So the ad for the 240z in the paper intrigued me, although based on previous experiencing looking for a 240z or 260z I often found they were in need of serious work and not worth the effort. So when I went to look at this car with a friend I didn't expect much other than disappointment.
My friend came along with me and before we got there he said, "If it's in good condition just act cool and don't get excited". I said good idea, so I prepared to put on my poker face. After meeting the owner at the door he guided us to the garage and lifted it open. My friend immediately burst out with a "oh my gosh" type expression when he saw how good it looked and I thought well there goes the poker face and any sort of bargaining power I had.
I immediately saw the red paint's condition the Superlite wheels and the dual exhaust. I said to the owner I love the dual exhaust set up on it, it's like the old Works Rally Cars. He said that is exactly where he got the idea from and then proceeded to tell me that guys had come to look at the 240z and not even known what it was. We immediately had a connection from that point on and I think after all the work he put into it, wanted it to go to an enthusiast.
We looked around the car and noticed some small rust bubbles coming through in places, and a couple of panel gaps that could have been better. The engine bay looked really clean and it was obvious that a lot of work had gone into it.
When the car was fired up it was just pure joy to listen to it's L28 with mild cam, big valves and throaty exhaust idle away. Spluttering with an angry note to it. The Triple Dellorto's were removed and the twin SU's had been put back on it. I recall going for a drive, as we reversed out of the driveway a Fastback mustang came rolling down the street. The owner said to me that's another nice looking car, then he proceeded to tell me how under-rated the Z was. It's something that stands out in my mind a lot. I still agree with him, although the last few years has seen definitely more interest in these cars and more well deserved recognition.
The drive went well and the sound of it was awesome, people were starring at this old Z as she went down the road and I didn't know how at the time, but I knew I was somehow going to buy this Z. This was before the Corolla was broken into, so I told the owner I was going to list the Corolla for sale and my other 240z and I'd be in touch. Well that's when the Corolla was subsequently broken into and I ended up phoning up the owner of the Z and asking if it was still for sale. A month or so had gone by and it wasn't in the paper anymore. I sold off the Corolla unpainted and only with cosmetic issues and the 73 240z went to Marc, to side step a minute, Marc is a member on here and was at the Christmas BBQ.last year in a 70 model Z (the Black pearl looking 1 with the L28 turbo in it).
I had met Marc 1 night down in Port Melbourne he drove past me in the 260z in his black 2+2 and I chased him down. Here's some photos of Marc's car back then.
Marc put a turbo carby set up on his Z, and I recall being at Swinburne University going for a drive in it with him and man that thing hauled ass. It was scary quick.
Unfortunately Marc's car was written off when a van pulled out in front of him.
So anyway after calling the owner of the 72 240z, he told me there was too many time wasters so he didn't bother to list the ad again but was still prepared to sell it to me. We negotiated on price and I ended up offering $7,500 for it. He agreed and the next week I came down to drive it myself.
You can see me on the left in the bottom photo and the owner on the right. This is right before I took it for the first drive.
I discovered when I bought the car that I was technically the 3rd owner from new. The first owner bought it new in 72 and the second owner was the current owners father. George was his name and Tony was his son. They never bothered to change it into Tony's name because then they would have had to pay stamp duty etc.. So they just left it in George's name and I became it's third owner. A funny story is that when i wrote up the cheque to buy it I said to the teller at Westpac that it was to be made in the name of Tony Barber and she looked at me and said "The Tony Barber?" to which I replied sorry not him. (She thought I meant the game show host from Sale of the Century).
So when I bought the car it was signed over by George making me it's official 3rd owner. To say I was happy with the car was an understatement. I loved it. The attention it got, the reflection of it in shop windows, the sound of it, the way it drove it was very magical.
It wasn't all smooth sailing though, to get a road worthy, I had to change the exhaust or fit a rear bumper. I changed the exhaust. It had some rust in the rear chassis rails and rear dogleg sections. Rob at Z-Factory took care of that for me. The drivers floor was also a little beaten up and he also did some work to fix that up at the same time. A few other things like bushings needed work and the front indicator lights were a bit old and needed replacement with some other minor stuff also.
Some photos taken not long after I got her.
My friend Cameron (the 1 who let me down poker face wise) and my little sister - who is now a full grown woman. (This was photo was taken 10 years ago or more now)
Cameron sitting in the drivers seat.
So what's been done to it over the years?
- Installed a lightened flywheel and heavy duty clutch.
- rebuilt the electronic distributor
- replaced the valve stem seals
- Installed tokico shocks
- replaced bushings front and rear
- Balls joins, tie rod ends were also replaced
- The seats were replaced with Recaro's although I'll probably change them to something more 'period' when I can.
- Sourced original door cards.
- Sourced an original door mirror (not installed yet)
- I re-chromed the front bumper (but not happy with it)
- I installed a 260z fluted bonnet - again not happy with it. This was done because someone reversed into my original bonnet and drove off (no note left
- I got a good un-cracked console from the US of A.
- The dashboard was reskinned professionally.
- New carpets were bought and installed
- Replaced the map light hood (as these crack), got the choke knob etc..
- Rebuilt (just replaced gaskets) and retuned the S.U carbs.
Then the plan was to build a 3.1 ltr stroker and I got an LD28 crank, Triple Mikuni's and Schneider camshaft, L14 rods etc..I was going to put flares on it and bigger wheels / fender mirrors etc..
Some may recall seeing these photos.
Then I did this photoshop mock.
But I decided before I'd do all that I'd travel a bit.. for a variety of reasons but I had to spend 4 days in hospital after a lung operation - which was good time to reflect on life and what i wanted and I decided I wanted to see the world and the other was that I had a bad experience with a mechanic who let me and my partner down, along with a friend. So I put car building on hold.
Over the past few years she's sat in the garage at my mum's place and I've taken it out here and there when I've been back visiting. Here are some recent photos.
Current plans are to get the diamond vinyl happening again in the interior, install the original door mirror and get her on CH plates so she can be driven around again. Once I'm more confident with bodywork and painting I'll probably patch up some of the minor rust bubbles taking care of 1 panel at a time, but I won't do a full bare metal job - since I want to have it on the road and enjoy it. I've got the Safari Gold car as something more long term build wise.