With some gentle force with a pry bar, I was finally able to get the transmission away from the block. A heavy dousing with Gunk engine degreaser and a trip to the local self-serve car wash, and the tranny was pretty clean.
Damaged pressure plate
The throwout bearing was in pretty good shape, but the clutch disk was to the rivets. No damage to the flywheel, but the pressure plate was trash. Had to borrow a pilot bushing removal tool from a local auto parts store and in 45 seconds the pilot bearing was out. New clutch, pressure plate, throw out bearing and pilot bushing.
New pressure plate / clutch
It took about an hour of aligning, pushing and shoving to get the tranny back onto the engine. I also added a stainless steel braided clutch hose.
I have just added a 1971 Datsun 240 Z to my project list. I finally have the time, space, tools, money and an understanding wife that allow me to have a hobby car. It appears to be in excellent condition - though not fully stock. I was able to drive it home. Closer inspection shows the body of the car to be solid, very little rust (in all the standard places), no accident damage. Dealer-installed air conditioning. L26 engine. 280Z hood. Appears to have been well cared-for and no significant modifications.
I joined a local Z-owners club (Group Z). The first meeting was already worth the $45 membership fee. Their passion for the Z family of cars is pretty intense. I spent an hour with one member looking over photos of the engine, underside, interior, and he gave me outstanding guidance on how to best enjoy this car.
New clutch, pressure plate, throwout bearing (badly needed)
Drilled, slotted front disk rotors (stock calipers OK) and new pads
Stainless Steel braided brake lines
Complete flush of brake and clutch hydraulic fluid
Replace all the old rubber bushings with new urethane bushings
Replace the stock exhaust system (6 to 1 header with 2.5" matching exhaust system)
New wheels and tires
Drive the car, enjoy it, let the car tell me what it needs next.