All it takes is the mention of one letter from the alphabet to bring on a wave of nostalgia for many Japanese car collectors. The Z sports coupe has been a motoring icon since the late 1960s and has now evolved into its seventh generation. As Nissan enthusiasts eagerly await the on-sale date of the recently debuted 2023 model year Z, the car’s Datsun predecessors deserve their time in the limelight, too.
The Pick of the Day is a low-mileage 1980 Datsun 280ZX listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Miami, Florida. At only 54,000 miles, it’s described as being stock and original, with the exception of reupholstered seats.
“Garage-kept and meticulously maintained since new,” the ad says. “Adult-owned, Florida car, unrestored almost-new showroom condition.”
Relatively few four-decade-old classic cars are still wearing original coats of paint, but this Datsun Z is one of them. Its 41-year-old body is dressed in a rare Gold Mist Metallic finish in “superb condition” per the seller, and the car comes with such features as removable T-top roof panels, machined aluminum wheels, and color-keyed side mirrors.
The Datsun 280ZX, known otherwise as the Fairlady Z in overseas markets, launched in 1978 on the S130 chassis. Toyota introduced its rival Supra at the same time, and the increasing marketplace competition brought a need for additional content and better performance.
The 280ZX received T-tops in 1980 and upgrades to the drivetrain, including the availability of a turbocharged model beginning in 1981. Datsun’s marketing promoted the car as more of a grand tourer than an all-out sports car.
While the listing omits photos of the engine compartment, this Datsun 280’s L28E inline-six is said to “perform flawlessly and responsively at all levels.” The powerplant is naturally aspirated as opposed to being turbocharged like later versions, but it produces a respectable 135 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque, which is ample for scooting the 2,675-pound two-seater around.
“Mechanically, it starts, idles and drives as you would expect for a well-cared performance car,” the seller states. “Air conditioning, belts, coolant, fluids all changed and maintained at the proper intervals.”
A five-speed manual transmission sends power to the BFGoodrich radials at the rear.
Preservation of this Datsun Z continues on the interior, where reupholstered suede buckets provide bolstered seating and all the electronic equipment functions as designed – even the radio’s power antenna. The seller has provided detailed imaging of areas like the door jambs which look just as clean as the rest of the vehicle.
“You will be hard pressed to find a 1980 280ZX in this condition,” the seller adds. “The car is turn-key, needs nothing, and is suitable as a daily driver.”
The seller is asking $31,900 for this well-kept Z.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.