Stored Since 1990: 1983 Datsun 280ZX

When it comes to 1980s sports cars, few are as instantly recognizable as the S130-chassis Datsun 280ZX. This is a car that has the same sort of instant recognition capabilities as the Porsche 911, but it is far more attainable for the average collector. The 280ZX shown here is one of the better ones we’ve seen of late, apparently benefitting from many years of indoor storage and carefully used before it went into hibernation in 1990. The seller reports it has been reconditioned following its release from captivity and is now listed here on eBay with under 70,000 miles and bids of over $10,000 with no reserve.

The California blue plates tell the tale well as far as how long this Datsun has been off the roads. I’d love to know the story behind that vanity license plate, as this model represented a certain level of status when it was new. I’m also digging this slate gray paint which is a color we don’t often see in this era of the Z-car. Speaking of, the paint appears to be in excellent condition as does the glass and polished trim. Other details confirm this 280ZX has been stored indoors, such as how the taillight lenses aren’t faded, the black plastic trim on the bumpers is still lustrous, and the polished wheels aren’t all pitted.

The other indication that the Z has emerged from storage as a well-preserved specimen is an interior. The dash isn’t cracked like so many other 280ZXs from this era, and the trim isn’t all faded to heck and back. The rubber gear shift surround hasn’t disintegrated into a broken pile of accordion rubber and the gray leather seats are in very good condition. Oftentimes, when you come across a long-stored car like this, there’s some let down: it was put away in rough condition; the garage roof had a leak; the interior got musty and moldy; and so on. This Datsun has all of the benefits of being off the road for a few decades with seemingly none of the pitfalls.

It helps, of course, that the seller did some reconditioning and added 500 shake-down miles to confirm that the 280ZX had any bugs from prolonged inactivity worked out. He doesn’t elaborate as to how it was freshened up mechanically but hopefully, it entailed the basic assortment of belts, hoses, and fresh fluids. The engine bay is a mess of vacuum lines but that’s how it came from the factory. The seller is correct in stating “…they’re only original once,” and he makes the opportunity to buy this car extra compelling when mentioning its current location in California’s wine country. Pop off the t-tops and cruise the backroads before shipping it home or driving the rest of the way: which option would you choose?


  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    After driving many,many 240Zs,a co-worker loaned me
    a 280ZX.I hated it! – felt like I was driving a Cadillac.
    I think that the 280Z was the last of the “real” Zs.

    Like 7
    • Robert

      Man, I don’t know how you could have come up with that evaluation having only driven one. I had one and the braking and handling were excellent. I guess it’s a case of “whatever floats your boat. Personally, I prefer a 280 over the cramped 240 and 260s

      Like 11
    • Barzini

      While working for Bob Sharp Datsun in the early 1980s, I got to drive all the Z and ZX models. The ZX was superior to any Z model in terms of handling, comfort and safety. It was a fun ride.

      Like 8
      • RL

        Wow how cool is that working at and doing anything for Bob Sharp. We took a 75 280 in on trade and I snapped it right up but I was already a Bob Sharp racing fan. We’d load up and drive to Road Atlanta to watch Paul Newman drive the #33 red white & blue Z cars over the years, and you are correct the ZX cars were very nice as well.

    • Emel

      A Cadillac. haha
      I don’t think you ever drove a Cadillac from the same era…my son.
      I did & you for sure didn’t, based on that comment.
      And I owned both Caddies and a 1979 ZX.

      Like 1
      • angliagt angliagt Member

        I DID drive my Dad’s ’64 Coupe de Ville.

  2. Ken

    I had an 83 280zx 2+2 and loved it

  3. Stan

    Beautiful Z car.

    Like 9
  4. Big Bear 🇺🇸

    I was at a car show a while back .. there was a beautiful 1970 240Z in blue nice clean engine. It had dual webers and headers very fast ride. Next to it was a 280 ZX Turbo . Don’t know what year it was. The hood was open and it was stock. But the plumbing was a nightmare. All those vacuum lines going different directions. Could not see the exhaust or anything normal. To me that was very sad. It was a beautiful gold and black Z. But .. I take the 1970 Z any day!!🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      They went from lean machine sports cars to boulevard cruisers. Too bad. The original premise should have been followed and probably would have if not for the crash and emissions stuff.

