A Restored 1971 Datsun 240Z

It was the Datsun Z cars that brought people into it’s dealer showrooms in droves. This was the automobile that added pep to Datsun’s line of cars. The Datsun 240 Z had a new car price of about $3,500 and for that money you had a well built performance automobile. While Datsun liked to call their car a personal GT model, the 240 Z was a sports car and a really good one. The car featured in our article is a 1971 Datsun 240 Z. The 240 Z was built for four model years, 1970 through 1973.

1971 datsun 240 z

1971 Datsun 240 Z

Datsun and Nissan

Datsun is a brand owned by the Nissan Motor Company. While Datsun models began being produced in 1931, from 1958 to 1986, only the models exported by Nissan were named Datsun. In a way the names were interchangeable. In the U.S. during this time they were Datsuns.

What Made the Datsun 240 Z  A Big Winner

In short, the answer to this is quality plus a relatively low price. The people who purchased Datsun 240 Z’s generally were people who could not afford a Porsche or a Jaguar. The Datsun 240Z’s delivered competent engineering and styling and better than average performance. Add to that a low price of about $3,500 and you had a winning combination.

restored 240 Z

Sharp styling of the 240 Z

The original body shell of the 240 Z continued on with the 260 Z and 280 Z models although with larger displacement engines. Many will say that the handling of the 240 Z’s was much better than with the later two models that had heavy and clumsy bumpers due to new safety regulations which added weight to the car. Because of this power steering was almost mandatory.

Auto writers of the period gave thumbs up to the new Datsun 240 Z and this never hurts sales. The Datsun 240 Z was Japan’s answer to the British Jaguar.

Nissan Buys Old 1970′s Z Models

Nissan did a very unique thing. In 1996 they went out and bought as many straight and clean Datsun 240 Z models they could round up. Four California restorers did ground up restorations on the cars. Each 240Z  was examined, stripped and reconditioned, then dipped and painted in colors as close to original hues as possible. Engines were sent to Texas, and transmissions to North Carolina for rebuilding. Finally the cars were sent on a 200 mile test drive to make certain they ran like new. Odometers of the cars, by law, were not reset.

There were some 200 cars involved in this project and Nissan chose ten dealerships that were called “Z Stores” that would retail the automobiles. The cars were restored to such an original new condition that Nissan gave buyers a 12 month / 12,000 mile warranty which was the same as the one given to the car when originally new. The first refurbished 240 Z came out on May 3rd, 1996.

1971 Datsun 240 Z Specifications

The 1971 Datsun 240 Z came out with a solidly built 146 cubic inch overhead cam in-line six engine. The Zero to 60 MPH time was rated at eight seconds flat. The engine put out 151 horsepower.

1971 datsun 240 z photos

View of the rear on the 71 Datsun 240 Z

Transmission was a five speed manual.

Brakes were front disc and rear drum.

Suspension was four wheel independent. McPherson struts were up front and Chapman struts were in the rear.

The Datsun 240 Z had a wheelbase of 90.7 inches and an overall length of 161.3 inches. The width was 64.0 inches and the height 50.5 inches. The car’s curb weight came in at 2,335 lbs. More technical data can be found at carfolio.com

1971 Datsun 240 Z total production was 33,684 vehicles.

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There are some excellent reference material available on the Z Cars. They include...Datsun Z Cars by the Consumer Guide Editors…..Essential Datsun Z 240 Z to 280 Z by author Colin Shipway…..How to Restore Your Datsun Z Car by author Wick Humble.

240 z interior photo

Dashboard on the 71 240 Z

Datsun 240 Z Collector Cars

The Z Cars have a great following among collectors. The first Z car, the Datsun 240 Z appears to be the most sought after. Much of this is due to the better handling of the first models by virtue of being without the heavy bumpers.

The 240 Z offers a combinations of good mileage, rugged engineering and better than average performance. On top of this the design still looks great and parts required for restoration or repair are relatively easy to locate. When purchasing a 240 Z  you may want to check for rust since these cars are rust prone. Your search for a 240 Z may also include modified models with poor add-ons which most likely will not add to value and may take away from it. Another thing you’ll find in your search is that there were no convertible models produced.

