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Low Mile Survivor: 1978 Datsun 280Z

1978 Datsun 280Z

Up for sale is a wonderful 1978 Datsun 280Z that is located in Woodbury, New Jersey. These cars are becoming increasingly popular and that is very evident by the 69 bids that have been placed for this car. What is even more surprising is that all those bids only amount to $9,100. If there was a reserve, it has been met. The mileage is said to be 15,000 in the description but the item details say something different. There is no VIN listed but the title is said to be clean. You can find it here on eBay.

1978 Datsun 280Z

A strong straight six-cylinder engine is connected to a claimed manual transmission. More on that later. The seller is redundant in their description, calling the car clean a number of times and highlighting the incredibly low mileage twice. They also say the car has been garage kept since the time of purchase. It might not be the original owner selling it though because one would have hoped or wished they had provided significantly more information about the car. Thankfully they do provide a number of photos to give visual clues and help us draw conclusions.

1978 Datsun 280Z

The inside is absolutely stunning. However, what it does show though, is that this car is not a manual transmission car. It is clearly an automatic. At this point, the doubts about what and why this car is being sold are becoming more questionable. The seller would have been better off putting nothing in the description. The only out of place piece of the interior seems to, what might be, the original floor mat. It has one of the carpet stripes coming undone, but that should be a simple fix.

1978 Datsun 280Z

After writing and looking at some of the photos, it is possible that this car was brought in on trade. What do you think? Who would be someone who would trade this in? No matter what, this Z is an incredible car at an amazing price. If you are hunting down a car like this, you should put this one at the top of the list.


  1. Dave

    Oh those bumpers.. smh.. 115k seems more accurate

    Like 3
    • Jack

      Funny, on Ebay they list 104000 on the car, but reference the 15,000 in the description

      Like 3
      • Patrick

        Apparently it’s rolled over. Question remains – how many times ? Ha. My 2004 F-150 truck has about 315,000 miles. Apparently it’s meant for multiple rollovers (past 100,000) on the odometer, because there are enough digits in the odometer to show the 3.

        Like 1
    • Solosolo UK ken tilly Member

      Was there absolutely no other way of designing and fitting 5 mph crash type bumpers than what America cars ended up with? I have seen some beautiful US cars on this site ruined by these horrible bumpers.

      Like 2
      • Patrick

        The mid-70s bumper requirement was tough on many designs from an aesthetic viewpoint. Some just did not lend themselves well. The Corvette, Firbeird and Camaro did, though the prior model each would not have adapted well at all.
        Many cars were not designed with the more significant bumpers in mind, but were not ready for a re-design when the bumpers came into use.
        The first generation Z — picture the Original 240Z — had styling best appreciated without bumpers at all. Many owners removed them. But it looked OK with the dainty original bumpers.
        Personally — and perhaps because there were so many other vehicles which looked far worse — I recall seeing that the 280Z looked OK with its bumpers. The car — bigger engine, recall, and with “bullet” mirrors on both sides by then standard — looked good “bulked up” especially if an owner got a nice fender flare done and fitted larger wheels and tires. They’d call it a “wide body” now.
        The offensive part of the 280Z 2+2’s styling was that awful roofline and profile. The last Z 2+2 before The Break in production lent itself much more nicely to accommodating the rear seat. In fact, the two-eater actually looked stubby, in comparison. Not as flowing.
        Wel…Thanks for the soapbox. I’m stepping down now.

        Like 1
  2. Doone

    It’s a used car lot, what more needs to be said?

    Like 9
  3. Chas H

    It’s a 280Z 2+2 model with auto trans. Not worth much compared to an earlier 240Z stick. The photos were taken at a used car lot in warm weather, so not recently. Nope.

    Like 11
  4. 8banger dave Member

    I couldn’t agree more.

    Like 3
  5. BG in AK

    Typical car lot. Not paying attention to the actual car versus the advertising sheet they are filling out.
    Maybe it should have the disclaimer- “Actual car may vary”

    Like 2
  6. Patrick T DiPietro

    Not really a 280Z. It is a 280Z 2+2, as has been noted in another reply, with its own roofline and profile.

    Like 0
  7. chrlsful

    pull plates, park, list (last prt is the only effort Mr. United Auto Land – or his minion, put in). Welcome to Jersey, exit 15 (or any other of the exurban spots there to Cali).

