Datsun 240Z Restoration:
Opening the Tomb
I promised myself I’d take more pictures. During a visit to my parents’ today, I did.
Behold, my project car, a 1972 Datsun 240Z. My dad bought it new in ’72, and gave me the keys as a college graduation present. As outlined in my previous post, it has issues, some significant, but notwithstanding those I’m eager to dig into the restoration.
It hasn’t moved under its own power since March 11, 2004. That was the date of the minor engine fire and subsequent operation without oil pressure for several minutes. Since then, it’s been parked in my parents’ garage, awaiting the day when I would have a garage of my own to transfer it to. That day has come, but its new home isn’t quite ready yet—some organization is still required. So it’s still gathering dust, 90 minutes away.
Here’s the major issue: Rust has completely consumed the passenger side floor pan and frame rail underneath. The driver’s side is fine, so why did its counterpart fare so poorly? Simple: The battery tray is smack up against the firewall on the passenger side of the car. Over the years, uncleaned battery acid ate a hole in the tray, the inner fender beneath, and the firewall itself. With all those panels swiss-cheesed, rainwater had a more-or-less direct path through the firewall and down into the floor pan, where it sat and oxidized the metal. It looks awful; I know, but again, my only hope is that I’ve seen Z-car floor pans and frame rails restored from even worse states of decay.
The L24, a 2.4l SOHC inline-6. Lovely engine. The orange, oval air cleaner assembly is in the trunk at the moment. You can see a few of the “modifications” I made prior to the car’s stasis: Air pump removed, air injection system capped off and other emissions garbage pulled from the balance tube, and an electric fan (stupidly) added to replace the stocker, whose fan clutch had seized. The carbs were rebuilt by ZTherapy in the late ’90s and have the ball bearing throttle shafts. Overall, the engine cleans up well. I just need to tear it down and inspect the internals as a matter of course.
All in good time.
Editor’s note: This post is Part 2 of an ongoing series chronicling my efforts toward the restoration of my 1972 Datsun 240Z, originally my father’s. Read the other installments here:
- Part 23: Gutting the Interior
- Part 22: The Teardown Begins
- Part 21: …And the Engine Comes Out
- Part 20: Treasure Hunting
- Part 19: Beginnings
- Part 18: VIN Discoveries
- Part 17: The Bad News
- Part 16: On The Road
- Part 15: Getting It Back On The Road
- Part 14: It Lives!
- Part 13: Restoring the Fuel System, Part I
- Part 12: Meat on the Wheels
- Part 11: Inspiration (Sort Of)
- Part 10: Carbs’ Return
- Part 9: First Triad Z Club Meet
- Part 8: Wheel Work
- Part 7: Tactical Changes
- Part 6: Little Things
- Part 5: Coming Home
- Part 4: The Rollout
- Part 3: Confessions of a Poor Car Enthusiast
- Part 1: Projecting Forward