Wednesday, December 10, 2014

15k: Museum Quality: 1979 Datsun 280ZX S130

Sports cars built in the late 70s can be polarizing for the classic car crowd.  Some folks will lament lackluster powerplants, rubber bumper styling, and safety related bloat -- others are nostalgic for the good times of their formative years.  Some enjoy malaise era cars specifically because they are unloved by the masses and affordable, but what do you do with a low mile original condition 70s classic that demands a premium price?  Is paying a premium for a maligned car akin to splattering paint on a canvas and calling it art?  One could argue that abstract art is not art or that malaise era collector cars are not collectible...but somebody is willing to pony up cash in either case.  People pay princely sums of money for poor condition Porsche 912s these days, so I guess you would be wise to buy a perfect condition 70s barge before they are out of reach.  When did the automotive hobby become like collecting Beanie Babies, stamps, or baseball cars...or has it always been this way?  Find this 1979 Datsun 280 ZX offered here on craigslist for $14,995 in SF Bay Area, CA.  Tip from FuelTruck.

The S130 generation Nissan Fairlady Z was sold as the "Datsun by Nissan" 280ZX in North America from 1979 through 1983.   The S130 may not have been as light or sporty as its predecessor, but it added a few bits of luxury in eventually a turbocharger to Nissan's sports car.  This particular car is in impressive shape for its age and shows only 20k miles on the 5-digit odometer.

Under the hood is an L28, a naturally aspirated 2.8 liter inline-6 that puts out 135 horsepower into a 5-speed manual gearbox.  Rated horsepower may have been down due to the change from SAE gross to SAE net power ratings (from early 240Z cars), but actual horsepower was increased from the previous generation.  Regrettably, the cars were slower because safety related mass was added -- as much as an additional 400 lbs by 1979.

By 1979 the Z was becoming more of a grand tourer than a sports car, but you could get it with a 5-speed manual.  The interior on this one is nearly flawless and 100% stock according to the seller, but I'm sure a Z expert can chime in the comments to confirm this.

See another classic from the 70s that belongs in a junkyard museum? Email us here:  Sometimes we get lonely.  Then a tip comes in.  Sometimes I get goosebumps followed by revulsion, but then I remember I ate unrefrigerated leftover Indian food for lunch. 


  1. The S130's with de-rubberized bumpers look very "right" to me from the side-on / profile shot. Any view where you can see the taillights, however, is hideous.

    Also, you ate room-temperature Indian food of dubious provenance for lunch today too? Same here. Been on the john at work for so long they almost filed a missing persons report.

  2. Sorry no.

    The original Goertz Z-car was a spectacularly good design, but most of what followed were gimmicky collections of cliches that didn't really work.

    The '81 A60 Toyota Supra still looks good today, but nothing out of Nissan between the advent of 5mph bumpers and the Z32 can compare.

    1. Goertz did not design the Z-car. It was a product of Nissan's design staff after his employment as a consultant there ended in 1965, though the techniques and tools he taught them were an influence per Nissan. That's been well documented over the years.


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