Last Updated: 11/10/2021 — see ‘caveats’ section near the bottom of the article for some information on these price ranges and their relationship to global market conditions at the time of writing this update.
The Datsun 240Z has truly come into its own in terms of price over the past few years. Once a relatively affordable option for those looking to get into the vintage car hobby, the 240Z has increased in value steadily over the past ten or so years. Not only have these higher valuations this made it more difficult to get your hands on a good condition 240Z, but they have also opened the market for Concours-quality examples of the 240Z as “no-expense-spared” restorations become more viable as the cost of high quality restoration work and correct replacement parts can now be justified as good return on investment. Just as we have witnessed with other collector automobiles, better restorations will now take place as the 240Z grows in value.
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Needless to say, the market for this Japanese sportscar has become highly dynamic and hopefully our price guide below will help you value your 240Z or prospective purchase. You will notice that originality factors highly into our valuation categories. Please note that although these categories are very narrowly defined, there are always exceptions to these, and this guide should only give you a baseline approach to valuation. We categorize 240Zs as ‘Good’, ‘Poor’, ‘Excellent, ‘Highly Modified’, ‘Parts Salvage’, or ‘Concours’ quality and will provide an example of each.
Concours Condition – $70,000 and up
Cars in this category will be fully restored to the highest of standards. Everything on this car should be original and restored to new (or perhaps better) condition with extreme attention to detail. A car in this category may be an award winner at some reputable competition for restorations. This kind of Z will have low miles and a low number of previous owners. This kind of 240Z has traditionally been quite rare, but in recent years a number of Zs that fit this description have come up for sale and done very well. The auction scene is still yet to heat up for the 240Z, but private sales have proven the market for this quality of 240Z.
Excellent Condition – $30,000 to $70,000
240Zs in this category are typically either highly to fully restored, or unmolested, low-miles original cars. The paint is a factory color and likely the car’s original color as well. A car in this category should show no signs of rust. In some rare cases, a car in this category could also have original paint, possibly in need of a touch up. Nearly all cars in this category are numbers-matching and the engines are either low miles or recently rebuilt. A car in this category will not have had many previous owners. Cars in this category should come with great documentation of its purchase and repair history.
Good Condition – $12,500 to $30,000
Overall, the car is solid mechanically and more importantly, has very little to no rust. If there is any rust repair on the car, the work done should be very professional and clean. If you are valuing a car in this category, check out our 240Z rust inspection guide. The car should ideally run well, but minor repairs and ‘TLC’ needed do not disqualify a car from this category. These cars are typically numbers-matching all around, although there are exceptions. Many cars in this category have had engine swaps, but ideally with the L24 engine or perhaps an L28.
Cars in this category may be modified to an extent – the modifications must be mostly reversible, bringing the car back to 100% stock would not be a huge undertaking. For example, a car may have an aftermarket exhaust and some interior upgrades and still fall into this category, especially if original (replaced) parts were included in the sale. In contrast, a 240Z with its fenders cut and drilled into to accommodate fender flares, a highly non-original interior, and a non-original paint color would likely not fall into this category as returning it to stock would entail lengthy and expensive work.
Cars in this category are not expected to have original paint, but if repainted, ideally it retains its original color. However, a non-original color repaint or even non-factory color repaint does not disqualify a car from this category if the paint job is done well. These cars are prime candidates for restoration, so the most important factor here truly is rust, followed closely by originality.
Poor Condition – $2,000 to $12,500
Cars in this condition are typically very rusty in all the classic areas for a 240Z. If one wanted to restore this condition of 240Z, major rust repair would likely be necessary, but it is salvageable. In this price range, all bets are off for originality. If a car is priced in this range, it will likely have some combination of aftermarket wheels, interior pieces, gauges, steering wheel, bumpers, etc. This price range of 240Z could feature cars with invasive modifications such as bolted-on fender flares or custom sunroofs. This car has typically had many owners. Paint and chrome are likely in poor condition although the car may still be in the original color. Some of these cars can fetch prices in the higher range of this if they require a lot of work but remain rust-free.
Parts Salvage Condition – $2,000 and below
Most 240Zs are in this category due to the Z-car’s perennial issue – extreme rust. Cars in this category are rusted to the point that restoration is not even a consideration. However, due to the market for the 240Z, cars in this category still hold some value in its parts. Some Z parts are actually very expensive as the aftermarket parts supply has not quite caught up to the recent interest in 240Zs. For example, a non-cracked 240Z dashboard can go for nearly $1,000! A lot of other interior panels like this one, can even be worth a significant amount. Although a rusted Z may not be a great restoration candidate, it certainly is not worthless.
Highly Modified – $10,000 to $50,000
The highly modified category has a very broad price range because this category of 240Z is very broad and diverse. The strongest price determining factor for cars in this category is how tastefully the car has been built. Of course, this comes down to preference – a Z with fender mirrors, flares, a big spoiler and RS-Wantanabe wheels may not look great to you, but to the right buyer it could look better than the original “all-stock” look or any other kind of modified 240Z. These cars are often priced towards the upper end of this price range because the seller will have put a lot of money and time into their build and is willing to wait for the right buyer who appreciates their taste.
That said, it is almost futile to even put a price range on highly modified vehicles, so you’ll have to forgive me for attempting to put some kind of price range on it. Of course a highly modified vehicle could sell for far greater than the maximum stated here.
As discussed before, there are certainly exceptions to these guidelines. A few more things to consider:
- At the time of writing this update (7/6/2020) the market for all classic vehicles is highly volatile. This volatility followed a rapid rise in 240Z prices seen in late 2019 and early 2020, so it makes it very difficult to accurately price a 240Z. As a result, the price ranges you see here are quite large in order to reflect this overall volatility.
- In an update on 11/10/2021 — the volatility has calmed down but the price ranges seen at the moment are still very wide.
- Some rarer 240Z color combinations can increase the relative value of the car. For example, a 113 green metallic exterior with the brown interior is far rarer than other combinations and a car with this combination may be more valuable than more common variants.
- The 5-speed manual transmission (FS5C71A) was a rare option only offered in the Japanese, Australian, and European markets. Naturally, 240Zs that had this option from the factory are sought after a bit more because of this — this caveat obviously applies more to non-US markets but it is an important distinction there.
- Due to the extreme demand of the 240Z in America when the car came out, dealers often added a few bells and whistles to increase their margins such as air conditioning. Dealer-installed AC is actually quite rare and can increase the price.
- Much more! This is meant to be a base guideline to assist you in pricing out a 240Z.