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My 1970 Datsun 240Z


Craig Bastow, 43, swells with pride when he talks about the 1970 Datsun he has recently had restored. It's all original in Monte Carlo red with matching engine and chassis numbers and the original AM radio.

The only additions are Ewing three-piece wheels, a custom exhaust and the Japanese-style fender mirrors for "presence". "There is a bit of a story to this," he says.

"As a young guy in my late teens a mate (Peter Semos) and I were really into them," he says. "He tragically died in the Noosa Triathlon in 2004.

"About a year later I bought the car from his wife, Robina, and at the beginning of this year I gave it a bit of a refresh. You could either do it up in a shoddy fashion or do it once and do it properly. I wanted to do it properly and keep Peter's memory alive. I knew how much this car meant to him."

Craig's first 240Z cost him $4000 in 1986, but it didn't last long. "I moved on to other things for work," he says. "At the time a 20-year-old car with two seats wasn't the most practical thing."

He paid $15,000 for the current 240Z and reckons it now owes him about $40,000 and could be worth as much as $50,000 because it's had a faithful restoration. "But I will never sell it. It will never leave the family," he says.

Bastow shipped the car to the Motorline BMW workshop where it spent the next eight months being restored to its former glory. "I love the lines and the simplicity. You pull the bonnet on this and you know what's there. "There is a bit of purity to it."

The 1970 240Z is powered by a simple, single-overhead-cam six-cylinder 2.4-litre engine, hence the name. "It was capable of about 150hp (112kW) in an under 1000kg car so it had great power-to-weight ratio," Bastow says. "They tried to copy the (Porsche) 911 dynamics with a 50-50 weight distribution.

"However, if you go over 100km/h the front tends to lift and it gets light in the steering. But it's a tough old girl. Mechanically it's perfect."

Bastow has only had the car back from the workshop a few weeks, but intends to take it for "nice drives" once or twice a month through the mountains. "You don't want to sit on the highway for a long time. The exhaust note drones through the cabin," he says.

"You get more looks in this than in my Porsche (996 Turbo)." As a fitting tribute, he hopes to drive his mate's widow in the 240Z to the annual service in memory of Semos.

1970 Datsun 240Z

Engine: cast-iron block, alloy head, single over head camshaft, 2393cc in-line 6-cylinder Bore x stroke: 83 x 73.7mm
Compression: 9.13:1
Fuel: mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi SU carburettors
Power: 112kW @ 5600rpm
Maximum torque: 146lb ft at 4400rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Brakes: 10.7in discs (front), 9 x 1.6in drums (rear), servo assisted
Suspension: independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar (front); independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers
Steering: rack and pinion