Spannerhead Dot

Datsun 240Z Restoration:
Gutting the Interior

August 24, 2016 by Matt


I’ve been chipping away at it, 15 minutes here, an hour there… It’s amazing how much progress you can make after a few weeks of piecemealing it. Would I prefer a large chunk of time—say, an afternoon? Sure. But I’ll take what I can get, and at the moment, the car is very close to being ready to go to paint.


Starting at the rear, I removed the fuel tank and all the hatch trim. The taillights, finishing panel and rear bumper came off. The rub strips, which I loathe, were very difficult to pry off, and the body guy is going to have some restorative work to do to smooth out the holes and dimples their removal left behind.


The scary-looking rust in the spare wheel well isn’t structural, fortunately. All the red vinyl diamond-pattern upholstery came off too. I fished the rear wiring harness around the right rear wheel well and removed the quarterlights.


The door panels came off with little drama (I love my set of blue plastic interior trim tools!). I removed the steering column to make way for the eventual dash extraction. I took out the windshield washer motor and linkage and gave everything a good once-over with my shop vac. There were a lot of pine needles in the cowl area, some (most?) of which had probably been there for 30-40 years, assuming they can last that long…

It’s been interesting to see what the painters chose to remove and what they left in during the 240Z’s blue repaint back in the 1970s. Some things I’d have thought would have been tough to pull were left in, and other bits were painstakingly removed. Regardless, the car’s all going back to its original 901 Silver.

Very encouraged by the progress. Next up is the dash itself, the final removal of the wiring harness, the heater core and then the rear-end mechanical bits like the diff and brake lines. Onward!

Update: Since drafting this post, I’ve removed the dash. More on that in the next installment.

Editor’s note: This post is Part 23 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


  1. George Roe says:

    Just discovered this saga while looking for a windshield wiper motor. Original owner of an orange 72Z, with 110K miles. Have done all my own work over the years. A few minor mods, original paint, runs fantastically well. Will be watching every now and then. Keep after it!

  2. Doug says:

    Wow. Am considering a seriously degraded ’73 Z for a long term project. This is invaluable info, thank you. It’s daunting, no thank you. It’s humbling and terrifying, really no thank you.

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Doug. They’re simple cars overall, but ANY restoration is a huge effort. Make sure you write down everything, and I mean everything! :)

  3. Steve says:

    Please stay motivated.. good relatable read. For contrast, my father drove a AMC Gremlin when he was dating my mother.. not quite as cool of a story.. :-p

    • Matt says:

      Thanks Steve. The project is still active… Waiting for my dad to come pick it up from my garage so he can take it back to NC for the body restoration. Stay tuned.

  4. Clif says:

    Any updates since part 23? I am particularly interested in engine. I am currently in the process of reviving my 1972 240z after being parked in my shop/barn since 1986. At the moment trying to get the engine unstuck;
    soaking the cylinders hasn’t worked and I don’t wont to cause any damage. It ran great when I parked it. Looking forward to more progress reports from you.
    Thx, Clif

  5. Chris says:

    Any updates?

  6. Carlos Julien Jr. says:

    Just picked up a 74 260z will follow this. thank you for this info.

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