Project Car SOTU: 1971 Datsun 240Z

There are two purposes for this update on my 240Z; the first is to bring you up to speed on what has been going on with the car, the second is to brag about how big my garage is. Both the updates and the bragging (not too much really) begin right after the jump.
First off, I haven’t done too much to the Z in recent months because of another project, about which you’ll hear in a bit, that has been taking up my time and moolah. One fabulous factoid about the Z that has occurred is that it has moved from the driveway into the garage, sharing space with my two Healeys. The big difference between the three cars is that the Z can leave the garage under its own power, which is not the case with the Sprite or the Jensen.
When it does come out, it’s to make trips to the Early Rodders’ meet-up on Saturday mornings in Montrose. You’ve been there vicariously with me many times as I like to share photos of the events, especially when something particularly awesome arrives. Here we are keeping the Datsun pride alive along with another, less rust-buckety 240Z.
When it’s not rubbing elbows with its betters, My Z and I go and run errands. Trader Joes is one of its favorite parking lot haunts. One thing I’m thinking about however, is about getting a net for the cargo area as I’m tired of having things like apples and bottles of whiskey – don’t you judge me – rolling around and hitting the seat back due to the kind of wide-open, wild west nature of the load area back there.
Back to the whole business with the garage. It’s a good thing to have the Z safe and secure inside there, but the fact is I had to garage it. You see, I switched the Z over to classic car insurance this year, which means I can’t drive it on a cross-country trip without expanding my coverage. By switching to the more limited coverage I saved a butt-load of money. The thing of it is, in California, you can’t get classic car insurance – at least not through Hagerty – without having your car in a garage. Who knew?
Luckily, I had the garage space, it just was taken up with a bunch of other crap. Three trips to the Salvation Army drop-off later and we were good to go. Speaking of going, it appears that the Z’s dashboard is going even under its aftermarket plastic cap. The crack there has gotten so aggressive that it’s extended to the cover itself and for all I know the earth below. I expect magma to pour forth from it at any moment.
DSCN5651The solution is to pull the old cap off, shave down and fill the crack in the existing dash, and put a new cap on. I’ve already have purchased the new cap from the Z Store. The process will require the borrowing of my wife’s hair drier to heat the glue underneath the existing cap for its removal, as well as pulling off the steering wheel and column cover for the installation of the new cap. This I am going to secure with sturdy two-sided tape rather than glue in case it ever needs to be replaced. I’ll let you know how that all goes in a future installment.
DSCN5648Until then, that’s what’s going on with the 240Z. It’s perhaps one of the lowest-budget projects around, but it’s immeasurably fun. Now that it’s in pretty stable shape I can concentrate on making its garage mates – did I mention how awesome my garage is? – up and running so all three can move under their own power. I did recently buy a replacement radiator for the Jensen, so I can button up the cooling system on that car, and I’ve been thinking about getting the carbs back together for the Sprite and then starting on rebuilding the brakes. All it takes is time and money, right?
Image: ©2015 Hooniverse/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved


  1. When the truck is running a bit better, I have to make a trip back up to Montrose… haven’t been up there since Tim abandoned LA for the Bay Area

    1. It’s still the same, lots of cool regulars and there’s always something interesting that shows up.

      1. I’m thinking the Minihoon and I might make a trip up to Montrose when I’m back there for Christmas.

  2. Something about seeing the hatch open and the load area full of groceries made me smile. Nice update!

    1. Thanks! One of the best things you can do with an old car is to occasionally treat it like it’s an errand-runner. You get a lot of stares and an occasional compliment when you do.

  3. That garage? Wow. As for the new dash cap, how about sticking it on with some strategically placed Velcro, instead of double-sided tape?

    1. What about servo tape from a hobby shop? It’s designed for holding electronics in place on R/C vehicles, where heat and vibration are a concern. It might work.

  4. I think the garage requirement is fairly common in classic car insurance. I’m pretty sure J.C.Taylor has the same thing on my T’bird policy.

  5. That has a series 1 hatch, it’s not a 1970? I have an early 71 and no vents on the hatch. I guess it could have been swapped. Mine is orange as well, nice.

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