If you read my column this month on the other side of the magazine, you’ll see I take a little, personal look back at the strange treatment that the Datsun 240Z has received over the past 30 years in the classic car and historic racing world. Considered a virtual pariah in the ’80s and ’90s, the car that some saw as the harbinger of doom has now metamorphosed into the darling of the classic car world. Values for the 240Z are on a steep climb and wonderful examples (with and without period race history) can now be seen at historic racing events all across the country. So what changed? Did an automotive Henry Higgins swoop in and transform the Pygmalion-like 240Z from untouchable wreck to belle of the ball? No, just time and perspective—like the irresistible force of moving water—these eventually eroded away the many biases and barriers put in place that kept the 240Z, and most Japanese cars from the 1970s, out of the “classic” fold.
In many respects, the crux of the matter has always been the “moving time frame,” which is to say that if we classify a vehicle as being “classic” when it is 20 years or older, then with every year, there should become a new class of vehicles that become classic. Or put another way, the time frame of eligibility should advance forward as time progresses. While some racing clubs have held steadfast to fixed time periods (VSCCA, for instance, only allows vehicles manufactured before 1965), many clubs have adopted the moving time frame approach, embracing a number of production and purpose-built racing cars that would have been anathema, just 10 years ago.
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.