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HomeFeatured VehiclesPick of the Day: 1977 Datsun 280Z

Pick of the Day: 1977 Datsun 280Z

A world class sports car for a lower price

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When it was released in 1970, the Datsun 240Z literally disrupted the entire sports car world offering a world class sports car at a price lower than the cost of the already old 1980 model of the MGB GT. Instead of being powered by an agricultural inline 4 pushrod engine, it had a 2.4 liter SOHC inline 6 under the hood. That engine called the L24 is an engine design with a lot of engineering influence from the Mercedes-Benz SOHN inline 6. That engine was fitted to a modern unit body chassis with all independent suspension, disk brakes on the front and exterior styling reminiscent of the Ferrari 275 GTB. It was a project led by the now famous Yutaka Katayama, the President of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. (known in Datsun circles as Mr. K), and designed by a team led by Yoshihiko Matsuo. The car destroyed the competition in period car magazine group tests and in many ways nailed the coffin shut on the entire idea of affordable British and Italian sports cars. It offered so much more for so much less money and added something that most of the competition never could, reliability.

Over the years the Z got heavier and grew bigger bumpers but it never lost its feel until the launch of the 280ZX. To me, the perfect blend of classic design and driving feel all came together in the final edition of the original Z car, the 280Z.

By the time of the launch of the 280Z, Datsun has added features such as an optional 5-speed transmission, and fuel injection. These more modern features, along with factory A/C that worked well, made the 280Z that I owned my favorite. Keep in mind that I have owned a 1971 240Z so I have a good baseline. The reason for me liking the 280Z the best is that the fuel injected engine with a 5-speed make it the easiest to own and most reliable version of the original Z car.

The Pick of the Day is one of these cars, a 1977 Datsun 280Z that is offered for sale by a dealer in Loganville Georgia.

The seller describes this 280Z as an original 1977 Datsun 280Z in excellent condition and has only 65K miles since new. The car features its original inline 6, 2.8L engine with Bosch licensed L-Jetronic fuel injection and original 5-speed manual transmission. It also has power front disc brakes, factory A/C that blows cold, and an original interior that’s like new including the seats, carpet, headliner and dash.

The seller adds that the factory gauges all work and that it still has its factory AM/FM stereo, factory power antenna, rear window defogger, and original owner’s manuals.

They go on to state that the exterior finish is excellent with only a couple minor spots and that it has had one repaint in the original color about 20 years ago. It also rides on its original wheels with Goodyear radial tires, has its original bumpers, bezels, glass and trim, and comes with an optional rear window louver cover.

Of great importance is that they state that the undercarriage of this 280Z is solid as a rock, that the car still has all of its original metal panels, and includes a3 ring binder filled with service documentation.

They close the ad by calling this Datsun 280Z a time capsule, that everything about this car is amazing, and that it is unbelievable how well it runs and drives. 

If I were in the market for another 280Z this is a car I would seriously consider this one. I love the originality of the car and the condition that it has been kept in over the last 47 years. it is a car that I would happily take to events and on vintage tours. The asking price of $34,900 is in line with the current market and may even be a bit of a deal for an exile this nice. It is a example of buy it now or pay more for it later.

Click here for this ClassicCars.com Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

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