One of the traits that defined the original Datsun 240Z, and one of the things that made it so successful right from the outset, was its value proposition. Datsun had made its reputation selling affordable, reliable, value-oriented economy cars that tended to outperform their modest prices. The Z represented an ambitious step up into the performance car arena, but it was not a fundamental shift in the brand philosophy. The Z also emphasized solid value. It was launched with a sticker price of around $3500—roughly the same as a Triumph TR6, MGB GT, or even a Porsche 914 of the same vintage. But thanks to its light weight, excellent balance, and energetic inline-6 it performed as well or better than all of those, and offered substantially better reliability to boot. And, it was a stunner in the looks department— something Datsun was not necessarily known for. Maisto role in the diecast industry is a bit like Datsun’s was in the car world back in 1970. The company reliably delivers affordable, valueoriented scale models that often outperform their modest prices. To that they add an impressively diverse range of models both classic and modern. Traditionally most of Maisto’s offerings have been in factorystock configuration, but more recently they have expanded that to include custom-tuned versions of several of their castings under the ‘Maisto Design’ banner. Because I have a love affair with the Z that traces all the way back to the car’s debut I wanted to take a look at the two versions of the Z that Maisto has to offer and see how they measure up.
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