One-Owner Survivor: 1977 Datsun 280Z

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As the final first-generation Datsun Z models, the 280Z is the least expensive route into owning this seminal sports car, but they are rising in value quickly these days. Like most sports cars, spotless and well-kept examples are hard to find, but this 1977 Datsun 280Z that Barn Finds reader Chris found here on eBay is a lovely unrestored specimen with a cool back story.

This Z is available in Los Angeles, California with a clean title. The car is a true one-owner, garage kept vehicle: the original owner purchased the car in 1977 from Pasadena Datsun after deliberating between the Z and a Volkswagen Rabbit. His girlfriend at the time suggested the “sporty car,” and the next year, they drove off in the Datsun after their wedding. And the best part? They are still married to this day!

There’s also tons of documentation for this Z, including every service record since the vehicle was new, the original window sticker, dealer paperwork, and even the receipt from Bank of America from when the vehicle was paid off.

The exterior received a paint respray in the original color during 2008, and except for a very small bubble on both rocker panels, the body is straight.

Meanwhile, the interior is similarly as clean as the exterior is. The original owner even had the foresight to cover the dashboard with a dash carpet, and remarkably, the dashboard material has absolutely no cracks. While there are a few flaws with the interior, such as a radio that gets power but does not function and an antenna motor that works but does not go up, the air conditioning system received a conversion to R134 and it blows very cold air.

Under the hood, there’s a 2.8-liter 6-cylinder engine, which pairs to a 5-speed manual transmission to drive the rear wheels. While you’d never be able to tell based on this car’s overall condition, the original drivetrain has 207,250 miles on it, but have no fear – it runs well, and the seller claims that this Datsun can be daily driven anywhere, just as the original owner did.

At the time of publication, bidding for this pristine Z is at $14,100 with no reserve. What do you think this one-owner time capsule will sell for?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. jokacz

    What is with those bumpers? I’m old and my memory may be faulty, but those can’t be factory, can they? Remind me of New York City bumpers. I wonder what happened to all the hubcaps Z’s came with, because no one ever kept them on the car, all got mags.

    Like 1
    • jokacz

      OMG they really did come with those ridiculous bumpers!

      Like 2
    • PETE W.

      Those are the factory bumpers on every US market 280 sold. The little chrome bars are optional overriders, but the big chrome things are the gov’t mandated 5mph jobbies.

      While heavy and ugly, they definitely protected the fragile bodywork from park-by-ear drivers.

      I swapped the bumpers on my 280 for the original blade style 240-260Z style bumpers.

      They look a million times better but are totally worthless as protection. You can bend them with your bare hands.

      Like 6
      • Bob

        Actually the 5 MPH bumpers started in 1974.5 on the 260Z. The earlier 260z Had 2.5 MPH bumpers that looked similar to the 240Z bumpers.

        Like 6
  2. Fern DaSilva

    74 1/2, 75 and 76 had the nicer looking bumpers.. 77 and 78 looked quite ugly!

    Like 1
  3. Ward William

    Note to self after buying: get rid of those God awful bumpers.

    Like 2
  4. Robert Thomas

    At least it’s a California car. These cars have a propensity to rust badly.

    Like 1
    • jokacz

      All Jap cars from that era were prone to rust. But not as bad as a Chevy Vega, they rusted on the showroom floor.

      Like 2
  5. Pat

    Im not sure it qualifies for a survivor if it’s been resprayed

    Like 2
  6. mike

    207,000 miles. Sorry, but this car is due for a complete rebuild. What’s it worth? IDK but by the time this is finished there will be $40,000 into it if done half right.

    Like 1
    • B.J.

      Mike, why in hell would anyone want to completely rebuild a perfectly good car that’s in great condition and drives really well?
      (If it ain’t broke don’t fix it)! Just doesn’t make any logical sense !

      Like 4
  7. Bob Mck

    Impressive, love it. I am surprised that after all these years, the owners will part with it.

    Like 1
  8. Robert May

    If you want me of these, this is the one to get. Hats off to the original owner for keeping the car up and passing it along to someone else.

    Like 1
  9. John

    The car appears to have next to no rust…a $40,000 restoration? I don’t think so. Interior looks mint. OK…maybe engine rebuild at some point at $3,000 and some driveline components…$5,000 and looks to me like you have a nice car. The owner obviously looked after it better than 98% of owners out there…rust is the biggest expense and looks like that is not really an issue here…that I can see…

    Like 0

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