    C if there’s a 5 speed/peddles, etc around, offer a price U could still make some $, or keep urself…

    Like 1
  8. Djjerme

    Third outta four listings today with “survivor” as the selling point..

    Literally a survivor..


    (Both words have become crutch words in recent years.)

    But to reiterate, something doesn’t smell right with the mileage claim.

    Like 2
  9. Patrick T DiPietro

    True. Very practical analysis

    Like 0
  10. Stilbo

    While the interior looks low mileage I tend to agree with the skepticism here regarding true miles. If the seller has trouble spelling ‘existent’ I tend to think that they aren’t too swift when it comes to analyzing vehicle conditions.
    That said, had a ‘78 in the body shop around 1983. The customer insisted on spending big bucks on a total refinishing of the exterior. We put it on a lift to have a look at what The subframes looked like after six years of NW Indiana winter salt exposure and advised the owner to sell it as it was showing signs of some deep corrosion. The owner still insisted on spending the money on refinishing it. It looked gorgeous when done.
    Unfortunately the engine dropped out of it somewhere north of Indianapolis on I65 at speed. The subframe just got tired of supporting the engine and suspension. The right front strut and wheel assembly tore off the fender for extra drama.
    This Z being in New Jersey should give pause to anyone thinking about buying it. The subframes tend to rot from the inside out and a quick look at everything wont always tell you what’s going on deep inside.

    Like 2
  11. Patrick

    With such a condition – and realizing the expense may exceed value – what can be done ? At what anticipated expense ?

    Like 0
  12. Ike Onick

    2+2= 0

    Like 1
  13. Bob McK

    Do you think it has a one or two in front of that mileage?

    Like 0
    • Patrick

      Shoot – mine starts with a THREE on a 2004 F-150 and it’s been on the road 25 fewer years ! ” I see a 1 ! Do we have a 2 ? Do we have a 2 ? A TWO from the bidder on the phone ! How about a 3 ? Do we have a 3 ?”

      Like 0
  14. Del

    Who cares about the mileage claims ?

    Thats irrelevant here.

    This is a nice clean unit and price not that high.

    Personal inspection and test drive needed.

    This is one car here today that might actually appreciate in price

    Like 1
  15. AMCFAN

    I dunno. The bumpers (the year) and auto trans hurt the car. The 240Z is out of sight in popularity but the newer the Z’s get not so hot in comparison. That being said this is still a nice clean car. I prefer to shift my own however would still be proud of it.

    Like 0
  16. Thomas Louis Conti

    2+2 and automatic? Pass.

    Like 0
  17. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    This The Z series cars unfortunately became poster children for the “Bigger is NOT always better” saying. There is no denying the downward trend of visual appeal from the 240 series into this. Just plain ugly, IMO, even without the garish bumpers, the body shape as a 2+2 was ungainly.

    Like 2
  18. Del

    What a bunch of whiners

    Like 2
  19. Patrick

    It is not whining to state the obvious. The 2+2 on that body was unattractive. It didn’t become good-looking until the car was redesigned. Fugly, it was. Just because a particular car still is around after many years does not make it any better looking. There still are Edsels out there, for an example. Aaaaaand, yup ! Still ugly.

    Like 2
  20. Scott Member

    I remember the 2+2 looking a lot worst. As for the auto trans, change it to a 5 speed and enjoy a nice car.

    Like 1
  21. Dallas

    2+2… nope

    Like 0
  22. Roy L

    These car are red hot right now, but not an automatic 2 plus 2.

    Like 0
  23. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    On their website, they are asking $12,995 and list the mileage at 18,559, which is the same as the stock number. They also mention 15,000 miles, so the only way to know what the odometer actually says is to see it yourself.

    There are a lot more pictures and it looks like they cherry picked the best ones for E-Bay. The driver’s seat looks pretty worn for 15K.

    Stil,l a nice buy if the price stays below 10K.

    Like 0
  24. bob

    interesting that everyone beats up the 280. i had one,new, and it was easily one of the best cars i ever owned. in town or on the highway, it was a great ride.

    Like 1
  25. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $9,000.

    Like 0
  26. Rex Rice

    I got a summer jib in ’73 selling Datsuns. Since the new 240s were held up at the port of entry because they failed emission testing, we used A ’70 Z as a demo, adding buyers to a waiting list. Problem: It was faster than the ’73s when they finally were delivered. Customers were not happy. Later, after leaving that job. I bought a ’72, one of the best cars of the 60+ cars I have owned.

    Like 1

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