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Would You Rather: Datsun S30 Z-Car – Do You Like Yours Original Or Extra Spicy?

Would You Rather: Datsun S30 Z-Car – Do You Like Yours Original Or Extra Spicy?

The Nissan S30 chassis, which is familiar to most people as the Nissan/Datsun 240Z, was a home run for the company when it went on sale in 1970. Small, light, nimble, powerful, and easily accessible, the S30 was meant to go after cars like the MGB-GT and other European market imports. Instead, the Z-car sniped just about everything. It was more economical than the musclecars, but didn’t lack grunt. It looked great but could be picked up for a song. And that engine…the straight-six, regardless of which version you found, could easily make you a believer. It wasn’t a V8, but it didn’t need to be.

But we are now nearly fifty years on from the first of the Z-cars washing up on the shores, and it’s not uncommon to see them V8 swapped in the name of lightweight performance capability. We found two cars on Bring A Trailer and we want to know: price nonwithstanding, which one would you rather take?

1. The Original 1975 Datsun 280Z

It doesn’t get much more minty fresh than this, readers. Our original example is a 48,000 mile, two-owner winner with air conditioning and plenty of upkeep. There are receipts, the original window sticker, and more proving that this Z was babied and cherished it’s whole life. Nothing is out of place and the only real additions are an auxillary input jack below the passenger seat and Pioneer speakers that are Velcro’d behind the seats to the carpet. Otherwise, welcome back to 1975, slot mags and all. The only item left on the wish list is that the automatic wasn’t part of the program, but unless you are patient enough to wait for a similarly clean manual trans example, either speak now or forever hold your peace.

2. Wild Child – 1973 Datsun 240Z

You know what’s coming, don’t you? LS3, Tremec T-56, and plenty of suspension and brake work that lets the little Datsun keep up with the added grunt. The car had bodywork and paint done in 2010, and has recently gained a carbon fiber hood. This beast also sports air conditioning and a more-or-less refreshened interior, and the car comes with a list of receipts, though these cover the work that has been performed on the build. There is a bit of Z-car character gone…you can tell major surgery has been performed…but does the ballistic action that this 240Z promises you make up for that loss?

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11 thoughts on “Would You Rather: Datsun S30 Z-Car – Do You Like Yours Original Or Extra Spicy?

  1. MGBChuck

    I love small cars with V8s, manual trans., yes I vote for the modified one. I have a friend with a lightly modified 240Z with a 383/5-speed that’s almost as much fun as my sbcMGB, this is a good little car made better.

  2. jerry z

    Extra spicy please! Just need to respray in Hugger Orange since it’s Chevy powered. Black/Gray combo is already dated.

  3. Bill Greenwood

    Give me something in between. Take a pre-buggy bumper 240 and upgrade to five-lug hubs, with those slotted rims per the blue 280. Discs all the way around, and put modern bushings in all the suspension. Lose the front bumper and tuck/trim the rear. Bump the stock six to somewhere close to 3 liters, inject it, and add enough boost for a nice 300 hp/300 tq profile. Gear it for a 150-160 mph top end.
    Leave the interior as stock as possible while upgrading the materials. These cars have a very elegant interior, and any changes rarely improve them. Put a nice leather on the stock seats. Put a good sound deadener under modern carpet. Add A/C and PW/PDL, and link a hidden satellite radio/smart phone interface to the stock appearing radio.
    For a fraction of the cost of a Ferrari 365/GTB-4, you’d have almost as much beauty and speed.

  4. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    Yet another meat headed Shitrolet fan who ruins a fine car!

    Buy the unpolluted on, ditch the ugly bumpers and wheels then slot in an R32 motor and stand with your head held high!

  5. BeaverMartin

    The LS swapped stick version all day. Leves money on the bone for a groovy avocado green re-spray and JDM spec fender mirrors.

  6. geo815

    Cool-looking, but not enough to want either. If I were to go offshotre, the only one on the list is the Tiger, and the collectors have solved that problem for me.

  7. Dan Barlow

    V8 EVERY DAY ! LS , SBC , SBF WITH A 5 SPEED . Why stay with the 6 as good as it was ? The V8s don’t say much more and the weight is situated further back . I don’t care for the flairs but they don’t ruin it for me .

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