The Datsun 240Z took North America by storm when it debuted as a 1970 model. The reason was a 240 possessed a timeless style that molded a sports car with a fastback design that really worked on the Japanese road rocket.

The 240Z also had significant performance capabilities for its time and was able to hit 125 MPH with a 0-60 time of about 8 seconds. Bear in mind most import cars in 1970 were slow and looked the part.

Jim Sutherland

Dick McDonell is a legendary car guy in his home province of Alberta Canada because he knows sports cars and racing from an insider’s point of view. He was introduced to the race hobby at an early age in 1956 and was drawn into the culture in a big way, including a book (‘The Speediest Land Traveller’) about the race history in Alberta.

Suffice to say the man knows his stuff when it comes to the speedy side of the car hobby, so it is not a reach for Dick to own a beautifully restored 1971 Datsun 240Z that has a strong father/son connection. Dick’s son Andrew owned a very rusty ’71 240Z that he used as a daily driver and wanted to restore in the future.

Dick is a practical man with a long history of personal experience regarding the complicated nature of a restoration project and the many car guy misadventures along the way, so he gave his son Andrew some fatherly advice: “Don’t restore it, the only thing you need is a car with a warranty”.

Dick decided to buy the car from his son and embark on a major restoration journey that involved 2 countries (Canada and the United States) and 2 cars, a non-rusty 1971 Datsun 240Z from Arizona and his son Andrew’s very rusty donor car.

Dick wanted to restore the Arizona Z-car car back to its factory glory because he wanted to “restore it (the 240Z)-not hot rod it”, in his words. Dick has spent most of his life in the race hobby, but he also has an enormous amount of respect for vehicles that accurately reflected their factory heritage.

As mentioned earlier, his son Andrew’s 240Z was slated to be a donor car for his father’s 240Z project car, including the donor’s powertrain. The result was a car that had the best of both worlds when it came to its restoration, a period-correct engine and transmission transplanted into a Datsun 240Z body that had avoided encounters with winter, salt and inevitable rust problems by laying low in sunny Arizona.

Dick tried to avoid any components that did not come with the car but had to use aftermarket fuel line clamps on a few connections, although he will continue to seek out factory-correct parts whenever the opportunity arises for him.

Dick told MyStarCollectorCar he was able to fire up the car in 2017 and reintroduce his 240Z to the road in 2020. Now he can hit the road in his beautiful 1971 Datsun 240Z whenever the spirit moves him.

For the record, Dick has exactly no plans to hit the track in his trail-blazing import sports car. 

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.