Decades before Apple Carplay and Android Auto could make a car interactive, and give it a voice, Datsun was mass-producing talking cars. In the early 1980s, the Maxima and 280ZX were having one-sided conversations with their drivers in short phrases, such as “Parking brake is on” and “Lights are on.”
Around that same era, Chrysler had similar technology in its LeBaron – most notably for the phrase, “A door is ajar.”
The Pick of the Day is a well-preserved 1983 Datsun 280ZX Turbo that not only still has its functional voice box but has an almost entirely original drivetrain to go along with it. At 38 years old and 145,000 miles, this Z has without a doubt treated its prior owners to many enjoyable T-topless experiences. But the seller is confident that it is mechanically sound and ready for many more.
“Starts every time, and all options work including the talking car feature,” says the seller, a private owner in Burgaw, North Carolina, advertising the Datsun on ClassicCars.com. “Vehicle does not smoke, drip or burn any fluids.”
The 280Z has been with its current owner for seven years and is said to have originated in California. It received a cosmetic refurbishment between 2014 and 2015 which included a fresh red paint job and a new interior. Most importantly, the Datsun is still powered by its original turbocharged 2.8-liter inline-6. The only non-factory equipment on the vehicle is a modified catalytic converter and a stage two clutch, according to the seller.
The 280ZX launched in 1979 as Datsun’s replacement for its first-generation Z-car and was branded as a Fairlady Z in some parts of the world. It saw a facelift for model year 1982 that incorporated a different wheel design, revised B-pillar garnish, and rubber bumper overriders.
In the turbocharged variant, the 5-speed-equipped Z was capable of a zero-to-60 time of fewer than 8 seconds, putting it right in line with supercars that had far higher price tags. By 1984, the 280ZX name would disappear as Datsun replaced it with the all-new 300ZX, so this example represents the last of its generation.
This Datsun’s ever-present robotic voice might be one way to make the driving experience feel a little less lonely, and the seller seems eager to see it go to a good home.
“I would like to see this vehicle go to someone who appreciates these cars and plans on keeping it original and preserving it,” the listing states.
The asking price for the car is $16,300.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.