Nissan USA continues to embrace the Z’s heritage, with its new mini webisode series “StorieZ”. The inaugural episode tells the journey one special father-son Datsun 240Z project that has traveled from Southern California to Georgia to Tennessee and spanned four decades.
Jonathan Buhler’s Datsun 240Z began its story in 1978 in Ojai, California, when his father Edward encountered the Z on the side of the road with a “For Sale” sign. The old lady who was the original owner of the then-5-year-old Z told Edward that it was used to drive to the grocery store and back, fulfilling the classic creampuff prophecy.
Edward purchased the Z and subsequently brought it with him to Atlanta, Georgia when the family moved cross-country. He created many memories with it, as Jonathan remembers being taken to daycare in it, and learning how to change its oil in the driveway.
“I always wished I could drive my father’s Z, and I never thought my wish would come true,” said Buhler. Things would change when Jonathan turned 15 and got his driving permit. The Buhlers would turn their attention towards vintage Mustangs for a first car, but their search turned up fruitless.
The answer turned out to be right under their noses, collecting dust in the family garage for eight years. Edward passed down the keys to then 15 year old Jonathan and the Z sparked a father-and-son restoration.
Restoring the Z would be no easy task, as it had sat dormant for so long. The restoration was finally completed in 2008, and by that time Z had been stripped, its L24 refreshed, and the body painted in 350Z LeMans Sunset Orange.
Jonathan’s love for Nissan would not end there. He eventually landed a job working for Nissan North America at their Nashville, Tennessee headquarters, where he worked as a product planner and in communications. Jonathan has played an important part in the Z35’s rollout here in the US.
We came across Jonathan’s Z at Cars & Coffee Nashville during a Mr K tribute in 2015. Little did we know that its owner would play an instrumental role in ushering in the next Z-car. Seeing his Z’s journey, along with all of the passion put into it, gives us hope that the future of the Nissan Z is in good hands.