When the Datsun Fairlady Z—called the 240Z in the United States—exploded onto the market in 1969, it played a major role in changing attitudes about Japanese cars internationally. Even with the Z's success on the road, Nissan USA boss Yutaka Katayama knew that his Fairlady was destined for even greater things, so he pushed for its introduction into motorsport. Perhaps the ultimate embodiment of the classic’s racing spirit was the Z432R model, of which one is headed to auction and expected to fetch a massive sum—as much as $764,000 according to an official estimate.
The 240Z was an immediate hit with private racing teams in the U.S. on the track, but where it really shined was on the treacherous rally stages of Kenya and Tanzania, taking its best podiums at the East African Safari Rally. In order to achieve these wins, Datsun needed to make its Z car more potent, so the company dropped in the 158 horsepower, S20 inline-six rom the original Nissan Skyline GT-R. It fit like a glove and the Fairlady Z432 was born, named so for its four valves per cylinder, three carburetors, and two camshafts. As per homologation rules, roughly 420 road-going Z432s were built, and some examples have surpassed $250,000, according to Hagerty.
The actual competition Z432 was much more hardcore and is even more valuable on the market. Called the Z432R, it was a Fairlady on a celebrity diet. The body panels and windows were thinner, the black hood was made from fiberglass reinforced plastic, and amenities like the radio and heater were removed entirely, in the end shedding 220 pounds total from the already-lightweight sports car. Its only real addition besides a fixed bucket seat and some miscellaneous engine tweaks was a 26-gallon fuel tank, perfect for endurance races.
This 1970 Nissan Fairlady Z432R listed by BH Auction is expected to go for at least $672,000 if not the even-larger $764,000 figure at the site's Tokyo Terrada sale next January. The seller notes that this example is the real McCoy and not just a tribute car, bearing the chassis number PS30-00289.
It appears to be in mint condition, from its tasteful orange paint to its unbelievably clean engine bay. The interior, with its aforementioned bucket seats, tall shifter, and classic three-spoke stereo wheel, looks as it did when it was first built some 49 years ago. Thanks to the state it’s in as well as the overall exclusivity it brings with it, this duckbilled two-door coupe checks all the boxes for collectors.
As one of roughly 30-50 Z432R's in existence, this car is first in line for the title of Z Car Holy Grail. Whether or not it will go for nearly three-quarters of a million dollars is yet to be seen, but as we’ve talked about in articles past, all it takes is the right buyer when it comes to the perfect Z.