Live Auctions

Black Pearl Edition: 1978 Datsun 280Z

In addition to the early 240Z cars, the late 280Z is one of the other more collectible models – especially if its a limited production example like this Black Pearl edition. The car seen here is not a stock survivor, as it sports several modifications and some cosmetic flaws. However, it is a healthy, running and driving example that wouldn’t take too much heavy lifting to return back to stock condition. The seller feels confident that it is an almost turn-key car ready to embark on long-distance travels, and has listed it here on eBay with a firm price of $19,950.

The Black Pearl edition consistent of a unique paint job, side view mirrors, rear window louvers, and special accent stripes. While there have been some big-dollar sales for such cars in pristine, museum-quality condition, this is not such a vehicle. The seller is open about this, noting that his car has been repainted and the accent stripes are not original (although, he does mention having a set of the factory-correct graphics for sale separately.) The 280Z also sports an aftermarket rear wing, Enkei wheels, and side mirrors. The Datsun also clearly has an aftermarket set of bumpers, as the originals were the hideous U.S.-style safety bumpers.

The tweaks continue to the cabin, with a later three-spoke steering wheel, a custom center console with cupholders, aftermarket floormats, and what has to be a short shifter. The seller has also retrofitted power windows in place of the original manual crank jobs. The tweaks are likely not to phase anyone who isn’t a purist, but I have a feeling these changes will make the car a hard sell at its current asking price. Even with documentation showing it’s an authentic Black Pearl edition, so many details have been lost and alterations made that it will require a full restoration to return it to the condition that make will make Z car enthusiasts covet it once again.

To me, this is more desirable as a running, driving example of a short-lived model before the heavy and comfort-enhanced 280ZX was introduced. We recently covered that the 280Z is sort of a best-of-both-worlds version of Nissan’s iconic sports car, and clean examples are hard to find. Buy this one (for a lower price than listed here) and use it as a daily driver-friendly example (the listing mentions it having air conditioning, so hopefully it still works). Then, should you want to restore it back to the original Black Pearl configuration, strip it down and start new, and make sure you buy the original decal set from the seller. Sourcing original bumpers and wheels won’t be hard, and then you’ll once again have one of the more limited production Z cars ever made.


  1. Rich

    To be honest I like it as is. I’d leave it alone and just drive it.

    Like 12
  2. TIm Markus

    Lose the wing. Otherwise, nice.

    Like 16
    • roland schoenke

      I agree lose the ugly wing. The rest looks great.

      Like 2
  3. bobhess bobhess Member

    I’m with Rich.

    Like 6
    • TIm M

      I had a ’73 240z for a few years and had a lot of fun in that thing. Got speeding tickets in both TX AND NM on my honeymoon. I like that the 280z was fuel injected–the stock carbs on the later 240s and the 260s were problematic and hard to keep synchronized. I always thought the 280zx looked bloated but to each their own!


    I think it’s a tasteful restorod that hasn’t gone to far. Pw and ac is an upgrade and an improvement over stock.

    Like 1
  5. Evan Greenwald

    Just to be honest I owned a ‘76 280z and loved it, however it never got fully restored, I drove her into the ground. Literally, the wheels fell off…almost 200,000 mi…second best car I owned, first being the ‘77 B210…186,000 mi…

    Like 2
    • Jon

      I hear ya … had a ’94 240 SE Convertible … had 244k miles on it when I gave it to my daughter when she graduated Navy boot camp … she put another 100k+ miles on it until hydroplaning into a highway guard rail – she wasn’t hurt, car absorbing all damage … but that car never had a problem other than replacing the antennae riser – the plastic would get brittle over the years …

      Like 1
  6. Mr.Chas

    So how do you prove this is an original black pearl edition? Maine plates in Ozone Park and repainted. I bought my first car in Queens, a 1967 Mustang, and I found out later it had been underwater.

  7. Robert Thomas

    My aunt had a yellow 1976 280Z that she would have parted with for $5,000 back in 1985. I loved driving it and always regret not buying it.

    The ZX cars in my opinion strayed too far from the simply beautiful original Z cars. The 280Z was the last of that great original look.

    Like 4
  8. perry taylorI

    I owned a 1972 240Z that I waited on a dealers list exactly 9 months for. I handed out cigars when I finally took delivery. I had waited so long for it and had to take whatever color that came in. I don’t recall if the automatic trans was offered back then. Mine was the burnt-orange paint. It also was vandalized one transit with all the bushes poked out with a screwdriver!!! I put 35K miles on it the first year!!! Original price was $3443 and I sold it in 1974 for $3800 and have regretted it every since.

  9. Bill Smith

    I drove a hundred miles to buy one – the only one I could find- the 280zx was already on the floor. Got there and walked in with my check book in hand and there it was sitting on the show room floor, absolutely beautiful except the new car manager had an after market sunroof (pop up) installed where they could increase their profit. I am a very peaceful person but that was one time I really wanted to take somebody apart.

    Like 2
  10. David Miraglia

    Always wanted a Z car.

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