For years there have been special edition American pace cars and replicas seen crossing the block at Mecum and other auctions. However, what we have here is not a sales pitch for why you should invest in some frumpy mid 90s Oldsmobile but rather a 1972 Datsun 240Z pace car limited edition promotional model. This car is based off the car that was used at Ontario Motor Speedway in Ontario, California during the opening races at the track in 1972. This is one of the, if not THE first Japanese pace car used at an American race track. There were only 50 of these cars given to local California Datsun dealers for promotional purposes.
At $25,000, it is a fair price given its rarity. On top of that this car is currently the only one accounted for. Although not confirmed at the moment, it is currently believed that each car produced numbered individually 1 through 50 on the door, the actual pace car being numbered “0.” For this model, Datsun featured the signature BRE racing stripes, a front lip spoiler and a set of 4 spoke Libra wheels, which also graced the championship BRE team’s competition cars of the era.
After being sold from Gillian Datsun in Inglewood, California, this car was put into service as a daily driver. Apparently, having a 1 of 50 Datsun pace car for a daily driver is tiresome so at some point in the early 80s it was painted in Regency Red from a Jaguar. It was later parked in a garage until 2007 and sold to the current owner who was a friend of the original owner.
The current owner then performed a minor body restoration in 2007, which removed the red paint the previous owner covered the original livery with. The restoration can be seen here. It is a very good body restoration but my only gripe about it the fact that he chose to restore it with the number off of the actual pace car, even though this car is believed to originally worn the number “1.” The restoration does not appear to have touched the interior or have been too overzealous (note the ding on the nose above the license plate), which actually makes this car more desirable to some since it’s not a museum piece and is usable.
Limited edition pace car replicas are often made in production numbers generally in the low thousands and in average condition sell for around or slightly over the price of a pristine standard model. To those that follow the pricing trends of 240s, at $25,000 it is very surprising given that a regular chassis in this condition has been known to go for around that price in some markets. Comparatively, the 1990 Chevrolet Beretta Indy 500 pace car sold for $22,000 and that is a significantly less, if at all sought after chassis. So this is certainly worth the the money and will be very profitable in the future.
Classic pace cars are generally a good investment, and any car made in this small of numbers small numbers is always a good collector car. If you are interested in picking up this ultra rare S30, you can contact the owner via this craigslist link.