Datsun 240Z Restoration:
Beautiful day for a junkyard visit.
A week or so ago, I tracked down a used coolant overflow bottle for our minivan at the local Pull-A-Part location. I’ve been to you-pull-it junkyards before, and I have absolutely no affiliation with the company, but this one was in a whole different league—clean, well-stocked, organized and efficient. It didn’t take me long to track down the part, and I took some time to scout the yard for desirable cars.
I forgot how much I love junkyards. Sure, it’s sad to see cars in such states of decay, but the variety on the lot presented a great opportunity to get a first-hand look at the mechanicals of some cars, such as an early Saab 900 or Alfa Spider, that I’d only seen in pictures on the Internet. It’s a car tech geek’s paradise.
So after my first visit for the coolant bottle, yesterday I returned for some Z parts. The orange-on-white ’72 240Z at top was my initial focus, but I scouted out some others as well, including a 2+2 280ZX:
and a non-turbo Z31 300ZX:
Neither had many salvageable interior bits, both both their engines were intact.
My two main scores were a 6-2-1 header off the 240Z:
and an under-hood service light:
I’m hoping the header will clean up. It seems to be intact. If not, no big deal. Removing it was a bear; since I didn’t have a hacksaw, I had to rip the whole exhaust off, and ended up having to pull the steering column and twist the crusty muffler off before fishing it out the hood. As for the service light, the aluminum body should clean up, and my intention is to simply buy a new plastic lens, if it’s available. I’m strangely optimistic about that; in my experience with car restoration, sometimes the little ticky-tack stuff can be had more readily than more desirable NLA parts like door weatherstripping and interior plastic components.
If nothing else, it was a fun couple of hours exploring the yard and tearing into a classic Z with wild abandon.
Editor’s note: This post is Part 20 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 2: Opening the Tomb
- Part 1: Projecting Forward