Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Even though the Datsun/Nissan Z-cars aren't ultra-valuable collectors' pieces (yet!), that doesn't mean they aren't still a ton of fun. With great handling and a balanced chassis, this 1982 Datsun 280ZX 2+2 provides a low-cost way into a pretty capable sports car that can still put a big grin on the driver's face.
By looking at this car, you'd never really know that it has already passed its 30th birthday. Thanks to the bright silver color, which we believe is its original paint, it still looks sleek and contemporary and not nearly as dated as some of the other cars built in the early '80s. Typical of Japanese manufacturers of the period, build quality is quite good with sharp gaps and pieces that fit properly, and the paint job is holding up rather well, suggesting great care since it was new. Without stripes or add-ons like a rear wing, the car retains the clean look of the original Z-car, which itself was often compared to the E-Type Jaguar; heady company indeed. The bumpers are well-integrated into the overall design and black body side moldings add some contrast as well as being practical. The black anodized trim and rubber pieces strongly suggest a car that has always been well-maintained and kept out of the elements, and even the taillights are still bright and clear.
The gray cloth interior shows a few hints of 1980s sensibility, but the bucket seats remain supremely comfortable for long hauls and supportive for aggressive maneuvers. No rips or tears in the seating surfaces are another sign of careful ownership and the original carpets remain in good shape thanks to the protection of matching embroidered floor mats. Instrumentation is traditional Z, with a big speedometer and tach for the driver and auxiliary gauges in the center of the dash, a look that still shows up in today's 370Z. Just about everything was standard on the 280ZX, including A/C, power windows, and an AM/FM/cassette stereo that was still pretty cutting-edge in 1982. The 2+2 models offered a modest rear seat that's good for kids or adults on short trips, and there's a good amount of storage space under the rear hatch, which also offers a full set of gray carpets that are in remarkable condition.
The 2.8 liter inline-six provides silky smooth torque and a rorty sound that is definitely reminiscent of great sports cars from Europe. Thanks to fuel injection, it starts easily and pulls smoothly without getting fussy, and despite the complex-looking engine bay, these cars are rather easy to work on and parts are still plentiful. There are no obvious modifications and it drives like a stocker, so someone has definitely taken care of it along the way and the clean look speaks highly of the dedicated maintenance it has enjoyed. A 3-speed automatic transmission makes it easy for anyone to drive and doesn't dilute the experience one bit, as the suspension still grabs in corners and has a playful, tossable nature that only rear-wheel-drive sports cars can manage. Big disc brakes, a burly exhaust note, and handsome 6-spoke alloys with 195/70/14 Michelin radials all contribute to the entertainment factor.
The day is surely coming when good Z-cars will make the A-list, but in the meantime, you'll be having too much fun behind the wheel to worry about it. Call today!