With only 35,000kms on the clock, this Japanese sports car is a one-owner time capsule
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A 1971 Datsun 240Z with 35,000 original kilometres on the odometer has sold for record-breaking US$310,000 ($460,000) at auction.

Sold on American auction site Bring a Trailer, the 240Z is a one-owner, all-numbers-matching car dressed in its original Racing Green paint with ‘go fast’ 240Z side stripe decals, and a brown vinyl interior.

James Munson, owner of the Datsuns of Marion dealership in Indiana, USA, bought it new from his showroom and gave it to his son for a dental school graduation gift.

His son didn’t drive it much, so it was then stored back in the showroom before finding a home at the Munson house. Dr. Munson died in May 2019, so it was then bought by a friend who offered it up for auction.

The photos prove just how original this car is, with protective plastic that can still be found on the seat belts, behind the armrests, and rear panels.

A window sticker shows a suggested retail price of USD$3757, including $83 for freight, and options such as $3 antifreeze, tinted glass for $30, and a defroster for $40. All its documentation, including a 240Z-branded bra, was sold with the car.

The Japanese sports car has its original four-speed manual gearbox and 2.4-litre inline-six engine, which produced 111kW at 5600 RPM and 198Nm at 4400 RPM when new. Sitting on factory 14-inch wheels, it has disc brakes up front and drums at the rear.

The only work that has been done was an adjustment of the carburettors, an oil change, new tyres, and a good detail, which means it is pretty much a time capsule.

“This is one of the best-known survivors to exist in the world, and it possibly could be the best – I’ve never seen a better example,” Marc Schiliro from MS Classic Cars said, who presented the car.

“This is really something extremely special. It’s a one of a kind find, and it’s something that myself and car collectors dream of.”

The 49-year-old car eclipsed a previous record for the 240Z – a 1970 example with 53,000km which sold for for US$124,240 ($184,000).

Last month a rare 240Z known as Nissan Fairlady Z432R overseas sold in Tokyo for $1.17 million.

Could these recent auction results start to drive up the value of these once-affordable Japanese classics even more?