Looking at asking prices for totally restored Datsun 240 Z’s , as of this writing we’re seeing prices in the mid teens and also in the mid $20,000 range. Another example is a pristine condition show ready model with a price tag approaching $40,000. The 240 Z’s are the collector’s first choice and the price will reflect degree of restoration and how show ready the automobile might be. Many of the finely restored 240 Z’s are put on auction.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)


A Restored 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

Rolls Royce, the company that started out as Rolls-Royce Limited in 1906, came out with the Silver Cloud in 1955.

rolls royce silver cloud I

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

The Silver Cloud was a beautiful automobile and it was very popular among luxury car buyers. Featured in this article is the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I. Silver Cloud bridged between the pre-war Rolls-Royce and the modern Silver Shadow.

The Silver Cloud model replaced the Silver Dawn which was the car that brought Rolls Royce post war prosperity.

The Silver Cloud I was something very different for Rolls Royce. Instead of building chassis and send them off to custom coach builders, the Silver Cloud was entirely built in the Rolls Royce factory and with a complete factory built body. The Silver Cloud was produced from 1955 to 1966 and during that time was the main model for Rolls Royce.

1956 rolls royce silver cloud

56 Silver Cloud

The Silver Cloud Design

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was beautifully proportioned. The body was mounted onto completely new closed box section frame.

Rolls-Royce’s chief designer John Polwhele Blatchley did a wonderful job with the automobile’s design. The body was designed so meticulously and balanced that the cars’ great  size wasn’t really noticed when first viewed. A lot of people may never have heard of John Polwhele Blatchley however most have seen his work. Blatchley was assigned as Rolls-Royce’s first ever stylist.

Blatchley who retired from Rolls Royce at the age of 55 in 1969 passed away in 2008 at age 95.

An interesting side note was that the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I design came out pretty fast.  Blatchley was asked to quickly sketch of a more traditional design than the one he had been working on for several years. He did and the board at Rolls Royce approved it fast and these automobiles were scheduled for production. Note that these were also automobiles that were to have factory bodies that were to have the same craftsmanship and elegance as those from coach builders. As mentioned above, this was a big departure for Rolls Royce.

1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Specifications

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud engine was 4.9 Liter Inline Six. This engine can be traced all the way back to the Silver Ghost model decades earlier.  Horsepower was estimated to be 155. A British publication had rated the Silver Cloud I with a top speed of 102.0 MPH. Zero to 60 was rated at 13.5 seconds.

Standard transmission was a General Motors four speed automatic.

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drum.

silver cloud I dashboard

Dashboard on the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I

The dimensions for the Silver Cloud I included an overall length of 17 ft, 8 inches, a width of 75.0 inches, and a wheelbase of 121.0 inches. There was a long wheelbase model that came out in September 1957 at 145.0 inches. The Silver Cloud I’s curb weight was 4,990 lbs.

A total of 2,238 Silver Cloud I’s were built from 1955 to 1959. Out of these there were 121 that were coach built. There was no mechanical difference between the Rolls-Royce and Bentley versions of the car. Only the badges, radiator and bonnet were different.

New car price for the 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I was about $13,500.

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1956 silver cloud one

Rear view of the Silver Cloud I

The 1956 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I Collector Car

All Rolls Royce models from the 1950′s are highly popular luxury collector cars. Regarding the Silver Cloud I’s, those that were independently coach built are rare and one’s that are in top condition today can garner six figures at auction. An extremely Rare Freestone and Webb 1956 Silver Cloud I as of this writing had an asking price of $165,000. A rare 1957 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud I Mulliner 4 door Sedan with right hand drive had an asking price of $79,900. This model is one of reportedly four produced with suicide doors. Another is a 1957 Silver Cloud with left hand drive and a/c for $39,500.

What you should always look for when shopping for this kind of automobile are complete records and a detailed ownership trail. Repairs on these cars are rarely inexpensive so an  inspection by a qualified Rolls Royce mechanic is recommended.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

The Durable and Powerful 1964 Mercury Comet

A bit of automotive history tells us that the Mercury Comet was supposed to be an entry level compact  Edsel. After the Edsel’s non stellar performance, the Comet was reassigned to the Mercury line. From the very first the Comet was a success with sales of more than 100,000 vehicles it’s first year. Second year sales were 185,000.

