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Datsun  240ZG

Tamiya 1/12 Datsun 240ZG Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review November 2017 Manufacturer Tamiya
Subject Datsun 240ZG Scale 1/12
Kit Number 12010 Primary Media Styrene, Vinyl
Pros Beautiful detail Cons See text
Skill Level Intermediate MSRP (USD) $183.00

First Look

Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG
Datsun  240ZG

In 1970, Nissan Motors introduced the model S30 two-door sports car as the Fairlady Z in the Japanese market and as the 240Z in the export market. The S30 was part of the Datsun brand and featured a 2.4 liter inline six-cylinder engine rated at about 150 horsepower coupled with a four-speed manual transmission or optional three-speed automatic transmission. The chassis had independent suspension on all four axles with McPherson struts up front and Chapman struts in the rear. The 240Z was available during the 1970-73 model years before transitioning to the problematic 260Z in 1974. In 1971, Nissan introduced the Fairlady 240ZG which featured a fiberglass nose extension, wheel well extensions, rear spoiler, and acrylic headlight covers. While the ZG was never exported, some of the components were made available as options through international dealerships.

When I graduated from high school in 1972, I really wanted a Z-car. While the 240Z was irreverently referred to as the 24 oz, it still looked like it was going fast while standing still. My parents were wise to give me a restored 1955 VW Beetle with a souped-up 1966 engine instead. By the time I joined the Air Force a year later, the Z-car was well out of my league as my available funds were going to pay for flying time and training to build on my pilot's license. Years later, I had the opportunity to drive a 240Z for the first time and while it was as fun as I'd expected, I was surprised that the car lacked power steering.

Tamiya is well-known for producing beautiful model kits, especially in their large-scale offerings. Their 1/12 scale cars remain an outstanding choice for engineering and detail, and this kit is no exception. This kit was first released in 1973 as a follow-on to their 240Z Safari Car released the year before. As with other cars in the 1/12th scale series, this kit offers some great details and options. Among the features and options in this release:

  • Detailed chassis
  • Detailed front disc brakes
  • Articulating suspension
  • Working steering system
  • Detailed engine and transmission
  • Right-hand drive
  • Detailed instrument panel
  • Nice interior details
  • Hood is hinged to open and close
  • Rear hatch is hinged to open and close
  • Left and right doors are hinged to open and close

Observations:

  • While some sources have indicated that you can build the 240Z out of this kit, there are no parts for the non-extended nose, so you'll have to do some surgery to the nose parts to convert the model to a stock export 240Z.
  • As mentioned above, the kit is designed for right-hand drive, but with a little work on the dashboard, chassis and front-end, you can 'flip' the model over to left-hand drive.
  • One thing that you'll note when you open the kit for the first time, the kit is well-packaged and the body shell, chassis, and interior insert are taped together. When you pull out the interior insert out of the shell, you may be surprised to find it is black vinyl (rubber). The instructions indicate this part isn't the interior shell (there isn't one), rather it is a 'leather-touch floor mat'. If you look closer at the parts, the seat, center console, etc., glue through holes in the floor mat to the chassis. Interesting engineering here.

As a footnote, I purchased one of these kits many years ago but lost it (and a bunch of other kits) in a basement flood. When I found this one on that famous auction site at a great price, I decided to get one with the same good intentions that I'll build it one of these days.

Whether you want to convert this into a stock 240Z, stock 240ZG, or a resto-mod of your own configuration, this kit is still beautiful at over 40 years old and still in production. At 1/12 scale, it is a larger model with lots of details but not really large and complex (like Pocher car kits). You'll find bargain prices on this kit if you shop around, but please note that as of today, Tamiya USA lists this kit with an MSRP of $183 USD, so anything higher than this is someone wanting you to believe it is a collector's item.