Owning a Datsun 240Z
Jon Newlyn already had a Datsun 240Z when he heard about this one in 1988, ‘The guy who was doing some work on my car asked what I’d do if he had one of the two J-registered 240Zs imported into the UK by Datsun. I told him that I’d buy it from him, so I ended up going to look at MBP 72J, which was the road test car that featured on the cover of The Motor in 1970.’
Despite it being in rough condition, Jon went ahead and bought the Z, ‘It was the history. I knew it had issues – rust mainly, but it was quite original and was a runner with an MOT, so I used it on dry days for about eight years then took it off the road and started sourcing parts in preparation for the restoration.’ When he was made redundant in 2002, Jon spent his newfound time and cash on restoring the car.
Since then he has done around 20,000 miles on trips to the Pennines and Lake District, tackled the Land’s End to John o’ Groats rally and did a 650-mile run down to Stuttgart.
‘Although Nissan decided to build 200 new 240Zs around 1997 and remanufactured some parts, sourcing things is getting more difficult now. It’s a car that you work on because you want to, not because you have to. Servicing is easy and there are no real mechanical problems, but few body panels are available, particularly rear wings and panel, and right-hand-drive dashboards are very hard to source.
‘There were 82 240Zs in the UK in 1997; now there are 200 because they’re being brought in from the US or Australia, but there’s a good appetite for them in Europe.’