Wholesale Auction Find: 1987 Nissan 300ZX

When an older car that worked its way through the wholesale dealer auction world shows up for sale on eBay, I’m always intrigued. This 1987 Nissan 300ZX bears the signs of a potentially decent project that ended up as a dealer trade before being auctioned off by Manheim, the world’s largest wholesale auto auction company. The Z-car also wears old-school California “sunset” license plates, another indication it was with a longtime owner before being swapped for a new Maxima. Find it here on eBay with an opening bid of $500 and no reserve.

You can tell this car got a fluff-and-buff before hitting the auction circuit, as the paint looks quite nice. The signs of age and use are still there, however, as some of those battle scars are harder to hide. The stuck headlight door, broken fog light, bent hood, and missing chrome strip at the top of the windshield are all signs that the Z car was on the downward slope of its time with an owner who likely simply grew tired of living with an older car and stopped making cosmetic repairs a few years ago.

The interior is another source of evidence as to how long this Nissan has been in service, with a thoroughly tatty interior that needs a new dash and reupholstered seats to start. The cabin is not destroyed, necessarily, but it is in need of a full refresh. The description is confusing, as the seller says you can drive it home and that the Nissan is free of issues, but the listing also mentions it needs servicing. I have no doubt it is suffering from years of deferred maintenance, but it’d be helpful to know what issues they’ve already spotted.

The engine bay is sorely neglected and doesn’t inspire me with much hope that the naturally-aspirated V6 has seen the inside of a dealer service bay anytime recently. I scour the Manheim auctions fairly often, and it’s always intriguing to see the older cars that slip in amongst the thousands of late-model trades dealers take in. While it is quite tired, there’s some hope that there’s a good car underneath all the years of engine filth and cosmetic wear and tear, and you can’t beat the no reserve auction with a cheap opening bid.


  1. Bakyrdhero

    This would make a great driver. I’d fix everything that’s broken, take care of the interior and drive the wheels off it! I love these cars.

    Like 2
  2. Howard A Member

    Good heavens, there’s an engine compartment full of headaches,,

    Like 2
  3. Audifan

    The condition report showed 1.3. That’s not very promising. It sold for 700.– plus auction fees.

    Like 1
  4. Karl

    A buddy of mine had the turbocharged version of this the would run to 130 mph and would not go 1 mph faster. The car was decent, seemed reliable was rather uninspiring from the performance side. What happened to the under hood area of THIS ONE? It looks really scary!!

  5. Miguel

    The original plates don’t show long term ownership as they stay with the car no matter how many owners the car has had, they are original to the car, however.

    Also the car does not look like it was well cared for and needs a whole lot of work.

    I am surprised it went for so much at the dealer auction.

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