Own­ing a Dat­sun 240Z

Classic Cars (UK) - - The Big Test -

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.’

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