If you’ve read our review of the Datsun 240Z – and click this way if you haven’t caught up with it – you’ll appreciate we’re fully paid up members of the 240Z fanclub. Launched around the same time as the Triumph TR6, it was a more modern approach to the sports car formula, and proved a smash hit in America as a result.
The driving force behind the 240Z project was Yutaka Katayama, Datsun’s envoy to the US who led the operation to conquer the land of opportunity. Katayama was hooked on British sports cars, a sensed an opportunity to create something between a British roadster and American muscle car. The result was the 240Z coupé.
Katayama has fans over at MZR, a British company that has been quietly getting on with subtly restoring and upgrading Datsuns and, specifically, 240Zs, since 2017. The company doesn’t attract as much attention as, say, Singer, which reworks Porsche 911s, or Eagle, which does a nice line in E-Types, but then in much the same way that the 240Z flew below the radar in the UK, so MZR remains content to the company that enjoys a stellar word-of-mouth reputation amongst those looking for a restomod that is out of the ordinary.
Explaining the roots of MZR, co-founder Rahail Tariq’s tells Henry Catchpole: “I imported a car from California, and I really wanted to do a ground-up restoration but with a few of my own ideas, and I couldn’t find anybody in the UK who could fit the bill.” In the end, he worked with Martin Ryland, and that relationship blossomed into MZR, which launched its first 240Z Roadsport in 2019.
Now comes the Roadsport Evolution. With a carbon fibre body and a larger, 3.2-litre straight-six engine, this is the first example of the company’s latest Roadsport Evolution model – the Caraba commission. It sounds glorious, with hints of BMW, Jaguar and even Ferrari in the soundtrack, and it has 275bhp which is sent to the rear wheels through a modern, six-speed manual gearbox. The whole car is light, too, weighing in at just 1079kg including fluids. And the price? Less than £250,000.
But listen to us prattling on… Enjoy Henry Catchpole’s latest film, and please do share your experiences of Datsun 240Zs, or opinions on MZR’s work, in the comments, below.
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