Spannerhead Dot

Datsun 240Z Restoration: On The Road

June 10, 2012 by Matt

Alternate post title: I need a camera mount. Badly.

Alternate post title #2: Glimpses of future greatness at 4000 rpm.

Note: The “thoroughly depressed” line at the beginning references another series of clips I shot right before the drive, inventorying many of the car’s “trouble areas.” That video will be featured in a future post in this series.

So, after working like a crazy person getting the driveline reassembled on Monday, the needed brake bridge didn’t arrive until Wednesday, leaving me with hours to install it, bleed the hydraulic and work out what bugs I could via a few test drives that evening, in order to confirm the car was at least passably roadworthy for the following morning, when I drove my son to school in the Z for his last day of 1st grade.

And aside from mushy brakes (investigation still underway) and mysterious timing problems (solution TBD), the car performed like a champ, and he greatly enjoyed his ~2 mile drive to school.

So what’s the plan now, since I’ve gotten it running again? Enjoy it for a bit, while fixing the remaining running issues. In the meantime, I’ll tackle additional home projects, make time for family activities over the summer, and prepare the garage for the teardown. Even after completing the perimeter storage system, there’s still quite a bit to be done:

  • Cut back the castering work table to make room for the table saw and eventual purchase of a tool chest
  • Build a hanging shelf in the center of the garage for doors, fenders, hood, and other large car pieces
  • Score a parts cleaning tank and possibly a media blasting cabinet

Among other things. So there’s still a long way to go. But the memory of how it feels to row through the gears and haw at the thin wooden steering wheel is fresh, and motivating.

Editor’s note: This post is Part 16 of an ongoing series chronicling my efforts toward the restoration of my 1972 Datsun 240Z, originally my father’s. Read the other installments here:

Filed under: 240Z Restoration, Datsun, Nissan, Project Cars, Technical, Tinkering


  1. Mike B. says:

    Very cool video, Matt. It is exciting to see it on the road. Do you plan on driving it and enjoying it in the summer and then teardown and restoring in the winter? I’d love to check out the car when I am in NC this year, if that’s cool with you (if not, that’s cool too).

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Mike. It does feel nice. I’ll probably start taking it apart sometime later in the summer. My schedule all really depends on how soon I can prepare the garage. It’s amazing how many little parts and pieces are attached to that metal shell, and I’ll need storage for all of them.

      Absolutely come by and see it! Would love to have you over.

  2. John D says:

    First of all, beautiful back yard. Did you guys move recently?

    Secondly, is it the camera or is it really that loud inside the car?

    Thirdly, forget repairing the body. I think you should make it into a Ferrari 250 GTO clone. Problem solved.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks! We moved about a year and a half ago. Big, tree-less backyard surrounded by Leland Cypresses on a half-acre lot. Easy to take care of, with lots of potential for future “improvements” (read: 3-car garage with 2-post lift). :) We love it.

      The noise is probably a combination of the wind noise (the windows were down) and the natural noise of the car. There’s also a nice 2″ hole in the firewall where the A/C lines used to go through, and I haven’t put a grommet or plate over that.

      A GTO clone? Have you been browsing eBay again? :) (there was a 260Z-based GTO clone for sale there as recently as a week ago)

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