“You will never find another pristine example like this anymore around Malaysia.” This is one car in Malaysia that has been sought and dreamt by car enthusiasts of young and old, around the world. It was a very fortunate moment to be given a glimpse of this fine beautiful machine, before it goes on sale and to be sold to the luckiest owner in Malaysia.
The Datsun 240Z, which Mr. Ng owns, was obtained about 30 years ago from Kuantan. He admires this glorious machine very much; that he had it garaged and pampered all its life. He has retained many of the original parts in the car, to preserve its originality. So what makes this car very special?
The Datsun 240Z is the ancestral grandfather of the popular Nissan 350Z or 370Z. It is also fondly known as the Datsun Fairlady Z in the Japanese market. The smooth, Kammback swooping lines of the car’s silhouette is the unmistakeable Z car trademark. The President of Nissan Motor Company USA, Yutaka Katayama, didn’t wanted to gamble its luck with the company’s image abroad, decided to enter the American market with a new brand, called Datsun. They would want to disassociate itself from the brand in case they failed to penetrate the US Market.
The 240Z started in mind, as an affordable sports car for the masses. Designated as the Model S30 the Fairlady’s styling and design cues are from German-American designer, Count Albrecht Goertz, who was also well known for was involvement in the design inputs of the Toyota 2000GT coupe. The Toyota 2000GT went on to be a legend of its own and it became one of the most desirable Japanese sports cars in the planet, after being driven in the 007 movie, You Only Live Twice, starring Sean Connery.
The 240Z was a star of its own. Although it did not have the endorsements of a widely acclaimed movie franchise, it has its own merits and sensations, not least because of its price. It was a very smooth, civilised, fully equipped yet a very capable sports car its time. Most journalists of its time had compared it to the legendary Jaguar E-type, however the 240Z trumps in it being a more affordable alternative than the latter. With all the positive praises from automotive journalists everywhere, buyers began to flock into the Datsun showrooms.
The long nose of the 240Z was very distinctive in shape, as it wrapped around a 2.4 litre inline-6 engine snugly, that produced 151 horsepower. Power might sound inadequate by modern standards, but back in the early 70’s, this was a lot faster than most cars in the category and overall car performance beats the baseline V6 powered Ford Mustang of its days.
The car had modern underpinnings for its time. Chassis specifications were very up to date, considering it had 5-speed running gear, all independent suspensions via Macpherson struts, wishbones and coil springs, rack and pinion steering and front disc/rear drum brakes. The dashboard was however, more American, having inspirations from the dash of a Corvette.
Soon, Nissan realised that the 240Z was an instant success. They realised they were unable to cope with the demand on the market. Never had their cars ever been compared to the badge prestige of a Jaguar but yet provided so much mechanical reliability in the Z cars.
The original Datsun 240Z was sold at a phenomenal rate of 50,000 cars a year. Later in 1973, Datsun introduced its 260Z model, which had its engine enlarged by increasing the size from 2.4 litres to 2.6 litres, in hope that it will compensate for the power losses due to detuning of the engine in accordance with the U.S. emission limits. That however, did not helped, as it possessed lesser horsepower and torque than the former. Newly regulated U.S. rules dictate that the crash bumpers had to be larger, which caused the 260Z’a performance to suffer.
The Datsun 260Z later introduced a pair of tiny seats for passengers at the rear. Designated as the “+2” variant, it allowed two adults to be tucked in properly at the back, although the designs of the Z had to be altered, with its swooping rear and flow lines changed slightly, to accommodate the headroom of two adults. That made the “+2” variant undesirable, as the hump from the roofline raised made it ugly. Sales unfortunately plummeted considerably after its introduction.
The Datsun 280Z was the last hurrah in the earlier Z cars. It had its engine enlarged to the final size, of 2.8 litres. Realising that the performance was suffering in its earlier 260Z cars, the 2.8 litre engine produces good power figures that finally offsets the lack of performance due to the requirements of the U.S. government of its time. The 2.8 litre engine adopted a Bosch electronic fuel injection and junked its older carburetion unit for driveability.
Demand for the Z cars had remain strong most of its life till the last model sold in 1978. Despite all the models that were sold in the US and European market, the only model that was not sold outside of the Japanese car market was the Datsun Fairlady Z432. The Datsun Fairlady Z432 was fitted with impressive twin-cam 2.0 litre engines that were actually powering the most legendary of Nissans since the 70s’. This legendary entity is none other than The Nissan Skyline GT-R. The engine produced 160 horsepower and it emitted one of the most unforgettable engine sounds, that distinct note of which is still appreciated by motorsports enthusiasts up until today.