1964 mercury comet

1964 Mercury Comet

Mercury essentially had two types of automobiles for the 1964 model year. These were the full size Monterey, Montclair and Park Lanes and the compact Comet, although the 64 Comet was a bit larger than the generic compact. The Comet started to approach intermediate in size.

The Mercury Comet went through a few concept changes since it’s inception in 1960. During that year the Mercury Comet came as either a sedan or station wagon. The Comet was a relative of the Ford Falcon. Both automobiles were designed at the same time. As car collectors are aware, the Ford Falcon chassis went on to become the underpinnings of the Ford Mustang. Because of it’s relationship with the Falcon, the Comet was more compact than intermediate.

1964 comet

64 Comet

Changes to the 1964 Mercury Comet

At first the Mercury Comet was marketed as a compact and economical automobile. For the 1964 model year, the Comet model was redesigned with a sporty style. Also offered were more  V-8 engine options. The 64 Mercury Comets had power. New models for 1964 were the series 202, 404, Caliente and Cyclone. The Cyclone was Comet’s performance model and replaced the previous S-22.

Body styles for 1964 included a two door coupe and convertible and a four door sedan and station wagon.

1964 mercury comet grille

64 Mercury Comet grille

Comet Gets a Boost from Competition Successes

The performance image for the Mercury Comet was aided greatly when a fleet of Comet Caliente hardtops averaged more than 105 mph for 100,000 miles in Daytona.

Customized drag racing Comet’s with 427 cubic inch big blocks were also catching a lot of attention. After results of the endurance run were advertised, sales of the new Comets began to grow dramatically.  Mercury also competed in the East African Safari to solidify it’s durability attributes.  The East African Safari was known as the most demanding rally with about 3,200 miles of the worst roads in the world. The Mercury Comet didn’t win this rally but it certainly proved that it could take some of the most brutal punishment any car would ever encounter anywhere. The durability of the Mercury Comet was a given.

1964 Mercury Comet Specifications

The Mercury Comet came out in 1964 with two Inline Six engines, a 170 and 200 cubic inch, and two V-8′s. These were a 260 and 289 cubic inch design. Horsepower on the sixes were 101 and 120 respectively and for the eights, 164 and 210.

Transmission choices were a three speed automatic or a four speed manual.

Brakes were four wheel self adjusting.

Front suspension was made up of an independent ball joint and coil springs. Rear suspension were longitudinal leaf springs.

1964 mercury comet tail lights

Comet tail lights

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Dimensions included a wheelbase of 114.0 inches and an overall length of 195.1 inches. The car had a width of 71.4 inches and a height of 55.3 inches.

Mercury produced a total of 231,000 vehicles for the 1964 model year. Out of that number there were a total of 188,000 Comets built.

The Comets VIN should be found on the inside of the left fender.

Mercury Comet as Collector Cars

The Mercury Comet has a lot of history attached to it notably coming out at a time when the American automakers started to compete with compact cars. It’s also notable that the vehicle at first was intended to be a compact Edsel.

mercury comet dashboard

64 Comet dashboard

Auction and asking prices for first and second generation Comets vary of course by model and condition, mileage plus degree of restoration. In the case of the 1964 Mercury Comet, the car represented the first of the second generation Comets and had a total redesign.

You may see an asking price range running from $7,000 to $30,000. The S-22′s have some of the higher asking prices as do finely restored convertibles. The Cyclone produced in 1964 took the place of the S-22. The Comet S-22, which had been added along with the Custom models in 1963, had six bullet shaped tail lights and the regular Comets four oval lights. The 1964 Comets had six round taillights as shown in the photo above.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Finely Restored 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon

What could be better than a finely restored 1936 Ford Woody Wagon? The 1936 Fords are considered among the most attractive of the era. In 1936 Ford Motor Company sold 7,044 Woodie Wagons. This is out of a total 1936 Ford Motor Company production of about 973,000 vehicles.

