By: Aman Sundher
The Datsun 240z reminds us of an ultimate driving experience. It’s why we love to drive. The raw, unassisted driving experience most enthusiasts lust after, but few ever reach. When the 240z came out in 1969, it was one of the fastest cars on the market. In an era when cars were all heavy, high horse power muscle machines, the 240z came in and showed everyone what a well-designed, lightweight chassis could do.
The 1972 240z was a 4-speed. Back in those days, there were very few cars that had power assist, and thus, you had to become accustomed to no power steering or power brakes. Very quickly, drivers realized what the hype was all about because for the driver, every single detail of the road was translated through the steering wheel. In fact, it was easy to tell if you were even driving on the painted line, running over tar snakes or if there were ruts in the road. Around corners, the steering wheel would lighten and shudder, like you were losing traction. The brakes were great and gave a great sense of how close the car was to locking up the wheels; at the same time, applying the brakes gave drivers a great leg workout. The rear tires were 6” behind the driver, and let him/her know how the suspension and tires were reacting to the road.
The 1972 240Z had a single overhead cam inline 6-cylinder that was developed by Datsun. It gave a fantastic sound and easily revved up to 7000rpm. The 4 speed transmission sealed the deal with direct, crisp shifts. Datsun equipped this car with 151hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. While it doesn’t sound like much, for a 2300 lb. car, it’s more than enough to get the car sideways and put a smile on any driver’s face.
Beyond that, the Datsun 240z was, and continues to be, a marvel to look at. The long extended hood and the sloped hatch are a feature copied to this day. Take a look at the Mercedes AMG GT and see the clear resemblance. Unfortunately, the beautiful body is one of the reasons we don’t see many of these cars around. In our climate, rust has claimed more Datsun lives than nearly anything else.
As technology progresses, it’s becoming more and more rare to find a car that isn’t overwhelmed with electronic assists and aids. When you do find one, enjoy every minute of it because these cars won’t be around forever.