Opinions on car purchase.... - Nissan : Datsun ZCar forum :Nissan Z Forum: 240Z to 370Z
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-14-2017, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on car purchase....

I am new to the Z world so I thought I would bounce this off you vets....

I am looking at a '72 240z that I intend to completely strip, cage, and build into a track car. I just went over it with a fine toothed comb, and saw:

Passenger floor panel is rusted through under the seat and will definitely need to be replaced. Driver's side floor shows at least some surface rust, but still "pings" like solid metal so it is 50/50.

There is at least some surface rust on the inside engine bay under the battery tray. Again, it rings like solid metal but may need some work. Both frame rails looks arrow straight and solid. Engine bay and rear spare tire area still have what I am 98% sure is original paint, no bubbles or signs of other troubles. I could find no evidence of a collision either front or rear, yet I did notice that both doors seem to be sitting a bit "forward"....like the gaps are a bit screwed up. Any opinions on that?

I could find not signs of rust in fender areas or rockers. Used a magnet and found no thick bondo anywhere.

Car runs decently, aesthetically the interior is trashed, but I don't need/want any of that stuff anyway.

What would you guys call a fair price for this car as I described it? Any obvious critical areas I have forgotten to check?

Thanks.

Last edited by Ironhead; 03-14-2017 at 03:28 PM.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 01:25 PM Thread Starter
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Nevermind...going to try to find one with less rust.

But thanks for all the input regardless!
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Ironhead View Post
Nevermind...going to try to find one with less rust.

But thanks for all the input regardless!
Please don't be disappointed in the lack of responses. I looked at your post and from the information you provided and didn't provide, I really couldn't come up with a good answer for you. Your location can play a big part in what's a good price and we didn't get that. Photos really help too and we didn't get those either. All in all though, you probably made the right decision looking for a better car. It's been said that you should start a project with the best car you can afford. Although in the extreme that may leave you with no budget to actually execute the project, the meaning is clear.

Good luck with your search. As you keep looking you will get a decent idea of what people are willing to pay for a car. Recently a rolling shell (1970 240Z) sold on eBay for something like $5200. It had no doors, no drivetrain (motor, tranny, etc), was missing a fender, no interior and so on. Still, being a first-year model and the body being in decent shape, that's what someone was willing to pay.

Scott
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9/74 260Z VIN RLS30 060061
Restored!
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Scott. I am in Nor Cal...as was this car. He would not go below $5800, and I was tempted....but...decided against.

I know I have the skills to replace a rotten floor pan, but I was concerned that if the rust extended beyond that into the complex sections where there is framework and steel coming from multiple angles, I could quickly get in over my head. With the **** undercoating it is so hard to pinpoint how far the cancer goes. Since the floor on the passenger side was completely perforated, I concluded that the rot might well be pretty advanced into the surrounding areas. But my main fear was the signs of rust under the battery tray....if that had advanced to the point where metal needed to be cut out I could see it could get fairly complex to repair. I could see rust under the battery tray...and I could see signs of rust leaking out from under the undercoating on the inner fender...and those were bad signs to me.

You are right about the quandary. I am starting to fear that if I want a rust free car I am going to have to pay in the $15-20K range....and that kind of moves it out of the "project car" category...at least for me. Plus so many of the sellers are freakin liars, and most of the cars are not local. I have looked at 5 or 6 cars now, every seller claimed they were rust free or nearly so, and every one has had what I would consider major rust. One claimed he had a rust free car, and after traveling for 3 hours to see it I found the floor pans were covered with huge sheets of galvanized sheet metal (like you get at the hardware store for ducting work) held in with pop rivets and seam sealer.

Sorry for the noobish lack of information....but I am a noob....that's how we roll.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 12:06 AM
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I'm in norcal too and yes, the early cars around here aren't worth the price unless you are buying a nearly perfect car to hold and sell later as an investment. If you are a skilled welder there are plenty of rusty ones out there and the mechanical parts are cheap. I recommend that you go up a few years and buy a 280z. It is nearly the same car with a stronger frame, much lower cost, and you can find one without rusted out floors if you look around. If you change the bumpers your 280 will look like a 240, but with a better engine, stronger frame, and nicer interior. That is what I did. If you are around Sacramento you are welcome to contact me and see what you can build for much less and lots of hard work, but no welding. I have been helping another guy in the area restore his. No reason to be scared of smog either. If it runs right a fuel injected 280z will have zero CO. However, if you still want to build a track car, consider a Porsche 944. They handle much better, are lighter, cheaper (except parts), rust free (galvanized), and the engines have the same power as the Z (I own both).

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks much for the input John....

The only reason I am not looking for 280zs is because I want a car from the smog exempt years. I plan to modify the engine...extensively...and don't want to have to deal with bi-annual smog checks. That is more or less the same reason I am not pursuing a 944...even though I agree with you that it is an all-around more capable platform.

I am one of those nerds for whom the build is half the fun....I just don't want to wind up with a shell so rotten that it cannot be practically repaired at my skill level. And those rotten cars are apparently everywhere, even in California. The real problem is that even spending $15K or so is no guarantee of not getting one. The undercoating and carpet/upholstery on an apparently "clean" car can hide all sorts of horrors.

Some sellers go to great lengths to try to hide it. I looked at one car that not only had "Flintstones" floor pans, the entire firewall was covered with thick undercoating. That really makes one ask "why?"....and I am pretty sure I know the answer.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-16-2017, 09:40 PM
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I wish I had an answer for you. The Sierra Club and others in this state are doing their best to make sure no newer cars ever get to smog exempt status and happily watch as the 75 and older cars rust away. They put a bill on their hit list that would have passed last year and killed it just before a final vote. Low budget hobbyists are just snapping up any early car or truck they can find that isn't rusted out to do what you want to do. Love to hear back on what you eventually find.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-17-2017, 01:09 AM
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Your a few years late to find a cheap one in really good condition with minimal rust problems. These cars were actually cheap for what they are. Prices have been going up and will most likely continue to do so.

Check out this one https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/6016899661.html. I have no connection to it just saw the add. Sounds like it could be a solid foundation to start with.

12/70 build 240Z
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 01:19 AM Thread Starter
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Check out this one https://sfbay.craigslist.org/pen/cto/6016899661.html. I have no connection to it just saw the add. Sounds like it could be a solid foundation to start with.
Hahahaah...weird...I drove down and looked at that exact car about 10 days ago.....advertised there and on Ebay as 99% rust free. It sold on Ebay with a high bid of $3990. I'm guessing the deal fell through when the bidder saw the car....but that is just speculation because he still has the Craigslist add open.

Without being too specific since it is no longer my business...I drove 3 hours to see that car, and I would not have paid $1000 for it....

It's ironic....back around 1994 I was sniffing around for 240Zs and found a '71 with 65K miles on it....rock solid....I mean I checked that car every which way....NO rust. The deal fell through because the owner wanted $2500 for it and I only wanted to pay $2K....

But, since that was over 20 years ago the story has little meaning, really...

Last edited by Ironhead; 03-18-2017 at 01:27 AM.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 01:49 AM
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Sorry about that. Shiny makeup does hide a lot of faults does it not.

Luckily I bought my 71 240Z in 1998 showing around 64k miles and only some small rust bubbles in the right dog leg. 1700 dollars. I added over 120k to that over the next 10 years or so. Currently it's undergoing minor rust repair and paint work.

Good luck on your search.

12/70 build 240Z
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