Datsun 260Z | Spotted

A UK car, recently restored and 50 years old in 2024 – time to celebrate

By Matt Bird / Thursday, 21 December 2023 / Loading comments

Nissan is in a funny spot at the moment. The side of the business that makes everyday cars is going great guns, Qashqais and Jukes flying out the door – with the future of Sunderland secured, too. But any kind of enthusiast offering is conspicuous by its absence; yes, there’s a Z in the US, but it’s hardly landed to universal acclaim. Having made such pioneering strides forward in the EV arena with the Leaf, Nissan was surely in prime position to show the world what an electrified sports car could be. All we’ve seen of that so far is the Hyper Force. And nobody really wants to see more of that.

Maybe Nissan isn’t too fussed about courting car people. But the fact that Honda has recently created arguably the greatest front-drive hot hatch yet made and Toyota a close-to-perfect rear-drive sports car can’t have gone unnoticed. And there’s so much heritage to plunder if required: of course, it’s easy to think about GT-Rs and what they could be in the future, but don’t forget about the Zed cars…

It’s amazing to think that both the Z and the GT-R badge, the monikers that have cultivated the Nissan legend around the world, have existed for more than 50 years now. Originally (and probably most famously) a 240, the first Z became a 260 like this one from 1973. 

Aware it was onto a good thing, Datsun (as it would have been back then), didn’t meddle too much. Almost like 350Z to 370Z. The long-nose, short-tail look wasn’t really touched, the main difference being an additional 200cc of capacity for the six-cylinder engine (just as it was for the 21st-century Zeds, actually) to boost power by 15 points. Otherwise, it was as you were for the 240: stunning looks, a great sound, independent suspension all round and decent value as well. At £2,690 in 1973, the Z was only £400 more than an MG B V8. 

This one is an original UK car, registered in September 1974 and therefore approaching its 50th birthday. Looks especially good on it, too, thanks to a recent and extensive restoration. This was focused more on refurbishment than replacement, says the ad, retaining the original engine and glass for example. But it really does look immaculate, inside and out, without an imperfection to be seen. You’d almost be happy just to have it outside to look at. 

Because these Zs don’t have quite the following in Europe that they do elsewhere, prices aren’t yet stratospheric. Obviously, £60k isn’t pocket money, but imagine what a freshly restored 1973 Porsche 911 might cost. Or a more famous Nissan for that matter, be it a 240 or something with a GT-R badge. Last time we wrote about (and swooned over) a lower mileage 260Z, the asking price was almost six figures; at two-thirds as much, the fondness is even greater. 


Engine: 2,565cc, straight six, naturally aspirated
Transmission: five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 162@5,600rpm
Torque (lb ft): 157@4,400rpm
CO2: N/A
Recorded mileage: 71,000
Year registered: 1974
Price new: £2,690 (1973)
Yours for: £59,995

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