#TBT: Datsun 240Z vs. Mazda RX-7 | Two cars that defined our scene

By Scott Lear
Feb 15, 2024 | Datsun, Mazda | Posted in Buyer's Guides , Product Reviews , Features | From the Dec. 2008 issue | Never miss an article

Photography by GRM Staff

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

Imagine an office packed full of employees who are hopelessly infatuated with cars. Magnify the horror by making it an office that produces a pair of sports car magazines, then throw in some Florida humidity. You’re visualizing the home of Grassroots Motorsports, and it’s no place for …

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Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/15/24 8:57 a.m.

Great match up!  So different yet so much the same!

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/15/24 9:26 a.m.

In reply to Noddaz :

Agreed–and I wouldn't mind having either in my garage.

wspohn UltraDork
2/15/24 11:37 a.m.

The 240Z is a styling icon as far as Japan goes - better to my eye than the early RX7s, or for that matter the Toyota Supras of any generation (the 90s version looked like a jellybean with a large handle attached) - quite disappointing from the company that made the Toyota 2000 GT, the only Japanese car that rivals the styling of the 240Z.

Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter)
Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/15/24 1:29 p.m.

I think my favorite part about early Z ownership is "everything bolts in".

L28 block from a 280z?  bolts right in.

Want to slap the E31 heads on that block?  Bolts right in...

5-speed from a later model?  Bolts right in...

I'm not a fan of the later Z models, but pre-'77 Nissan got it right.

Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
2/15/24 1:53 p.m.

In reply to Hungary Bill (Forum Supporter) :

I knew that but never thought of it that way.  

I parted out a POS '72 240Z fifteen years ago and saved parts to put on my dream Datsun 510 I never got......(5-speed, finned drums, rear end, struts maybe, carbs)

DavyZ New Reader
2/15/24 3:29 p.m.

Nice little article.  In high school, my brother and I liked the RX7's, but they were too expensive at the time. The Mariah body kits with those box flares were sure sexy, but the availability of the Datsun 510, 240Z, and even the Roadster (at the time) made us purchase Datsuns time and time again.  One of our friends had a '72 Mazda RX2 with an RX7 engine--it was surprisingly fast and could easily spin the wheels, but our fat-tired 510 could not.  A 240Z and 260Z came much later, but I would take either over an RX7. Yes, I am biased.

Funny, but I was in my garage today detailing some of the suspension pieces from my 240Z--they are easy to upgrade and modify; I have no complaints!  yes

carguyrory New Reader
2/15/24 5:41 p.m.

Great Article. 

The RX-7 was the first (and 2nd) car I bought after college (85 GSL-SE soon after traded for an 88 Turbo II). It was the first (and 2nd) race car I ever bought (an ITA 85 GSL followed later by an ITS 88 GXL that I wish I'd never sold).  

I also discovered a few years after High School that one of my classmates (who incidentally drove an RX-7, duh) was the daughter of famous(?) Mazda Racer John Finger. 

So, I guess my love of the car is no surprise!!


RX Reven'
RX Reven' GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/15/24 10:12 p.m.

First, great article, thank you so much GRM!

As a big time rotor fan boi I still put the two on a par. 

VolvoHeretic GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/15/24 11:39 p.m.

Cool article, takes me back to the Disco 70s. So, the Z car needs a rear sway bar? And both cars need better wheels with tires? What's the widest 17" wheels and tires you can squeeze into those wheel wells without slapping on box flares? Those two cars along with the Supra and cheaper 911 and 944 Porches where my nemesis. Along with the occasional Vette. smiley

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