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Thread: The Beater

  1. #1
    Registered User
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    Apr 2013
    Door County, WI

    Default The Beater

    The Story of my 1st Z car
    Two years ago I bought a car that would cause me trouble. It is a 1972/73 datsun 240z. I say 1972/73 because it seems to be a compilation of two cars. The engine is a 73, the body a 72; it has early SU carbs, and a front right fender from a 260z (courtesy of my mom but Iíll get to that). As soon as my dad and I got it back home and put on jack stands, we realized that there was a weld line across the entire rear of the car just behind the seat area. There is rust flaking off the floor pan. If I tap on the floor, there is a shower of rust under the car.
    Step 1
    We needed to get the car to run properly. There was absolutely no power. It turns out the SUís were in need of a rebuild. After rebuilding the carbs, tuning them, adding new spark plugs, and buying a new battery the engine ran outstanding.
    Step 2
    The rear suspension was so soft that when accelerating quickly, the car would squat tires would rub against the wheel well. We installed new rear struts.
    Step 3
    The water and oil pumps were replaced.
    Step 4
    The car shook while accelerating. We discovered the driveshaft was very bent. It was repaired.
    Step 5
    There was no rear hatch glass. The car was sent in to install the glass from another hatch that we got for free with the car.

    I drove for about a month in my beater Z car
    My mom backed into it with our conversion van.
    Datsun + 1982 van = Van Wins (with no dents)
    After that the Z car had a new issue. The front right fender was shot. Luckily, my dad had a friend with a 260z. He gave us the Z but we had to haul it out of the weeds. This is where the true story begins.

    Recovering the 260z
    The 260z had been sitting for 16 years out in the weather (awful Wisconsin weather on the peninsula in Door County). It was far from gone. It would be easier to make your own Z car from scratch, metal work and everything, than restore this car. Once the brake drums were broke loose, we hooked a long chain up to our truck and pulled it out. Well 2 of the wheels broke loose. Therefore, it was more like dragging a sorry looking car out of the weeds and leaving behind a deep tire groove through the wet grass.
    Now the interesting part:
    We didnít have a winch on the trailer. We decided to use a little engineering skill. We jackknifed the van (hooked up to the car trailer) at a 90 degree angle to the trailer behind it. Then we pulled the chain past the trailer and hooked it up to the truck (it was a very long chain). I hopped in the Z. My dad pulled the Z car with the truck. What proceeded after this was probably the scariest thing I ever did. I was steering the Z car as it crept up the ramp. The issue was that it is hard to steer a car up a ramp when 2 drums are locked up. As the car reached the top of the ramp and started to continue onto the trailer we realized there was not enough clearance. I told my dad to keep going. The floor was so soft that when the car was pulled over the rear lip of the trailer, my seat lurched up like I was passing over a wave on a surfboard. I saw the whole floor ripple as the car was being pulled onto the trailer. Then I noticed there were no brakes. The trailer was at an incline and the car was sliding forward toward the van. My dad jumped out of the truck and I hopped out of the Z car. Together we stopped the Z car before it hit the van.

    The panels on the 260z were about all that was salvageable. We used the front fender to replace the damaged one on my 240z. That process was a headache. Repainting and fitting was a nightmare.
    My 240z is now repaired and drivable. It will be out later this year.

    Oh I forgot to mention: my 240z has a stupid sunroof. Whoever installed it committed a crime. Iím strictly a hardtop guy.

  2. #2
    Registered User Stanley's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
    Redondo beach


    At least the sunroof gives you another place to put decals. Fight that rust!
    The Ospho Solution..(rust removal) - Hot Rod Forum : Hotrodders Bulletin Board

  3. #3
    Registered User Hardway's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    Austin TX


    Now that's a story Stanley. We look forward to seeing some pics of your Z as well as some more updates. Good luck with it!
    08/1970 240z Series-1 #8011 - Silver, black int., 2.4L I-6, 5spd, 90% restored.
    06/1973 VW Karmann Ghia - Black convertible, 4spd, 1600cc air-cooled engine.
    11/2013 Scion FR-S - Silver, 6spd, a car with the soul of a Z for the modern times.
    Restoration thread of my old '72 240z ->

  4. #4
    Registered User Gary in NJ's Avatar
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    Mar 2010
    Amongst the twisty roads


    Good story...needs photos. It's always great to see a young person get Z sickness.
    Guardian of HLS30-91415
    Previous Owner of a 10/70 240Z ('83-'85)

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