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Datsun 240Z Restoration:
Treasure Hunting

April 22, 2013 by Matt

Datsun 240Z Junkyard

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:

Datsun 280ZX Junkyard

and a non-turbo Z31 300ZX:

Nissan 300ZX Z31 Junkyard

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:

Datsun Nissan 240Z L24 L26 L28 Exhaust Header

and an under-hood service light:

Datsun 240Z under hood 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:

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

6 Comments

  1. Andrew Hoscheit says:

    I came across your page, and wow am I glad I did! I plan to check back every so often and see the progress. I love a car with a great story and history. keep up the good work!

    Andrew Hoscheit
    72′ 240Z

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Andrew! The project has stalled a bit at the moment, but I hope to be able to resume very soon. Thanks for your interest and readership! :)

  2. Cade mertens says:

    Where is that 240z? I need to have it, to go with my 260z, and 350z

    • Matt says:

      The one in the junkyard is gone, but there was a nice 280Z last I checked. Their website is updated pretty frequently with the latest acquisitions.

  3. Constantine says:

    Hi Matt, you’re a born storyteller and we’re eager for more. What is the state of your restoration – even if it is on hiatus?

    We know all about that, we’re in Hollywood-adjacent.

    And we just started in on our own father/son 240z project.

    The Constantines

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