The collector-car scene has been evolving for years now, with Gen X and millennial buyers' childhood hero cars more frequently bringing larger and larger sale prices as muscle cars and '60s classics trend downward, but this may be one of the loudest "OK, Boomer" moments to date in the vintage vehicle world. A completely stock, 21,000-mile 1971 Datsun 240Z has just sold for $310,000 on Bring a Trailer.
It's true that it would have been largely baby boomers buying the Z when it was new back in 1971, but it's the Gen X and Millennial crowd that gets credit for turning Japanese classics into the hot new thing, according to classic-car market analysts. The folks at Hagerty even classify the 1971 Datsun 240Z as part of its "Affordable Classic" price index. If this week's $310,000 sale isn't a total outlier, collector-car wonks may have to rethink their categories.
The car itself, whatever it's actually worth, is gorgeous. The racing green over tan color combo is elegant and classic, and the paint, interior, and, by all appearances, the oily shouty bits are all in immaculate condition for a 49-year-old survivor. This example was built in May of 1970, so it's just a few months shy of its 50th lap around the sun.
Under that long, sleek hood lies a 2.4-liter (hence the 240 in the name) inline six-cylinder rated for 150 horsepower at 5,600 rpm and 146 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm when it was new. Recent maintenance done on the engine includes carburetor adjustments, a new fuel filter, re-gapped spark plugs, and an oil change. The distributor has been ditched for electronic ignition. A four-speed manual gearbox sends the power aft, while front discs and rear drums handle stopping duties.
Back in 1971, the 240Z's base price was $3,526, per the car's window sticker, and this one rang up at $3,757 ($25,500 in today's dollars) with delivery and various fees tacked on. That means this week's sale price represents an 82X (8,200 percent) growth in its dollar-for-dollar value since it was originally sold, or 12X with inflation factored in. Incredible.