AriZona Z: 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo 2+2

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When it comes to Datsun’s legendary Z sports car, the comfort-focused S130 chassis isn’t nearly as revered as its sportier, better handling predecessor, the S30. Though the styling of the original Z is more iconic, this handsome 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo is available here on eBay, sporting a handful of subtle and period correct modifications.

Located in Phoenix, Arizona, the second and current owner of this Datsun notes that the vehicle has spent its entire life within the state, which helped maintain the vehicle’s original paint and mostly rust free nature.

A very neat Kinsel Datsun badge on the back of the vehicle confirms this fact – the now defunct dealership was once located in Kingman, AZ.

Unfortunately, some surface rust is forming above the windshield on the vehicle, which is an area that can be tricky to repair. Anyone who is serious about purchasing this Z should address this immediately.

Pop the hood and you’ll find Datsun’s L28ET, which is a turbocharged variant of the company’s popular L series inline six-cylinder engine. Both the plug wires and a handful of hoses are new, and a Cusco strut bar is also present, providing this Z with extra stiffness. Somewhat disappointingly, the powerplant in this example mates to a 3-speed automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels.

However, the cabin of this sports car is the star of the show, with plenty of maroon on display. The seller notes that the driver seat needs reupholstering, though they are including new seat covers with the vehicle’s sale. Despite this, there are no pictures of the wear to the aforementioned seat.

A period correct aftermarket steering wheel is currently installed in this 280ZX, but the factory wheel is also included. The vehicle also has a T-top roof, but there are no details regarding its condition.

There is also a maroon dash carpet installed, and while it may be gaudy, it certainly has done its job – the dashboard appears to be crack free.

The polished wheels are a nice touch, with the seller claiming new tires are installed.

Bidding for this Turbo Z begins at $10,000. While this is an all-original and well-kept example, the mileage, automatic transmission, and rust formation around the windshield all make it slightly harder to justify the asking price. Despite that, these cars are constantly gaining popularity, with naturally aspirated models in similar condition commanding similar prices.  What do you think of this lightly modified Z?

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  1. Big_FunMember

    This is horrid. In today’s PC world I will refrain from remarks comparing this vehicle to anybody but myself. Here goes : at 16 years, I had a waistline of 30 inches (280Z). Now at 42 years, I have a waistline of 38 Inches (280Z 2+2). My mom still thinks I’m handsome. Enough said.

    Like 18
    • CanuckCarGuy

      In a world of three’s a crowd…the +2 is definitely not a welcome sight.

      Like 9

    Not just ugly…but giving me stale strawberry tree deodorizer flashback headaches.😫 I can just see the eventual buyer being some locked-in a-time-warp-dude…with a curly perm mini mullet…and a white polyester leisure suit.

    Like 6
  3. Gary Gross

    I look at this and wonder “Why??”. An automatic turbo is laughable for an eighties car. At least it isn’t a 1980 Porsche 011 auto with a leopard skin interior. Saw one of those taken on trade once when I worked at a dealership. It went straight to auction.

    Like 4
    • nessy

      An Automatic Turbo is “Laughable for an 80s car you said Gary? Well this Automatic Turbo was the fastest Automatic Transmission machine in the world in the early 1980s and one of the top 3 fastest cars in the world at the time. Go look it up before you make a false comment.

      Like 12
  4. Miguel

    Why is this referred to as an all original well kept example when you can see rust growing on the roof?

    A well kept example would not have rust growing anywhere, hence the well kept moniker.

    Like 5
    • David

      I think the “well kept” is relative. These cars rusted from the inside out due to the poorly processed recycled steel the Japanese were using then. I don’t think the rust is fairly attributed to care. I look at the overall condition of the car, which is pretty great, all things considered. That said, there’s no place in my garage for a 280 ZX, particularly a 2+2 with an automatic. A 240/260, well that would be different. First car was a 240 and it was a blast!

      Like 1
  5. ATL_Jeff

    The worst possible example of a Z in its almost 50 year history. Colors aren’t bad, engine isn’t bad, but the +2 stretch and auto trans are awful. $10K is about $7K too much. For $10-15K you can buy a decent mid 70s 260z or 280z, or a 90-96 Twin Turbo 300ZX, both of which look better and drive better than this beast.

    Like 5
  6. craZee

    I am a Z lover but for this to appear “handsome” to me I would have to be taking advantage of the new cannabis laws.

    Like 2
    • Steve

      Why did/do car companies tend to take great designs and gradually/abruptly f them up? Z cars, Mustang, Camaro, Charger/Cuda…It appears it is a job requirement of senior management at many of the makers.

      Like 3
    • Karl

      The good news is it’s also incredibly SLOW, I have no clue what boost levels they ran but I bet it was damned little, but it let them put that silly little sticker on the door! Waste of time.

      Like 1
      • GregS

        Have you owned or driven one? Back in the day they ran mid 15’s in the quarter, pretty good for the early 1980s. The 1980 L82 Corvette could only muster a 15.3 so it was in pretty good company. You can’t compare a 35+ year old car to modern performance expectations. BTW, please let us all know what classic vehicles are in your garage.

        Like 16
      • nessy

        Did you say this car is “SLOW” Karl? I guess most of you guys failed to do your homework. The Datsun 280ZX Turbo from 1981 to 1983 was just about the fastest car you could buy for those 3 years. In fact, in 1981, the 2 seater Turbo with the “Automatic Transmission” was the fastest Automatic machine money could buy anywhere! Only 2 cars in 1981 could match it, the 5 speed 928 and the 5 speed 911. It ate up every current at the time Ferrari, Corvette, Z28, Trans Am money could buy. It was untouchable and the automatic was faster than the 5 speed. As for this 2+2 Turbo featured, take off some of the tacky items stuck all over the car and this is a good looking Z. I would bet someone would pay a big price for those 2+2 side louvers. Where on Earth will you find those anymore? Everyone wanted to just be seen riding in a Z if not able to own one. We had one in the family new and it was the hottest car by far in our area. I still have it today. The Turbo Datsun Z is the car that started up the Horsepower Wars once again. Think about that.

        Like 13
  7. John B

    Any time that I see a 2+2 Z offered here I am reminded of a neighbor from my high school days who owned a 1974 260. A dark bronze color. He was divorced with a younger son. This man would trust me to go daytime cruising in his ultra clean(usually by me) automatic 260 with his son anytime that I wanted. I do recall one instance on the interstate briefly doing 105mph, and it seemed like 60. I loved that car for the unique feel it had. Not really fast, but I could tell it would do plenty more if I’d been really stupid! Lessons learned.

    Like 4

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