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I live in the SF bay area, and am looking for an older z car, probably a 240. I was wondering if anyone knows of one, or had any recommendations when looking at these cars. Are there any problems that I should look out for? I am also looking for a shop that I could deal with in the area. Any suggestions would help. thanks
 

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Brian,
Am assuming you've never owned a Z before, correct? Welcome (almost) to the club. I've owned 5 Zs and ZXs. Here are some tips of mine, plus good ones I've read on the forum here:
1) Buy the MOST car you can up front. In other words, if you spend $4,000 to $6,000 or more for a mostly restored 240, all you'll basically have to do is wax it, put gas in and drive it. If you buy a clunker for a few hundred with the intention of 'cherrying it out', unless you're in the 1% bracket of guys who will actually do it, you will wind up with a car spread all over your garage for years and never get to enjoy it.
2) Rust is a MAJOR concern with Z cars. They simply didn't have the technology to prevent it like they do today, so virtually nothing was done in design or production to prevent rust. Particular areas to watch for rust-through or bubbling (which usually are the tip of the iceberg) are rockers, lower rear fenders, floors, hatch lip and taillight area and under the battery box. Rust in any of these areas but the battery box generally mean there is also hidden rust elsewhere. (Rust under battery box, though hard to fix, may just be indicative of leaky batteries.) Rust is hard to fix and very expensive if you have it done, as the only way to do it right is to cut out the cancerous areas and weld in new metal. So bottom line: look for a car with minimal or no rust to begin with. Fortunately, California (at least SoCal) is a good area for rust-free cars, as is the whole Southwest.
3) 240s are desireable for lots of reasons: they're lighter, they don't have the clunky energy-absorbing bumpers of the later 280s, they're carbureted, and — a biggie in CA — they don't have to be smogged. However, don't discount the 280s. Just personal opinion, but I LOVE fuel injection. I fiddled with carburetors for years (never on a Z, though) and I don't miss it at all. Of course, you can always drop a fuelie 280 motor in your 240 if you want. All Z motors from '69 through '83 were straight sixes with the same outside dimensions and are totally interchangeable with each other. There are also kits and websites that will help you drop in a V8 if you want.
4) Finally, sad but true, Z cars are not hot items on the general auto market, and you will never get out of your car what you put into it when it comes time to sell (unless they put Pierce Brosnan in one in the next James Bond movie). From what I've seen on eBay, even primo examples of Zs go for about 30-40 cents on the dollar. Good news for buyers, of course, not so good for sellers.
Good luck!
 
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