One of the first cars to compete in our low-buck Challenge? This sub-$1500 Datsun 240Z

By Staff Writer
Jul 12, 2023 | $2000 Challenge, Datsun, Nissan, 240Z, Datsun 240Z, $1500 Challenge, Nissan 240Z

Photography Credit: Tony Geise

Entrant: John Bonetti

Total Budget: <$1500

Event Year: 1999

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 $9000. Concours examples, by the way, are closing in on $80,000.

Make your own low-buck memories at the Grassroots Motorsports $2000 Challenge Presented by Tire Rack, which returns April 6-7, 2024. Watch for details.

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