      Like 3
      • Robert

        If I wanted a MG , I would have bought a MG. Those would thrill you with the front ends and braking.

  5. Tim

    Had a 240Z for years that I loved. I’ve had a 370 for a couple years+ now that is fast and fun. Never much cared for the 280ZX. This one looks pretty nice, though, I have to admit. Love the color!

    Like 1
    • 370zpp 370zpp Member

      I missed out on the 240 but was lucky enough to drive my neighbor’s new 260. Tight. Responsive. Beautiful.
      Before my 370 I had a 350 that I beat the absolute crap out of. The 370 will be my last as I can barely get in and out of it at this point. But it is a keeper.

      Like 1
  6. Melton Mooney

    I see the turbo hood, but don’t see a turbo.

    Like 4
    • msheiner Maxwell Sheiner

      Louvered vents on the hood appeared on all cars even normally aspirated. I own an 81 turbo and the only visual differences are a turbo badging on the car.

  7. MoragaPulsar

    Humm. Why not have it smog checked and open up all the possible California bidders? Minor cost, big potential. Trouble passing test? Or seller not aware (seems unreasonable). Why not disclose? And no VIN listed. Seller has a bad eBay review as a 914 ‘buyer’. Seems like a few flags to me. Otherwise – I really like this car, don’t get me wrong.

    (if the buyer is in California, the seller is responsible for providing a smog certificate, which is necessary for registration in California).

    Like 1
    • Greg B Greg B Member

      I actually sent an message to the seller while it was live on eBay. He replied he went to a Warriors game and would follow up with the pictures that Ai had asked for. He did not follow through and before the auction ended I had asked for a picture of the title. He asked for my cell number to send it and never did.

      Based on his eBay feedback, and lack of follow up, I was weary to commit. He did say that the car had belonged to his mother.

  8. Fostek, Gabriel

    The 1983 Datsun color was Jade Gray Metallic. Mine is a 1983 2+2 non-Turbo, Automatic over drive, T-Top, Digital Instrumentation with female voice reminder and all power options. The engine is tough and dependable. Engine was same for turbo and non-turbo. Mine came with a turbo bracket mounted on the engine from factory but was a non-turbocharged model. 128 on a flat run with no strain. Good handling for size and weight of vehicle. Engine continues running strong with no smoke no oil burning or leaks. Engine, transmission, suspension never any problems. Maintenace included oil and filter every 3,000. Original factory parts always used. Could not afford 84 corvettes. Checked out Datsun soon to be Nissan dealer and this little 83 280ZX 2+2 was there.

    • Robert

      You can’t kill one those engines ……

  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I’m not sure if this generation of Z was any more susceptible to it, but man, these things rusted out in no time up here in the salty snow belt.

  10. Emel

    That is hardly any mileage at all for that great straight 6 engine. Bought one with 90K on it, put another 100K on it….and never had any engine problems
    with it at all. Other than adjusting the lifters, which was quite easy.
    That was probably Datsun’s best engine.

    This was the last year before these cars turned into overweight, mostly
    automatic tranny…300ZX’s. To appeal to more women.

    If I could get in & out of this car I’d buy it. But it sits too low to the ground
    for these well used knees & joints.

    This car appears to be in unbelievable condition, as the rubber parts of the bumpers generally show lots of wear. Not with this one.

  11. Tim

    To each their own. For me, visually, the elongated roof on the 2+2’s ruined the lines of the car, both on Z’s and ZX’s. The ZX marked the beginning of turning it from a sports car into a grand tourer. Paul Newman did pretty well racing them, although those were a long way from stock. I’m at an age now where I like having a more comfortable cruiser (hence the 370), with a/c and cruise control that I never had on my 240. Makes road trips a lot less punishing.

    • Emel

      Yea but not all ZX’s were 2 + 2’s. Like mine.
      There was minimal difference between a 1978 Z and a 1979 ZX that wasn’t a 2 + 2.

      Now there was substantial difference between a 1983 ZX regardless of model and a 1984 300 ZX. And none of it was good imo.

  12. msheiner Maxwell Sheiner

    Sold for a steal at $11,700.00 So much awesome car for so little!

    Like 1

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