The Z432 is one of the most expensive and highly sought after Datsun Fairlady of them all, considering prices nowadays still going for a whopping $100,000 in Japan, and with so few in existence of which are mostly held on by collectors and it is hard to see one ever change hands anywhere in the world. Only 420 units of these were ever built and sold to the public.
Considering it was one of the most affordable sports cars of its period, most race teams have purchased them for racing. It was a very successful race car in the 1970s. Famous names such as Bob Sharp Racing in the Eastern US, had employed Paul Newman of acting fame, to race for its race team, in their race prepared Datsun 240Z. While in the Western US, Brock Racing Enterprise, participates their races with a race prepared Datsun 240Z, with John Morton winning most of the time, at the wheel.
With such immense fame and involvement in racing in its days, the Datsun 240Z was a legend of its own. It was very much a Nissan GT-R in its time. The 240Z is also portrayed often in modern media, in the forms of modern serialised comic/animation, as the lead character vehicle in the Wangan Midnight series. With renewed interests in the cars, most of these cars in Malaysia are sold for exorbitant prices now to enthusiasts. Even very badly rusted wrecks are purchased by enthusiasts to be restored and repaired to its former condition.
It will be a while before a car of such pristine condition will appear for sale in the market. It is a poster boy’s dream come true to be able to come close to feel and admire the car from close. Hopefully, the new owner will enjoy and preserve the car for the coming years.
Words – Kevin Lee
Photos – Kevin Lee
7TUNE. THE ULTIMATE JDM EXPERIENCE SINCE 2005.
The AE86, or the Hachi Roku, which literally means 86 in Japanese, is worshipped by many in the motorsports world, and made famous by the anime that took the world by storm, Initial D. The aura and the driving physics of this car is definitely not one of luxury or class, but more along the lines of raw unprecedented fun, and the car’s handling capabilities are quite forgiving which entitles many novice drifters to learn and experience drifting and extremely fun driving all in one readily available package, one of which many modern cars are unable to achieve. The AE86 is truly a legendary piece of engineering, that gives one an adrenaline rush regardless of whether you are behind the wheel or just watching it in action from the sidelines.
The Hachi in question here is known as “Pinky”, and it’s definitely not your normal AE86, judging by the eccentric colour chosen, one can already begin to understand how different this Hachi is. The owner of this Hachi goes by the name of Anep Dorifuto, a local drifter in Kuala Lumpur, who’s just beginning to learn the ropes. His drifting exploits began in 2009, and he bought his very own Hachi in 2010. After beginning to perfect the art of going sideways he has won several events. Events that Anep participated in have all been on the local scale, namely the Cyberjaya Drift challenge and the KBS drift challenge to name a few. In one of the races he earned 6th place in the expert category and 3rd in the novice category.
When one talks about Hachi’s, one usually revels about the 4AGE engine, and the brilliant toyota handling, but there are other cars out there that have parts that fair a little better than the Hachi’s, which leads to another unusual piece of information. A normally aspirated SR20 lifted from an S13. Other parts have also been exchanged and include the front axle and front suspension, all also from the S13. All this is made possible with the help of Under3 Garage, who takes care of all the mechanical details. With these modifications, Anep has successfully negated all of the issues had with the original parts, and now with a car that has more power and more precise handling, this hachi is now a weapon to Anep, ready to tear up the track.
To many this is just another Hachi with an unusual colour scheme, but this is no doubt a tribute to Anep’s passion and hunger for speed. Fueling his burning desire to have created this precision drifting machine, which now has the characteristics of a poison dart frog. Blazing about with it’s brightly coloured skin to show that its a highly potent and worthy adversary regardless of its size. Drifting is a sport which requires immense precision and control on the driver’s part, and as for the car, it has to stand out and appeal to the crowd and judges. It’s safe to say that Anep has managed to achieve that combination with flying colours.
If you are from Malaysia, Catch this car in action in SpeedCity Serdang ( near Astro building ). This car is one of the main attractions, which you could hop on and feel that intense adrenaline rush.
Check out Retro Garage for more awesome pictures and also don’t forget to drop on our 7tune Facebook Page. Have a nice day.
7TUNE. The Ultimate JDM Experience Since 2005
Words – Eugene Chan
Photos – Praveent Chelvam
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