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Preserved Special Edition: 1979 Datsun 280ZX

Near as I can figure, this is a “Black & Gold” edition of the celebrated Datsun / Nissan 280ZX. There were numerous special editions floating around in the 1980s for Nissan’s halo car, but the Black & Gold moniker seems to be the one that lines up best with this well-preserved example’s color combo. The seller notes that this Datsun is holding up reasonably well for its age, with 125,000 miles and listed here on craigslist for $6,500. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chris Clark for the find.

The 280ZX sadly is equipped with an automatic transmission. This isn’t entirely surprising, as Datsun’s sports car gradually morphed into more of a grand cruiser, similar to the Porsche 928, so an automatic transmission was not uncommon. The cloth buckets are holding up well, although the steering wheel cover should have been removed for photos. The seller notes the headliner is starting to droop but its cosmetic flaws are otherwise minimal.

The Black and Gold edition cars seemingly came with tan interiors, a gold pinstripe, and wheel centers painted – you guessed it, gold. The overall look is quite handsome, and slightly less jarring than other special editions that featured two-tone paint. The seller notes the taillights are not currently functional, and there’s a small spot of rust on the driver’s door. I thought the Black and Gold special editions came with a T-T-Top roof, but this example sports a solid panel above the driver’s head.

Acceleration will be sufficient but leisurely with the automatic transmission. The seller notes that the only work needed under the hood recently is a mysterious “head repair.” This sounds ominous, but the seller doesn’t elaborate. Was it cracked? Did it need a head gasket? So many questions. The engine bay itself looks relatively undisturbed, which is to say slightly tatty. The seller is adamant he will not take any less than the asking price, which will certainly help limit his inquires.


  1. Matthew Member

    Me and a friend recently picked up a go kart made from one of these, we are in search of a cheap running l28 engine. it looks like it came from mad max.. the whole thing is pretty cool.

    Like 1
  2. Rx7turboII

    Very nice car! The T-top option didn’t come out until mid 1980 and the head work needed is most likely the rear exhaust stud broke off which they all did but other than that looks like a pretty damn clean car! Me likey👍👍👍

    Like 2
  3. Steve A

    Personally, I liked the older one’s more. That larger rear side window just kinda ruined it. IMO

    Like 0
  4. KW

    I owned a black/gold ZX, it might as well have been an automatic. The ZX was not kind to the Z heritage, they were slow, uncomfortable, unreliable and managed to make the Z look like everything else in the ’80s.

    Like 0
  5. ATL_jeff

    My uncle had one of these and it’s what made me fall in love with cars when I was 5 or 6. The earlier ZX cars like this one were OK. They didn’t really get bloated until the 80’s. For $6500, it’s not a steal but in this condition it’s not unreasonable either. The color combo is great, the interior held up well, and almost no rust. Wish it was a stick, but you can do that swap without too much pain. Someone will buy it. I’ll stick with my Z32 though.

    Like 0
  6. J Paul Member

    This brings back memories, as my stepfather had this exact car — except his had the t-tops and was the 2+2 version. It was actually the first car I was allowed to drive solo after I got my license in 1991, so this has triggered some welcome nostalgia.

    Sadly, by the time I got behind the wheel, his 280 was kind of a rusty mess. It was sold soon after. It’s nice (and rare) to see one in such good condition so many years latter.

    Like 0
  7. Howard A Member

    I had a friend with a car like this, only may have been the 2+2. On a long N.Wisconsin road, things got interesting when he shifted into 5th at 100. If a deer would have jumped out in front of us, we’d have cut it in half. Was a cool car, for a half a dozen years, until the doors fell off.

    Like 1
  8. bob carroll

    had a Z just like this[different interior] automatic. probably the “funnest car” i ever owned.drove between new orleans and houston a lot, late at night.different color gauges lit up the interior. when you got into it, it dropped down a couple of inches and just flew.
    but like everybody, had kids, and you know the rest of the story.

    Like 0

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