Tag Archives: 280ZX

The Search for My Next Z – 1994-1996 300ZX 2+2

As I mentioned earlier, I’m almost 40 now and I’m finally coming to my car senses, I’m back in the market for a 1994, 1995 or 1996 300ZX 5 Speed 2+2.  I chose those years primarily because I’m not a big fan of the door mounted seat belts in the earlier years, that’s pretty picky I know but hey, that’s me.  There weren’t a lot of 300ZXs sold during those years anyway, then when you drill down even more to a specific body style, transmission, interior/exterior color and condition it becomes a pretty tricky item to find.  Right now I think I’m shopping for a Red (or Maroon), White or Silver one but I’d also consider black if I found a good deal.  I definitely like the black interior over the tan one so that is a must.  I did a search at the Z registry and found that there were only 272 with my preferred options in the US (with federal emissions).  What seems to be happening now is that I’m finding a lot of the green ones with tan interiors or when I do find a white one that would be perfect it has a tan interior and I just can’t bring myself to go with that color.  It’s not that I don’t like tan in a car interior, I plan on redoing the leather to be tan like it was in some later Japanese model 300ZXs (Fairlady Z) like in the picture below, but I just think the way they did those earlier tan interiors has too much tan in it, almost every piece of plastic, etc.

I considered trying to track down my last 300ZX so I did a VIN search on it but the news wasn’t good…  the poor car had a twice salvaged title but apparently was still on the road in Amarillo, TX.  I guess I could still try to rescue it but I’d hate to see what kind of condition it is in at this time not to mention I have no idea how you track down who owns a car now if all you have is the VIN, maybe the Texas DOT would give me that information but I doubt it.  While I was at it I also searched for my 1983 280ZX and the last time it was seen was at a auto recycling facility in 2003, I don’t have a lot of hope that it’s still around.  If I can ever find the VIN for my first 280ZX I’ll see where it is but I’m not sure how I’ll ever find that information unless the state keeps a record of past car titles I’ve held.

Ok, back to the task at hand, I have craigslist RSS feeds set up to alert me when a 300ZX is posted in every major city within a 1000 mile radius of Oklahoma City.  I also check craigslist nationwide by doing a google search for “300zx 1994 OR 1995 OR 1996 -auto -automatic -conv -convertible site:craigslist.org”.  I also have eBay and Autotrader.com emailing me when a new car is posted.  Lastly I check around in forums and cars.com hoping to find the perfect car.  There are tons of these cars posted every week but very few fit my criteria.  It is somewhat disappointing to find a car that looks like it’s perfect for me then have it be an automatic, be green, 2+0 or have the “tan-all-over” interior.

I’m looking to spend around $6000 but would pay more depending on the condition and how perfect it was for me.  I haven’t talked to my bank yet about the possibility of financing a car that old but from everything I’ve read online 7 years is about as old as you can get financing for.  I’ll keep everyone (which amounts to myself) updated on this site with the Z search and hopefully the soon to be acquisition.

Pawn Stars – 1980 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition

I was watching Pawn Stars not too long ago on the History Channel and was surprised to see a 280ZX being brought in for sale. It was a 1980 10th Anniversary Edition 280ZX, one of only 500 Red and Black ones that were made. The paint seemed to be in pretty rough condition since the owner had painted it himself and the motor had some issues.

What was funny was the owner initially wanted $28,000 for it saying it could be sold for $60,000 or more.  I haven’t done a lot of pricing on these particular models but I doubt they go for that much unless they have been stored since the day the rolled off of the showroom floor.

They ended up not buying it but it was nice to see a 280ZX on the tube for the first time since who knows when, even if it wasn’t pristine, not many are.

The Second Z – 1983 280ZX

I sold my first Z car in 1990 if I remember correctly.  After that I went through a phase in my personal and college life which is a story meant for another blog so we’ll skip to 1993.  I had started to get my life back on track and after a stupid vehicle purchase (198X? Fiat X19) I decided it was time to search for another solid car.  The hardships that I briefly mentioned above ended with that Fiat getting repossessed by the bank so I was no longer in a situation where I could get a loan for a car from them.  I was still working with my Dad in the roofing business, my older cousin Brent was a partner of my Dad’s in this business and we got along pretty well.  My cousin always seemed to have some sort of blind faith in me for which I am forever grateful, he agreed to give me a loan for my next car and so the search was on.

I located a 1983 280ZX  in Dallas which was a couple of hours south of my hometown (Pauls Valley, OK).  I don’t recall how it was that I found this car but in 1993 there was no craigslist, ebay or cars.com to help with nationwide searches so it must have been in the Dallas Morning News classifieds.  Brent and I headed off to Dallas on a Saturday morning to check over this car.  The car was at a dealer and I remember it was in excellent condition so I knew I wanted it as soon as I saw it, the rest of the talk was between my cousin and the dealer so I don’t recall much else about getting the deal done.  I remember taking it on a test drive and Brent telling me to make sure not to rest my clutch foot on the clutch since it will lead to premature clutch wear.  I’m sure my Dad had also told me that years before while training to drive a 5 speed in the 1980 Datsun Pickup but for some reason that is one of the things I recall vividly about the purchase of this car.  We made the decision to move forward with buying the car so Brent cut them a check and we were on our way.

Brent and I set up a payment plan and he printed out an amortization sheet to help me keep track of payments.  This experience was about far more than buying a car, it was the start of  me getting back on my feet again.  I’ll always have fond memories of that car, it was reliable, sporty and led me through a very trying part of my life through to the other side.  I paid Brent back on schedule and kept the car until October 1996 when I traded it in on my next Z…