1978 Datsun 280Z 2+2: Worth Saving?

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Nissan used to called their cars Datsuns in America and when the first Z car was introduced, we dubbed it a 24 ounce Datsun. This 280Z has sat for 12 years. Is it time to bring it back to life? Is $2500 cheap enough to make it worthwhile? It’s said to be rust free, but I see a fender that doesn’t match and is that fender liner missing? Could this be a badly repaired Z? Was the damage to the doors part of the same accident? It’s shown stored inside, but the piles of leaves might indicate it was stored outside for a while. These 2+2 cars sell for much less than the coups, but perhaps someone would like to take their family along. It’s said to start and move under it’s own power. If the non op fees haven’t been paid, this could be a rather expensive car if it stays in California. It’s listed here on craigslist and is located in Sacramento.



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  1. jim s

    it is listed as being a automatic. after the great CL listing yesterday we are back to one where the seller needs to work harder on their listing.

  2. Mark E

    Somehow I remember hearing long ago that rust was bad with the 2+2s as the stress in the longer frame made them want to break in half. Of course that would have to be with cancerous, MN type rust. Oh well the car’s over 1,000 miles too far anyway…

  3. don

    I had a 280zx 2+2, and HATED IT! what a POS it was. got rid of it within six months.

  4. Rick

    What does the phrase, “non-op fees” mean? Do you have to pay some fee to the state even if it’s not registered with plates?


    • Steve

      In California, you have to pay for registration every year whether the car is driven or not. If you register the car as “non-op” (non-operational), there are no registration fees. However the car can not ever be put on the road until it is fully registered. If you do not “non-op” the car with DMV and don’t pay the yearly registration, the new owner will have to pay for all of the years of registration that were not paid, to essentially catch up. If the car has not been registered for more than seven years, it falls out of the system completely and there will be no “non-op” fees to pay. The car will have to be registered essentially as a new car, and will require a VIN Verification done to show it is not stolen or VIN switched.

  5. Peter

    There’s definite trouble-spots for corrosion in these cars–go to a popular Z-car site, and you’ll find a lot of info, and learn where to STICK THE ICEPICK/swing the hammer.

    As for the “longer frame” being an issue, I suppose so, but “frame” is a misnomer, as I believe these were UNIBODY cars.

    Not trying to pick nits , here, either–just making sure I’M not mistaken and we, as a group/resource, don’t lead each other astray…..


    Given the HUGE following these cars have here, and (as the “Fairlady”) in Japan, I found your comment vague at best (no offense):

    Specifically, you say:

    “I had a 280zx 2+2, and HATED IT! what a POS it was. got rid of it within six months.”

    Other than the (to me, FAR less attractive roof/body lines of the 2+2–which is why I would never buy one, for market value), what was it you “HATED” about it?

    Why, SPECIFICALLY, in YOUR OPINION, was it a “POS”?

    Otherwise, those are just adjectives, that leave the rest of us wondering about the specific problems/objections you had with it.

    Thanks much.


  6. sir mike

    NO…let it rust away….not one of Datsun’s better ideas.

  7. Dolphin Member

    I agree these were not Datsun/Nissan’s best, who tried to go upmarket with the 280Z and the 2+2 models. These became very soft rides, with soft springs and shocks, and the FI that replaced the early Hitachi carbs was for emissions and mileage, not performance.

    These were a more or less cheap alternative to the sporty M-Bs, but without one of the sporty M-B’s big attractions—a convertible top.

  8. Wayne

    had a 280 20 odd years ago, enjoyed the time we spent together , a little tweaking she went and handled well , they where prone to rust in the formers/stiffeners underneath, often regret selling it,but offered way too much to knock back, also owner a 260c some years previous, same motor as a 1974 260 z but only single carb. Nissan had also been Datsun here in Australia until the early 70’s , the 260c had a datsun badge on the left side of the bootlid [trunk] and a nissan badge on the right, transitional period perhaps. 280 z the injection could be problematic, primarily injection was very rare here at the time and was more a black magic type of deal lol

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