1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo - SOLD
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To make things even better, this might just be the finest original 280ZX Turbo in the world.

Nissan’s Z-car transformed the automotive landscape in 1970, and we’re still feeling the effects today. Without that audacious first move into the world of full-sized real-deal sports cars, would we have such amazing machines as the Acura NSX, Toyota Supra, and Nissan GT-R? Called Datsun in certain parts of the world, the 240Z provided a balanced 2-seat sports car with a purring inline-6 engine, nimble handling, and a look that was more Jaguar than odd Japanese city car. It was an instant hit and throughout the ‘70s, the Z-car was a staple on the roads of America. In the early ‘80s, it was completely redesigned (although the look is similar) and to keep its edge, Nissan engineers added displacement and then a turbocharger to create the 280ZX Turbo, the final iteration of the first-generation Z-car. It was faster, smoother, and more comfortable than any that came before it, and today they are finally getting genuine recognition from collectors as those of use who grew up with these cars have a happy memory about just how awesome they really were.

To make things even better, this might just be the finest original 280ZX Turbo in the world. It shows just 28,648 original miles and since it’s a one-owner car, we know for a fact that it has only been in the rain TWICE. It is fully documented with all its original paperwork, including the window sticker, and every time a part was replaced, the owner carefully stored the original part in the box and tucked it into the trunk (mostly just an air filter and a set of spark plugs). The luscious burgundy paint looks especially elegant on the sleek Z’s bodywork and while it had grown incrementally in all directions, there’s no question about what kind of car this is. The federally-mandated bumpers are better integrated on this car than on almost anything else of the period and the subtle NACA-style hood scoop that feeds the turbocharger hints at the aggressive powerplant living underneath. The paint shows a few polishing marks and signs of age, but they’re quite minimal and it has never been scratched, dinged, or touched up beyond a few stone chips on the lower valence. The black trim is still satin black and not chalky from UV exposure and even the headlights are original. We were the first to remove the T-tops and found the seals supple and in excellent condition, and even the rear hatch holds itself open on gas struts that work properly. This is one incredibly well-preserved sports car!

By 1982, buyers were accustomed to a higher level of comfort, so Nissan/Datsun obliged them in their flagship model. This 280ZX Turbo is outfitted with every available option, including power windows, ice cold factory A/C, rear defroster with wiper, cruise control, and a decent AM/FM/cassette stereo system with power antenna. All of it works, including the digital clock integrated into the three pods atop the center dash, which also house the oil pressure, oil temperature, and boost gauges, with the latter two being unique to the turbocharged cars. As I mentioned, the A/C still blows cold, the cloth-covered seats are firm and comfortable, and the dash pad is unmarked. You will note that this is a true two-seater, unlike its larger sibling, the 280ZX 2+2, and that means a rather spacious rear hatch area with custom storage bins and cool little fences to keep your gear in place. The original T-top bags are, of course, included, as are the removable sun panels to help control solar gain in the cabin.

The heart of the 280ZX Turbo is the familiar L28E 2.8 liter inline-6 which cranked out a rather impressive 180 horsepower (it was 1982, after all). It was faster than every production car in the US except the Porsche 911SC and BMW M1, which were eight to ten times more expensive. The long six-cylinder engine fits neatly under the pointed nose and while it looks complicated with all the lines and hoses snaking throughout the engine bay, maintenance is easy and the hardware is reliable and robust. You will note that virtually everything under the hood is original, right down to the hose clamps, and boy there are a lot of those! Note the gold cadmium plating on all the metal components is still bright and shiny, the plastic liquid tanks are not yellowed or brittle with age, and the only components that have been replaced in the past four decades are the spark plugs and air filter (with the originals neatly stored in the trunk). It starts instantly thanks to fuel injection and the idle is so buttery smooth you almost can’t feel it running. There’s good low-end torque that swells noticeably as the turbo comes online, but it never feels peaky or sudden like certain other turbocharged cars of the period. This Datsun maintains its decorum under all circumstances. Take a look and see if you aren’t impressed with the level of preservation on this awesome Z-car.

Most Americans opted for the sluggish 3-speed automatic but this one sports the highly desirable Borg-Warner T5 5-speed manual gearbox, the same one that would eventually find its way into 5.0 Mustangs and Z/28 Camaros. It’s a joy to row through the gears and with light clutch action and well-chosen ratios, it’s easy to keep the turbo on boil for rather impressive acceleration. A tall overdrive gear helps make this a genuine 25 MPG car on the highway if you can keep out of the boost, even with 3.54 gears out back. Power rack-and-pinion steering was new for the 280ZX and it was a big improvement over the old steering box setup, and even today it feels quite modern and precise with good feedback. Powerful 4-wheel disc brakes were standard equipment and the full independent suspension gives it a great ride/handling balance. The exhaust system is original save for the tailpipe and muffler, which are NOS units that were sourced and installed last year. It also wears unmarked factory alloy wheels with 205/60/15 Goodyear radials that are only the second set of tires this car has ever worn!

Documentation includes the original window sticker, manuals, brochures, and maintenance receipts from the past four decades. As I mentioned, there are some original parts plus spare NOS oil filters in the trunk so you can keep your Datsun 100% Datsun. There’s also an accessory front end “bra” to protect the nose on road trips.

This is an extraordinary car with extraordinary preservation. And for a change, it isn’t a low-end stripped-down model, but a top-of-the-line example with a highly desirable manual transmission in great colors. It looks, sounds, and feels almost new and has a bulletproof pedigree backing it up. These cars are finally getting the respect that they deserve and for this price, you can own what is quite likely the best of its kind anywhere. Call today!

Vehicle: 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 116078
Mileage: 28,648
VIN: JN1CZ04S6CX628156
Engine: 2.8 liter turbocharged inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.54
Wheelbase: 91.3 inches
Wheels: 15-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: 205/60/15 Goodyear radial
Exterior Color: Burgundy
Interior Color: Red cloth
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