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Turbocharged 5-Speed: 1986 Nissan 300ZX

Certain cars are available in large quantities, even decades after their introduction. Obviously, this has a chilling effect on value, so you must be careful when buying such a vehicle. The Z31-chassis Nissan 300ZX is one such example, and you can find this Japanese sports car still appearing in local salvage yards along with online classifieds sites. That doesn’t make it a bad car, but you definitely want to buy one with the right equipment – and this 1986 model listed here on eBay has all of the boxes checked. Bidding sits at just over $10,000 with no reserve.

If you’re looking into one of the most iconic 1980s sports cars ever made, there are a few options to consider: the Shiro Special is the most sought-after car I’ve wanted to add to my small collection for some time. Loaded up with Recaro seats, a limited-slip, unique front air dam, and color-keyed body panels and wheels, it was the most limited-production 300ZX offered at the time and still turns heads today. The 50th Anniversary editions were the next in line, equipped with a turbocharger, body kit, and leather seats. Outside of that, finding a standard model loaded up with those options is the way to go, and that’s what we have here.

Equipped with leather seats, a 5-speed manual, a turbocharged inline-six, and numerous other options, this is one of the more well-equipped Z3s I’ve seen that wasn’t a Shiro Special or 50th Anniversary model. The mileage is just under 32,000, and the interior condition certainly reflects that. The dash isn’t cracked, the carpets are clean, and the seats show surprisingly few creases. Other options include full power, adjustable suspension, and the ridiculous factory head unit with an equalizer featuring enough adjustments to rival a home stereo system.

Oh, and let’s not forget the digital gauge cluster – this is the last must-have if you’re in the market for a 300ZX. The seller notes that this is a one-owner vehicle, and the Autocheck report indicates it has been in New York State the whole time. While you’d love to see it registered in a place like South Carolina, one can assume the low mileage means it was a seasonal driver. While I don’t expect this Z car to clear $15,000, who knows? There’s an entire era of enthusiasts rapidly buying up cars that they grew up wanting, so anything is possible – and this 300ZX looks somewhat unrepeatable.


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    I really never gave these a second look but after all these years looking at this one I think it’s really good looking. The V6 turbo with a 5-speed is the way to go. With the low miles I wouldn’t be surprised to see this hit the 15K mark.

    Like 6
  2. Avatar photo BK

    I thought these were good looking cars for their time, but when I was behind one, I was always bothered by how the rear end would squat down on every gear change. The next gen 300’s were much nicer IMO

    Like 1
  3. Avatar photo jwzg

    “Equipped with leather seats, a 5-speed manual, a turbocharged inline-six….”

    Negative, Ghostrider. That’s a VG series V6 under the hood.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo RANDAL H ROBINSON

      I drove a fully loaded Z car to my prom in 1984 and the squat of the car is still talked about amongst my friends who got to see that squad as I showed em the taillights while pulling away from them ! Beautiful black car with gold accents and the voice prompts !

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo FireAxeGXP

    I had a 50th Anniversary edition in the 90s when I lived in Florida. Bought it from original owner who garaged it daily as I did. It was loaded up and was a blast to drive with the T Tops out. Even in the daily 4pm heavy Florida rains the tops never leaked. At 60K I had the timing belt changed right after I bought it. When I sold it a few years later it had 118 on the clock and I was very clear to the buyer that the timing belt had to be changed in 2000 miles.
    He didn’t bother and 4 months later called trying to get a refund saying I sold him a lemon. Belt broke on I-4 at 90 and totally grenaded the engine.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo jrswbskns Member

    Wow. What an amazing time-capsule. Not everyone’s cup of tea, sure, but my dream car back in the day. Only the ’86 models had this look – refreshed from the ’84/85 models, then in ’87 the nose and tail were completely different until the Z32 arrived. If I hadn’t bought my current tinker-with car last November, I would so want this. My only disagreement with Mr. Lavery’s write-up: personally I much prefer the analog gauges, but I wouldn’t turn away over the digital cluster. And that wonderful synthesized 80’s voice that told you “Fuel level is low,” “Door is ajar,” “Lights are on”…sure wish I still had my 84 5-speed (white over tan with the black tail & splash guards…so many great memories!).

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Greg

    The down fall of the Datsun brand!

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo Duane

    I bought the Turbo version but never heard of this special edition. It was the first new car I ever owned. Nissan got this model right in 1986 with the flaired rocker panels. Mine was red, T-roof, manual shift with analog gauges and cloth seats. The car was solid, extremely well constructed and low maintenance. I loved that car!

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    Well Greg, that’s quite the cryptic remark, including the exclamation point…

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo DN

    Perhaps the best digital dash of the decade! It was one of the main criteria when I bought my ‘85 last year. Had the same car in high school and always regretted that it had boring analog gauges. I’m definitely living that dream now 🙌🏽

    Like 0

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