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Datsun 240Z Restoration: The Bad News

June 18, 2012 by Matt

This is where I get depressed. Or overwhelmed. Take your pick.

The video above represents a brief walkaround of the Z, and touches on many of the issues to be addressed in the restoration, including the visible rust and some interior problems.

It’s…daunting, to say the least. I posted the video on a reputable Z-car forum and while most of them agree it’s salvageable, the process will invariably entail a significant amount of time, effort and money. No less a mainstay of the Z community as Carl Beck chimed in with figures of 650 hours and $30,000, though admittedly, those were his numbers for this concours-quality restoration. I don’t want a show car, just something clean and completely rust free in which I can have fun on the weekends. The Z obviously won’t see a snowflake ever again, and if I can help it, nary a raindrop either. So that figure could potentially be revised downward, but…it’s still enough to cause sticker shock. I’ll have a better handle on the real figure in a couple of months when I start disassembling the car and all the hidden rust comes to light. Onward…

Editor’s note: This post is Part 17 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, Project Cars, Technical, Tinkering


  1. John D says:

    Ah yes. The generally most expensive/tedious/visible part of the restoration…the body work. I don’t envy you having to fix all of that. I know it’s difficult, but if I were you I would have it fixed to ‘good enough to drive’, address all the rust issues, etc, but do a ‘functional’ restoration. Anything else will take you so long you’ll start to forget what driving the car felt like and feel like it’ll never be finished.

    So how much of this are you going to try and replace and how much are you going to try and patch/repair?

    • Matt says:

      Well technically, it’s “good enough to drive” right now. I don’t want a show-quality restoration; I mainly want to get rid of all the rust and give it a good coat of silver. I don’t want/need to detail every nook and cranny.

      I really won’t know how much I need to do until I know exactly how much rust I’m dealing with, which I’ll learn when panels start coming off. And that needs to wait until a few more pieces are in place, garage-wise.

  2. Warren says:

    So how much did you finally spend for your restoration and where exactly did you spend most of the money?

    • Matt says:

      Thanks for your comment, Warren. The restoration isn’t done yet; it’s in a holding pattern at the moment, awaiting the next step when the car will be off to the body shop.

  3. Clif Seward says:

    I 1986am also restoring a 1972 240z. Removed engine/transmission. Transmission had no issues when parked in 1986. What did you have to do to your transmission?

  4. Clif Seward says:

    I am also restoring a 1972 240z. Removed engine/transmission. Transmission had no issues when parked in 1986. What did you have to do to your transmission?

    Disregard first comment had a typo.

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