Is There A Better One? 1977 Datsun 280Z

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It’s not often we find a survivor car looking this nice, even one as late as 1977. No repaints, no rechroming, just careful care from 1977 on (albeit with a storage period in between). This fine survivor is currently found in Shawnee, Kansas and is up for sale here on eBay, where bidding is starting at $100 but of course there’s a reserve.

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We’ve had a couple of Z-car finds lately, including this interestingly attired one, but I don’t remember seeing one this nice in a long time. The seller tells us they purchased this car from the original owner’s family in 2010 and there were tears shed when it left. I’m betting there may well be tears shed again when it is sold this time.

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Just look at that gleaming original paint along those original sills. Wow. I can’t say I really like the side trim, but that’s being really picky! I think about how many rusty Z’s I’ve seen and this really stands out.

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The interior doesn’t let this car down either–and in case you are wondering, the seller includes pictures without that beautiful carpet in place showing original paint on shiny, rust-free floors. That is factory air conditioning controls you see and the air blows ice cold. The radio is the only departure from stock and it is a period aftermarket radio. The seller has done a great deal of work that is listed in the auction reconditioning items and cleaning the car to make it as nice as it is. Honestly, it’s hard to believe it’s got 88,801 miles; it looks like 8,800!

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I don’t know that I have ever seen a more sanitary engine compartment on a car this old. Given the details that the seller shares, the extraordinary cosmetic condition of the car and the detailed additional photos here, I can honestly say this is one of the few cars I would have zero hesitation about bidding on from a distance. What do you think? Have you seen a nicer 280Z recently?

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Comments

  1. rdc

    Very nice looking car. Any of us that carefully maintain an older car inside and out can see this looks like it was well cared for from day one. One negative. It almost looks overly clean. However, it might just be he had an expensive professional detail.
    That said, I would still not be interested as I have never been attracted to any of the Z cars.

  2. Rich Truesdell

    I have to agree with Jamie’s assessment, this is a special car.

    Here in Southern California we are seeing really well-preserved and restored early Z-Cars coming out of the woodwork. And because it’s Southern California, rust is not always the issue that it is in other parts of the country.

    At the recent Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance I encountered a restored 1972 Datsun 240Z (I prefer the earliest 240Zs with their simpler lines and smaller bumpers) where the owner, who imports and exports Z parts, restored his so that it included rare options that were available all over the world but not in the US. I’m attaching a photo here.

    I’m already seeing some really exceptional 240Zs appearing at high-end auctions and it wouldn’t surprise me if there more than one at the upcoming auctions in Monterey. Whatever this one sells for, it will likely cost 25% more at this time next year. In fact I’m a bit surprised that the sellers aren’t taking this one to auction rather than offering it on eBay? Is anyone else as surprised as I am?

    • rdc

      Good point, take it to auction.

    • Dolphin Member

      Rich, I am aware of an exceptional ’71 Z car that sold at auction for $52K last year. That’s the record holder as far as I know. Do you know of any higher auction sales, and which auctions they were?

      • Rich Truesdell

        I wonder what prompted the down arrows in yours and RDC’s comments? That I suggested that to maximize the return to the seller, that he should have consigned it with RM Sotheby’s, Gooding, Bonhams, or one of the other high-profile Monterey auctions in August?

        I will be curious to see what the final price is on this car, and did it meet the seller’s reserve. If it doesn’t sell, that means that the seller set the reserve too high. If it does sell, did the seller leave money on the table by not selling it at a high-profile auction in Monterey? Of course the selling costs (fees, transportation costs) have to factor in the final net proceeds to the seller.

        As a point of reference, here’s an equally stunning 240Z, a one-family owned, totally original car, including paint. I remember lusting after the original 240Z when I started driving in 1972 (I guess I’m aging myself) and remember what a bargain it was at just under $4000, or today, adjusted for inflation, about $23,000.

  3. Vegaman_Dan

    It’s far harder to maintain a vehicle in stock clean condition or even to restore one to stock than it is to customize and modify a vehicle. I have a lot of respect for vehicles like this.

