Hurricane Sandy Victim: 1988 Nissan 300ZX

Hurricane Sandy had a devastating effect on shoreline communities, and it also did a number on cars and trucks that were left in her path. The collector car community got whacked pretty significantly as well, as some owners didn’t have a chance to get their collector or hobby cars out in time. This 1988 Nissan 300ZX is a case-in-point of how a flood car can look to be in perfectly sound order but actually have numerous issues as a result of water intrusion. The seller claims the Z31 chassis Z car was never submerged, but did get wet. Find it here on craigslist on Long Island for $2,000.

Pictures aren’t great, but what we can see is a 300ZX that looks to be in shockingly good condition for having over 250,000 miles on the clock. The paintwork presents well, almost to the point of making a respray seem very likely. The Nissan doesn’t appear to be one of the numerous special edition models or one featuring turbocharging, but it is equipped with T-tops. The mileage indicates to me that this Nissan was likely prized by an owner prior to Hurricane Sandy, as cars with this sort of mileage rarely look this good – but the interior is even more telling.

Here’s the photo that really gets me: Hurricane Sandy or not, this interior is in really nice shape for a car with 250K. It seems more likely that this was once a very nice car that was loved by its owner, enough that they bought it back from the insurance company in hopes of reviving it once they saw it didn’t sit in salt water up to its T-tops. The sad truth of any moisture damage is that it only take a little to wreck havoc on a car, so if this is the owner that it belonged to pre-Sandy, he likely attempted to address the issues caused by the flood damage and decided to throw in the towel and offer the Z as a solid parts car.

The listing does confirm that the seller is the original owner, who notes the 300ZX doesn’t run at present. No details are offered as to whether that no-start condition is due to the engine sucking in flood water or the vehicle’s electrical/wiring components getting wet. Either way, for an owner of a Z31 chassis Nissan, there’s a treasure trove of spare parts here, especially if the interior components didn’t get too wet. The seller makes it clear his asking price will consider best offers, so for an owner in need of a clean interior or rust-free body panels, buying this Sandy victim could make a lot of sense – especially for any price below $1K.


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  1. Will Fox

    Steer clear of THIS car~!! Unless you enjoy wiring shorts, musty moldy smells in the vents, internal engine damage from flooding no one can see, etc.

    Like 9
    • Spudoo

      That may be a bit harsh. Compared to many of the other rotted out, burned, left abandoned outdoors, partially buried, and covered in underbrush and/or moss specimens often featured here, I’m sure that this Nissan would be entirely useful for “rebuilding or parts” (as the ad says). “Know what you’re getting into” may be a better choice of words than “Steer clear of THIS car!!” Unless you know more about this specific car than the rest of us do. :-)

      Like 32
  2. Dave

    That storm was 9 years ago, and they’re only selling it now?
    Knowing the propensity for Japanese steel to rust in dew points over 30, this car should be a pile of rust if it had any exposure at all to ocean water.
    Something isn’t right with this story…

    Like 2
  3. Redwagon

    “…..buying this Sandy victim could make a lot of sense – especially for any price below $1K.”

    Ouch. That hurts and it’s not even my car.

    Like 8
  4. Walter

    The water line left after flood water receded or car was removed really tell a story.Equally as important surrounds truthful info from the owner on time in water, was it running, was it promptly cleaned afterwards etc… Such candid info can really set the stage for determining if you want it and for what price. If the owner is not forthcoming with such info, probably $1000 time unfortunately.

    Like 2
  5. Howie Mueler

    Posted 5 days ago, parts car only.

  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Seller advertises that it has a clean title even though he also states that it was bought back from the insurance company.

    Maybe a mistake, or could that actually happen?

    Like 1
    • TCOPPS TCOPPS Member

      Seller’s post does not say anything about being bought back from ins. company. I assume seller did not have full coverage on it (with ~250K on the odo I probably wouldn’t either), thus the clear title.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        You’re right.
        I read Jeff’s theory that it was bought back from the insurance company and thought that it was actually what happened.

        Like 1
  7. Mitchell Ross Member

    Owning a car transport business in NYC, i worked for Copart And IAA bringing cars to the auctions and to the airport they rented to house Sandy cars. Lots of cars were wasted while others started and ran perfectly. There were so many cars at the auctions that anything but highly desirable cars were selling for scrap value. The insurance company might have offered $500 to the guy to keep his car as it saved them $200 in transport to auction, auction fees and the likelyhood that they would only get $200 for it anyway. Many cars had water just up to the rocker panels and were salvaged. One of the drivers I know bought a 5 year old Chevy Duramax Dually with 60,000 miles on it for $2000. The water only reached the bottom of the engine but the starter was frozen as were the brakes. He replaced the starter, sanded the brakes and pulled a 3 car trailer for 10 years and 600,000 miles

    Like 3
  8. t-bone BOB

    Located in West Babylon, NY

    Like 1

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