It's rare to be in the presence of a legend. Most of the time, we only recognize its importance after the fact, after it's long gone, when we can only talk about it and wish we would've been there to grasp it personally. Thankfully, in the automotive world, being close to a legend is easy to realize, simply by having the right amount of money, luck, and time. Take, for example, legendary cars like the Toyota Corolla AE86 and the Datsun 510. These two cars are often restored and retrospectively appreciated years after they rolled out of the production line. One such car that should be added to this short list is the Datsun 240Z, an old-school favorite that started the entire Z craze.
The Datsun 240Z, available from the 1970 through the 1978 model year, was offered in a three-door hatchback body style and better known in Japan as the Fairlady Z. Yutaka Katayama, better known as Mr. K and the Father of the Z, was the idealist who brought the 240Z to the U.S. in 1970, when it immediately attracted the masses with its front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, 2.4L SOHC inline six-cylinder engine, and of course, the stylish "240" badge placed on the B-pillar quarter panel. It was a hit with the American public, making it difficult to find at local dealerships, especially with its relatively cheap price tag. It was marked to sell for $3,526, while its direct competitors like the Corvette and Volvo 1800E were priced at $5,000 and $4,500 respectively. Its successors include the 280Z, 300ZX and most recently, the 350Z.
Its rich history as the foundation of an entire culture is what attracted Shaw Takahashi to purchase this 1972 Nissan 240Z. "I love these classic cars," Shaw explained. "I don't like the way they build Japanese cars today. They don't build them with heart like they used to back then." Shaw would know the automotive climate back in '72 and maybe beyond firsthand because he's probably older than your father and perhaps even older than your grandfather. At 58 years old, Shaw is what the gangstas call "O.G." or veterano, which means he was in the game from the start. He worked as a mechanical engineer for NGK spark plugs before starting his own company in Torrance, CA. As a young adult in Japan, he rally raced professionally, long before the advent of drifting. Despite all of his experience, he lives his life with the heart and mindset of a young tuner. All he wants to do is fix up vintage cars and race them on the streets and tracks.