Re: Z love Story: Recap of her first 25 years.
Not 25 years for me, but the tales of my two 240s have their certain emotional aspects:
I was driving a Saab Turbo and wincing at the bills for repair (I had previously worked at an auto shop, but had moved and taken an office job- no facilities for repair of b*tchy Swedish cars at my apt.) I recalled the great fun of driving my buddy's 73 240, and decided to acquire one of my own, and hopefully sell the Saab if I could make the Z streetable.
Found a nice black 72, with a quirky black vinyl top. (A guy on the street said that Albuquerque Datsun did that to every Z they sold, he should know, as he was the detailer from 1971-74!) Runs good, but overheats and can't pass smog. Great Southwest body. $1000 (in 2000)?
I bit, twice. Both times "Larry" the kindly old gent who owned her said that it was sold (he kept advertising it, then pulling the ad. On the third try, I beat out my flaky competitor, brought Larry the cash, and drove away.
I think I saw a tear welling in the 70 something man's eye... I vowed to keep the Z in similar style, but to try to bring it back to full glory.
Which I did. New paint, 5 speed box, new Firestones for the Shelby Cal 500s, and i had my favorite car thus far.
One year later I drove down Larry's street. A guy (I'm pretty sure it was his grandson, I think) put down the lawnmower and stared. I revved the L24 thru the 2.5 exhaust with cherry bombs, and tooted the Fiamm air horns and waved. The young guy broke into a huge grin and waved back. Grandpa's dusty old Datsun was returned to gleaming beauty! Hope the old man heard about it...
On april 1, 2003, my beautiful Z was destroyed by a Ford Excursion rear ending me at 45 mph while I was going 20. Hatch glass, rear side windows, fuel tank, spare tire, all ruptured. Couldn't open either door, either. I had the remains taken to my house so that I wouldn't have to pay any storage while I battled the insurance co. Whereupon, the next night, I realized that the tank still held a gallon or so of gas, and that the electricals were still intact except for the taillights. Although the exhaust was shattered at the downpipe, I put in earplugs, climbed in the window, and headed out to wake the neighbors one *last* time. (Nice to know when you're saying goodbye for good, eh?) I got to wind that sweet motor up thru the gears once more. I felt like the guy in the WWII cartoon who looks away with tears streaming down his face as he shoots his Jeep with its broken axle. Foolish and dangerous, but I'll always remember her last ride. Tracked straight even with the floor torn open! I was *unscathed* in this incident, almost like she gave her life to save me...
Two months later, after getting what even I thought was almost fair in $ for the 240, my pal Eddy called offering me his yellow 240. He was moving to England to be with his (pregnant) fiance. He thought he had the Z sold, but the deal fell through and he was leaving the next morning. Almost flat broke... I gave him the money and was a 240 pilot again. On the phone he was telling his girl that I had come thru again, and that he could afford to get to the UK, and that he couldn't be happier with the home his beloved Z was going to. Now, Eddy had owned this Z longer than any other car- since high school, for 12 years! I promised I'd take good care of the car, and I have (until the next SUV comes along with my name on it)
3/04: They got married here in AZ, I drove the 240 to the ceremony. Their wedding pictures were taken in an archway with the street behind. Therefore, I was all to happy to sneak Ed's Datsun into his *wedding pictures*... it's out of focus obviously, but unmistakably in the background in its shiny Ferrari yellow. When he got the pics, he called from the UK to thank me for the "product placement"...
I've got another car to drive also now ('87 Audi Quattro) and am working in a shop again, so both my rides get much affection- the Z not quite so often on the street, but I'm glad to preserve the legacy of the Fast Eddy Z pretty much like he left it.