Tuesday, January 3, 2017

In it for the long term: 1980 Datsun 280ZX

25 years ago, on January 2, 1992 I took a one way flight from Seattle to SFO and bought a 1973 Alfa Romeo GTV and drove it back over the Siskiyous in the dead of winter.  I still have the car, to rip off that other site, it is a Car Of A Lifetime.  I don't plan to sell it until I can't drive, and a certainly can't see selling it to buy a modern motor.  I can't imagine buying a brand new Grand Tourer in 1980, keeping it for 37 years and then selling it after buying a new Corvette.  Find this 1980 Datsun 280ZX for sale in University Place, WA for $10,200 via craigslist.

The Z started out at the end of the 1960's as the Datsun Fairlady Z.  Mr. K had an incling that the Farilady name wouldn't really capture the American imagination, and had the Fairlady renamed the 240Z.  By the 1980's the Z had grown from a sports car to a Grand Tourer.  This car is one of 2,500 black and gold  2 door 10th Anniversary special editions sold in 1980.  It's powered by a 2.8 liter inline six.  The ad doesn't mention how many miles are on this car, but it looks to be in reasonable nick.  Not sure what the zip tied red wire is doing, but the rest of the vacuum lines seem to be there.

The 10th Anniversary also came with a special leather interior.  In other shots, the seats appear to still be in good condition, but the leather wheel cover is missing a few stitches.  Looks like an aftermarket cheap radio has replaced the 80's stocker and the cig lighter has gone missing.

You also got t-tops as standard with the 10th Anny edition.  I kinda dig the gold inserts on the wheels as well.

See a Car Of A Lifetime that turned out not to be? email us here: tips@dailyturismo.com

Gianni is Daily Turismo's Pacific Northwest correspondent.


  1. I did the same trip in reverse two years ago, except the 510 rally car in Bremerton turned out to be way too rusty. Ended up buying a Fiat 124 convertible that hadn't seen the road in 5 years and driving that back to SF. Broke down a bunch, hitchhiked for parts in Oregon, but I made it. Turned out I should have checked the title more closely; it was a 77 not a 75. Drove her around a bit and then donated her before the smog Gestapo showed up at my door.

    Sometimes its fun creating your own Top Gear episode with a one way ticket, $1500, and a few days with zero obligations. Cruising an old Italian convertible in the middle of winter through the mountains on I5 with a coughing carb and a bad exhaust leak (top down the whole way) was pretty entertaining and terrifying.

  2. Caveat Emptor! But then what fun would that be!

  3. Nothing beats an exhaust fumed headache...unless your into cheap wine.

  4. I did Seattle to LA in a 1984 Volvo Diesel (240) wagon a couple years ago. I bought it sight unseen from a gentleman in Olympia, drove it around Seattle for a few days, picked up a friend at the airport, and we cruised back south over the next 3 days. It was entertaining for different reasons...terrifying sometimes trying to merge with traffic having only 75hp on tap...but we made it in comfort and averaged about 13mpg. The experience alone was almost worth the price, but now I have a smog exempt wagon shell that's waiting for a slightly more exciting powertrain.

    1. **30mpg** ...not sure where 13 came from!

    2. It's all about the experience, I keep telling myself. Which is why it took me 6 hours to remove my gauge cluster from my e9 this morning/afternoon. I've invented all sorts of fascinating curse words!

  5. How has nobody posted black gold???


    1. Short take: "have sex in your Datsun".

      I love that ad.

    2. Gives new meaning to hearing 'dat soon?' Ok ok I'll show myself prematurely to the door...


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