I previously made some posts about some engine work I was doing over Thanksgiving at my parents house, but I forgot to post images of the car I was working on. One of my friends, John McGeen, had been talking about his Datsun 260 Z ever sense he was one of my students. He had always joked that I needed to get one and I had always brushed off the idea since I had other projects and things to work one.
Recently there have been a few awesome videos about 240 Zs and I had been reading about the early series Z and found their history fascinating along with the early design inspiration. There has been a recent rise in interest in the early Z cars and their value as they are an example of an early Japanese sports car that is very drivable and reliable due to their superb engineering and design. With design inspiration coming from a mix of early Jaguar and Ferrari and a race pedigree that allows a stock 240Z to compete with a Porsche 911, these cars are starting to see a significant rise in their value. Well recently I was scanning the for sale adds on Craigslist and came across a 240Z that was for sale in Indiana. I contacted the owner and inquired about it's condition. He told me that the car ran, but that he had trouble getting it started and that it didn't idle well. He told me that he had replaced a lot of the engine hoses, plugs, plug wires, fuel filter/pump, etc., but the car had some rust in the typical places that Z's start to deteriorate. He sent some other pictures and I decided that I would purchase the car and pick it up while I was visiting family for Thanksgiving. It was a bit of a gamble as I was just looking at pics, but from what I could tell I felt the car was solid and had potential.
The family and I drove down to my parents place the day before Thanksgiving. When we arrived, I dropped off Jill and the kids and picked up my Dad and borrowed his truck so I could pick up a tow dolly. We headed out for Robinson, IL to pick up the dolly and then on to Columbus, IN. The roads that we took to Columbus took us through beautiful rolling hills to Bloomington, IN and then over to Columbus. We met the owner of the car and loaded the car (without starting it; as the battery was dead). Dad and I checked the car over and made sure it was secured to the trailer and took off for Indianapolis. We ran out of daylight and it was a bit of a sketchy drive after dark, through busy Thanksgiving traffic around Indy. Things cleared up around Terre Haute and it was smooth sailing the rest of the way home. I took the battery out when we got home and put it on the charger overnight.
The next morning I came out and was able to get the car running within a few minutes of fiddling with the chokes on the SU carbs. I wasn't able to completely close the chokes in order to get a decent idle so I assumed that we had some grime in the idle circuit of the carbs. I took the carbs off and completely dismantled them, cleaned them (as noted in my earlier posts) and then bolted them back on. I was able to get the Z to settle into a smooth idle. Success!
The rest of the car seems very solid and amazingly complete. It does have a slight amount of rust but nothing that is too bad. I believe the car has been well cared for over the years as everything seems dry and just dirty. The original jack and lug wrenches were in their storage bin, the original quilted vinyl was in excellent condition, and the car still had it's original carpet (although torn). The engine work that the previous owner did was worth the price of the car and I just need a valve cover gasket and things should be perfect in the engine compartment. The Z needs new seals around the doors and latches and the hood needed some work with it's alignment. I was able to fix this though before heading home to Milwaukee. The car will need a new carpet kit, door seals, suspension bushings, and tires, and some paint touch up.
Before I left for Milwaukee I purchased some oven cleaner to apply to the white paint. The oven cleaner softens the first layer of paint and allows me to take a razor blade to the car so I can remove the white paint without damage to the original #112 yellow (lime) paint. This color was only available for a couple years. It's a strange color but it's growing on me as I look at some other cars with this color of paint. In the past I have always stripped cars down and completely rebuilt them, but I want to keep this car on the road and just do upgrades that don't take it off the road. Hopefully I can work on a few things when I visit home for the Christmas holiday. For the time being I'll post a pic of a complete car with the same color paint.