Great Moments in $2000 Challenge History: `72 Datsun 240Z

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jun 28, 2019 | $2000 Challenge, Datsun | Posted in Features | Never miss an article

With registration for our $2000 challenge presented by CRC Industries now open, we think it's a great time to highlight some previous entrants. 

If only we knew then what we know now–like what a clean, one-owner Datsun 240Z is worth these days. Back in 1999, John Bonetti bought and prepared one for our first-ever low-buck Challenge for less than $1500.

At first, though, he was building a Volkswagen for the event. “I really like Datsuns,” he told us, “so I sold the GTI to finance the $1500 project and bought a 510.” Before completing the 510 project, he found this white 1972 Datsun 240Z at an independent Nissan repair shop. He again jumped ship, and for $1250 he had a clean, one-owner 240Z complete with a vinyl top. The rest of his budget went to tune-up items, including a battery. He finished 12th in our 23-car field.

Fast-forward to today: According to Hagerty, a 1972 Datsun 240Z in fair condition is now worth nearly $8000. Concours examples, by the way, are closing in on $60,000. Nevermind the one `70 240Z that recently sold for $124,240.


Make your own low-buck memories as the Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge presented by CRC Industries returns October 25–26. Visit for details.


John Bonetti


< $1500



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View comments on the GRM forums
Danny Shields
Danny Shields GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/28/19 9:53 a.m.

For newer readers, in 1999 it was the $1500 Challenge, with enthusiastic readers challenging the staff entries. Everyone agreed it was a lot of fun, and a perfect example of Grassroots Motorsports, which led to the annual tradition of $2000 Challenge events over the last 20 years. Kind of like the first Indy 500 or the first Sebring, but on a different economic scale.

Those original "staff" project cars would be good subjects for more brief articles like this. Photos and results from the early years are always fun for anyone who was there, and anyone who knows someone who was there. 

spkorb New Reader
7/1/19 4:46 p.m.

After we raced all the cars in '99, we all went out and had pizza :)   Phil Kime (great all-around dude) brought a little brilliant red 260(?) in 1999 that also did well.

Knurled. GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/2/19 12:03 p.m.

It still blows my mind that somebody donated an apparently clean, running, driving, right hand drive '78 RX-7 to Goodwill.


And that it was 20 years ago.

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