Original Sheet Metal Used in 240Z

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  • #2640 Reply

    Dana Ciul

    I just spoke with a gentleman in the Denver area who has a ’73 240z for sale. He claimed that Datsun used already rusted steel that had been stored in the open (very humid air in Japan) for these models. That sounds like a fantasy if there ever was one. Am I correct?

  • #2649 Reply

    Batman
    Keymaster

    I have a 73 240Z and had not heard that one before. It has been said that the cars were rusting before they even came off the boat but my experience is that rust is pretty common for most cars of that period. I’d venture it has little to do with how the steel was stored but is rather the natural result of the state of the art (or lack thereof) of rust prevention technology in the 70s. Remember, back then a car that lasted 100k miles was an exception – the engineers were not designing them to last 40+ years.

    All that said, what is the condition of the car? If it has rust, you’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to spend to repair it and factor that into the price. It doesn’t matter why it rusted, it still costs the same to repair it.

  • #2655 Reply

    Dana Ciul

    Daniel:

    Thank you for your response. The seller claims that the car only has 48,050 actual miles on it. That’s an average of 518 miles per year. At or around 1995 he had five bad rust areas repaired with stainless steel. The body was then taken down to bare metal and repainted in the original color. When I asked him why such a low mileage car (half the above mileage or so) would need such a drastic restoration he responded with the story about “pre-rusted” sheet metal used by Datsun.

    Nissan was very concerned with their reputation. They felt that sports cars were a huge gamble thus the name Datsun came into being. That way if Datsun cars failed most folks would not associate it with the good name of Nissan. So quality was a significant issue. By that logic Nissan would surely not have employed already rusted metal in their new cars under and circumstances.

    The seller also said that he had an aftermarket cap over the cracked dash. He explained that even the slightest amount of direct sunlight would crack the original. I think he is not being completely honest and have decided to look elsewhere.

  • #2656 Reply

    Batman
    Keymaster

    My BS meter is twitching …

    If a 40+ year old car without a hundred thousand mile digit for the odometer is claimed to have 48k miles, then there should be documentation that corroborates it. For example, a succession of receipts for service with dates and mileage would be good. Any chance he had any evidence of the low mileage claim beyond his word?

    That said, rust is mostly a function of environment and time, not so much mileage by itself. By his argument, my car with more than 260k miles should have rust all over it and it in fact does not. There is some rust in the usual places, but that’s a function of poor design that allowed dirt to collect and trap moisture causing rust from the inside out.

    FYI, I heard a different story about why the Datsun name was used. The story goes that Nissan was a manufacturer of weapons for the Japanese military in WWII and was concerned that people’s memories in the US (only about 20 years after the war’s end when they first brought the Roadster over) would affect acceptance of their cars, hence the choice to use Datsun instead.

    Daniel

  • #2657 Reply

    Dana Ciul

    One of my first questions was whether or not there was a fully documented history. He said that he did all his own routine maintenance for the first fifteen years or so. Then he had the car serviced by a mechanic he named. Those invoices would show mileage and dates.

    That’s an interesting story about the Datsun name. I drove a Dodge van with a Mitsubishi engine for years. That name of course, was the scourge of the Pacific for the first two years of WWII. I remember riding the densha (commuter train) from Tokyo to Kamakura in 1969. For several miles either side of Yokohama there was nothing but large smokestack industry as far as the eye could see on both sides of the track. I’d never have believed it. Even back then I knew that US and Euro automotive manufacturers were in for a very hard time.

    My wife has had her heart set on a 1971-74 Alfa Romeo Spider for some time now so I think the Z idea is on indefinite hold. The spider would look nice sitting next to our ’72 Alfa GTV 2000.

    It’s been great messaging with you!

  • #2658 Reply

    Batman
    Keymaster

    Alfas from that time are beautiful cars. I wouldn’t want to have to choose between one of them and a Z 🙂 Either way you’ll have a special car. Enjoy!

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