1936 ford woody

1936 Ford Woodie Wagon

Early Station Wagons

Starting out being named “depot hacks“, early station wagons were at first more commercial than private vehicles. They were especially popular with hotels, resorts and rural lodges. Station wagons would meet arriving guests at the train depot and transport them and their luggage to big city, lakeside, ocean, or mountain resorts as well as country clubs. This was a time when most people traveled distances by train. For those who could afford a station wagon during the early years, owners used these vehicles to transport family and friends to their lavish summer estates.

It’s interesting to note that the first station wagons were advertised along with the company’s commercial trucks. It would be to about World War Two before the station wagons were considered real non-commercial passenger vehicles.

1936 ford woody

Finely restored 36 Ford Woody Wagon

In the beginning, coach building companies such as Murray and Baker Raulang plus others took delivery of a complete chassis and added the wooden bodywork before returning it to the factory.

The very early station wagons were seasonal vehicles in as much as they didn’t even have glass to protect against the elements. Instead they had primitive side curtains. Glass windows really came about for these particular vehicles during the mid to late 1930′s. In regards to the wood on the bodies, the winter weather was quite hard. The first open woodies were really adapted more to southern California and Florida.

The first woodie wagons were really utility vehicles and creative design was not exactly forefront plus they were built in relatively small numbers. It would be many years later that the station wagon would be synonymous with transporting families and their children. After World War Two, the middle class found mass-produced woodie wagons perfect for family travels. These were the vehicles that eventually morphed into the SUV.

Ford Led the Way in Woodie Wagon Production

After coming out in 1929 with the first wood bodied station wagon built by one of the Big Three, Ford then became the predominant builder of wood-bodied wagons. As an example, it wasn’t until 1939 that Chevrolet came out with their first woodie. With that being said, construction of woodie vehicles was not a big profitable endeavor.

In their heyday, woodies were often the most expensive cars offered by a manufacturer. The Woody bodies have the rear body constructed of wood framework and infill wood panels. This type of construction is time consuming meaning that it’s expensive.

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A very good book regarding the Ford Woodies is…Famous Ford Woodies: America’s Favorite Station Wagons, 1929-51 by author Lorin Sorensen and

Their construction of these vehicles was very labor intensive and almost hand built to a point. There as a lot of craftsmanship that went into their construction. In Ford’s case, they actually bought a forest near Iron Mountain, Michigan for lumber used on their vehicles. In 1936 Ford opened its station wagon assembly line at its Iron Mountain mill.

36 ford woody grille

Closeup of 36 Ford Woody Wagon grille and headlights

The 1936 Ford Station Wagons

The 36 Ford Station Wagons kept with the same basic body adopted in 1935 however some changes were made during the production year. These included new safety glass  available in rear doors and quarter panels. The 1936 Fords also had a new front end resulting in the engine moving forward about eight inches.

The 1936 Fords are considered by many to be the better looking of the era. Much of this is restyling in 1936 was credited to Holden “Bob” Koto of the Briggs Manufacturing Company. It’s been said that around this time the Ford station wagons were beginning to be seen as passenger cars as opposed to merely commercial utility vehicles.

ford woody wagon interior

Interior view of this beautiful 36 Ford Woody Wagon

1936 Ford Woodie Wagon Specifications

The 1936 Ford Station Wagon came with a 221 cubic inch V-8 engine that delivered 85 horsepower.

Transmission was a three speed sliding gear manual.

Dimensions for the 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon included a 112.0 inch wheelbase,

The Ford Woody Wagon is a Great Collector Car

With a Ford Woody Wagon in your collection you’ll be the envy during your next trip to the beach, car cruise or car show. The 1936 Ford Woody Station Wagon is a rare automobile and it’s a guaranteed head turner.

ford woody fenders

Classic front fender and whitewall tire

The most valuable Ford Woody Wagon is the one that’s most original and a 1936 Woodie that’s nearly all original will not be inexpensive to add to a collection.

As of this writing we see a fully restored in mint condition inside and out 1936 Ford Woodie Wagon with an asking price of $79,000. Another sold at auction for $65,000. e also came across a 1937 Ford Wagon that sold at auction for a bit over $200,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Great Looking 1937 Ford Club Coupe

In 1937, Ford Motor offered car buyers both a 136 cubic inch V-8 and a 221 cubic inch flathead V-8. The 136 put out 60 horsepower and the 221 delivered 85 horsepower.

