production, he calls it the “cheap model”. The Type L was the luxury model…with the biggest difference between them being a 5 speed option in the L (vs. the 4-speed S), a rally clock and rubber inserts on the bumpers.

Photo credits to Joe Rotz.

He came into ownership 43 years ago while stationed in the Navy in Yokosuka, Japan.  In 2000, he took the car completely apart and would later complete a full nuts and bolts restoration on it.  And when we say “he did it”…we mean he did it himself.  He claims 99% but that’s just being humble.  “It’s basically a brand new car”, he says.  She’s taken nearly 20 First Place Awards at some of the biggest car shows in California.

Photo credit to Joe Rotz.

Buying advice from Joe…he says the biggest thing to look for when buying an early ’70 to ’73 Z is rust, especially in the floor pans, rocker panels, and battery tray area.  Values are tough on these because of the rarity. The Fairlady Z 432, a high-performance version of the Z,  rarely come up for sale mainly because only about 430 were ever made.  Anywhere.  So when they do show up at auction, they command the price.  They have most recently sold for over $150,000, and one over $250,000.  But even for the non-432 version, because of the rarity, values push it well over $40k in the U.S., with comparable 240’s about half that value (all condition dependent of course).   Joe wouldn’t part with his for anything close to that in case you were hoping. 

Photo credit to Joe Rotz.

There are about 65 Fairladys in the U.S. that the USA S30 Fairlady Z Owners FaceBook group have found.  There is also a highly exclusive Fairlady Z club based in Japan with only 75 members…but not so fast though if you’re an American trying to break into the Japanese group. Joe and all his Z clout couldn’t get in for years, and to date, he’s the only American who has been ushered in.  A select group these cars create…and that’s why we love it! Thanks Joe for the story, and thank you more for your Service.

1971 Fairlady Z-L (showing of the “L”uxury version), owned since 1978 and photo credit to Kerrigan Gray.  

Photo credit to Kerrigan Gray.  

*This and cover photo credit Nobuhiko Nakura

We are looking for high quality low-mileage early Z’s for sale.  If you are interested in submitting for an upcoming auction on our site, please contact us.  Our auctions are set to go live in a few weeks and we are spreading the word now.  We avoid overlapping auctions of similar cars, so please let us know if you would like to be featured.  There are no seller fees and we personally craft the auction ad.

Auctions submission are now live!

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Web Finds For Sale: 1978 Datsun 280Z


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