  4. Elliott Member

    WOW! 116 excellent pictures, now that is the way to showcase a cars condition! This is a beautiful and obviously treasured car. GLWTS!! :-)

  5. GTOjeff

    There’s a black 240 sitting on the showroom of the local Nissan dealer. I don’t know much about it other than it looks brand new inside and out.

  6. Mr. TKD

    Yes!

  7. Dolphin Member

    Nice Z car. Someone really took care of it.

    That aluminum lower side trim is aftermarket, and gets mounted by drilling lots of small holes along the fender and door bottoms and rockers for sheet metal screws. I know, because the low VIN first-year Z car that I am restoring had these exact same trim strips, so my painter will have to weld up and smooth off about 22 little holes before he can paint the car—a royal PITA and extra cost.

    A lot of these things were added by dealers for extra profit as soon as the cars were received and before they had buyers, so the dealer could say take it with those dopey trim strips, or leave it. And Z cars were so hot and cheap back then that people usually took it. My first 240Z came with aftermarket side molding to ward off parking lot dents to the sides. At least it served a purpose. The trim strips on this car are purely cosmetic and just promote rust.

    • Barzini

      The former Bob Sharp Datsun dealership in CT had an aftermarket parts division that sold many of these kits by mail order. I was not a fan of the front air dams and rear spoilers but I always liked this trim kit because it looked like it could have been factory. (Sharp also had a storied racing team with Paul Newman.)

  8. Howard

    I remember in early 90s there was a California Nissan Dealer, with factory backing. that was buying gently used Z’s and refurbishing them and selling them thru select dealerships. One of the car magazines did a big feature on that. I wonder if some of the nice Z’s that are showing up at the auctions now could be any of those!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I think they did 30, and they were all 240’s. I’ve seen some change hands for a LOT of money. But I could be remembering wrong.

    • Dolphin Member

      Those cars are usually called the “factory refurbished” or “factory restored” cars, and although they were done up in California, and not Japan, they were sanctioned by Nissan. Nissan actually put out a nice brochure for them, which I own.

      They were ’70 or ’71 model year cars and were done right, with lots of new factory parts (which probably explains why there are almost no factory parts left that you can get for the early cars from Nissan) and maybe a few reproduction parts, like upholstery.

      IIRC they sold for about $25K back in the ’90s, which was a pretty hefty price way before the 240Z took off in value.

      Those cars might command a premium at auction but I have never heard of that being a factor in the sale of any particular car. It’s condition, correctness, and early vs. late production date that seems to determine sale price.

  9. Matt

    Great car but not sure about the color. First car I ever bought w my own money was a ’77 Z in red. Well maybe I should say pink ’cause that old paint sure did oxidize fast. Buff it out to a nice red and next season it was chalky pink again. And of course the low grade sheet metal was Japanese Swiss cheese after a few of those salty NE winters. But man was it fun on a curvy mountain road and that fuel injected engine was a jewel well ahead of it’s time. Instant start, any day any temp. At about 200k, I parked it in a barn for three years, all I had to do was charge the battery, twist the key and bam, it was running. An old buddy still owes me the $100 he said he’d pay me for it when my dad forced me to get it out of his garage pronto. Worst deal I ever made, still miss that car….

  10. Bob S

    I am pretty sure that engine plumbing is an Eastwoods rattle can simulated plating. Anyone else? The Rad cap might be what it looked like before.

  11. james burton

    late 80s and early 90s these 280s were a dime a doz. here in w. va. every nice z i seen the front frame rails were rotted out and the floors were all brokein about 4 pieces. back the aftermarket parts weren’t avalible and they got junke. my old boss had 4 or 5 of them. the 280s had a temp switch for the comp. under the therm. housing that would go bad and it woult make them run real rich and after a while it would kill the ring from all that raw gas plus wash out the bearings.

  12. Debbie Nolen

    This is my 1978 Datsun 280 Z, it has 20,899 actual miles, factory A/C, and an unusual automatic transmission. It had one owner for 26 years, I purchased it from a museum. It is 99% original, totally rust free, unrestored with one professional repaint several years ago. Silver blue metallic with black interior. I show it in the AACA and it received its highest award, a First Grand National in 2016.

    Like 1

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