1937 ford club coupe

1937 Ford Club Coupe

As a side note, Ford Motor Company was the automaker who came out with the first low priced V-8 engine in 1932.

The first V-8 was introduced as far back as 1907 by the Hewitt Motor Company, but Ford’s 1932 engine was meant for the masses. The new car price for Hewitt’s 1907 V-8 Touring car was about $4,500.


1937 Mechanical and Design Changes

Other changes for the 1937 model year were that all Ford’s had Vee shaped windshields. All Ford passenger cars including most of the light truck line shared a 112.0 inch wheelbase. Engines in 1937 had redesigned block, head and crankshaft.

All 1937 Ford passenger cars had all steel bodies.

As far as design, the standout  aspect of the 1937 Ford was Edsel Ford and Bob Gregorie’s decision to place the headlamps into the front fenders. This changed the basic design and made this commonplace after the war.
1937 ford club coupe interior

Dashboard on the 37 Ford Club Coupe

The automobile featured in this article is a finely restored 1937 Ford Club Coupe. Ford produced 16,900 of these models and they are American classics. The cars are considered rare today. Total Ford passenger car production for 1937 was 921,000 vehicles. The rarest Ford from that production year would likely be the Ford Roadster Convertible with only 1,250 vehicles built.

In 1937 Ford offered Standard and Deluxe models. All Ford Club Coupes were Deluxe models. The car’s base price new in 1937 was just above $700.

The Club Coupe

A bit of an explanation of what is a Coupe and what is a Club Coupe is found below.

The very first “coupe” was not even an automobile. It was a French horse carriage. The word “coupe” is from the French language word “coupe” and translates to “cut“. In automobile terms the word coupe means a car that is any two door that is smaller than a sedan. If the car line does not include a sedan model then the two door model is a coupe and cannot be a two door sedan. Club Coupes are also known to be sportier than the normal coupe with it’s less overall weight and less weight on top.

The “Club Coupe” can be described as a two-door with two rows of seating and a trunk, smaller than a sedan in the same lineup, generally having a fixed B-pillar, and a rear seat farther forward than in a comparable sedan. This model can also be referred to as a “Close-Coupled Coupe.

The 1938 Fords looked pretty much the same as the 37 models. The 38 Deluxe models had a heart shaped grille whereas the other models used the 37 grille. A recession took place in 1938 which hurt Ford sales and it may have been made a bit worse since the 38′s were essentially 37′s.

1937 Ford Club Coupe Specifications

As mentioned above, Ford offered two sizes of V-8′s in 1937. The 136 cubic inch V-8 and a 221 cubic inch flathead V-8. The 136 put out 60 horsepower and the 221 delivered 85 horsepower.

37 ford coupe grille

View of the grille and recessed head lights on the 37 Ford Coupe

Transmission was a three speed manual shifted from the floor.

The 37 Ford still had mechanical brakes when a lot of other automakers offered hydraulic. The brakes were operated with cables instead of rods like they had been through 1936. Henry Ford gained a reputation as being very slow in adopting new technology. During this period and leading up to World War Two, technology at Ford wad adopted primarily from the urging of Edsel Ford.

The car’s wheelbase was 112.0 inches. Curb weight was 2,616 lbs.

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ford club coupe

Rear view of the 1937 Ford Club Coupe

1937 Ford Club Coupe Collector Car

Many Ford V-8′s of the 1930′s have bee modified to street rods. A bit more with the 1932 to 1936 models as opposed to the 37′s. With that being said, original Ford Club Coupes from 1937 are rare finds. All restored Fords from the 1932 to 1937 period are highly collectible.

Meticulously restored highly original examples have firm price tags. As of this writing, we see a 1937 Ford Two-Door Sedan with an asking price of $45,000. A 1937 Ford Coupe at $47,000. A 1937 Ford Convertible at $35,000. A 37 Ford Club Coupe at $45,000. A 1937 Ford Cabriolet Convertible at $73,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)