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Discussion Starter #1
My first good car (after several fun, but hopelessly unreliable British sports cars) was a '71 240Z. That car rusted into oblivion within a few years. But it did get me a few dates!
I now have the opportunity to acquire (free) a '77 280Z that has been parked outside for about 10 years. There are some dings in the sheet metal, but not too much rust. Also one of the removable roof panels is broken. The owner ( a relative) claims that it was running when he took it off the road (insurance purposes), but that was 10 years ago.
I'm a retired Engineer, have lots of tools and mechanical knowledge, and a good garage to work in, but not sure I want to take this project on.
Any advice on:
- what work will the engine and turbocharger need?
- how available are parts?
- should I remove all mechanical parts before restoring the body?
- any text books/web links on the subject?

Or should I finish restoring my '84 Honda Magna motorcycle first?
 

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Civil, mechanical, electrical? There are many types of engineers.

77 didn't come with turbos or removable roof panels. So the car's been modified.

Most parts are still available. It's not too difficult to get an old car back in good running condition. Complete restoration is a little more difficult and can be expensive.

Search "Humble Datsun" and "Monroe Datsun" and "Honsowetz Datsun" and you'll find a few good books. Rockauto, motor sport auto, black dragon, and zspecialties are good for parts.

Don't look at it as an investment, especially a 77. Nobody makes their money back.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The car is actually an '81 280ZX. The owner swears that the turbo and roof are factory options. I'm a mechanical engineer
I can get the car for free, but it will cost $1500 to have it shipped. .
Does this change the feasabilty of the project?
 

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Do you feel like doing the body work? If I were going to pay $1500 shipping, I would spend a little more and get a better starting point. Rust kills these cars. The South and West have good cars for not much.

Get an older car and use the drive train from the ZX.
 

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Where are you located? It may be better to just buy locally.
That car is an automatic if it's an 81 turbo... So parting the car really won't cover the shipping cost. If it was an 82 with a T5 standard transmission, you could always part the drivetrain major components for the $1500 in shipping costs. An 81 is upside down by $500 in that equation.

If you can cover that spread, you are basically "paying" $500 for the car as a starting point. If you were close to me I would let you pillage my S130 pile for parts in exchange for pulling major components I need off them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Where are you located? It may be better to just buy locally.
That car is an automatic if it's an 81 turbo... So parting the car really won't cover the shipping cost. If it was an 82 with a T5 standard transmission, you could always part the drivetrain major components for the $1500 in shipping costs. An 81 is upside down by $500 in that equation.

If you can cover that spread, you are basically "paying" $500 for the car as a starting point. If you were close to me I would let you pillage my S130 pile for parts in exchange for pulling major components I need off them.
im in KIngston Ontario Canada, and the car is in Thunder Bay. It belongs to a relative who is quite attached to it. I'm retired and offered to rebuild it for him, not as a money maker, but for fun.
May be interested in parts.
 

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Thousand Island Zedder....

My parts offer is only extended to those locals who can pillage and then remove major components and store them in my containers.

Had someone with a 79 Fairlady Z rust bucket park there for 18 months unemployed. As he was staying in the house rent-free, I suggested he could have ANY of the rust repair patch panels he chose off the 83 Rust-Free SoCal ZXT, in exchange he just needed to put the driveline in storage at the house for me. He never did a thing. Made the offer several times. Nobody apparently wants to drop the struts, body bolts and lift the body off the car using my air tools, my forklift, and my level shaded concrete work area.

It boggles my mind actually, to see how freakin' lazy some people are when parts are offered to them in exchange for minimal sweat equity!

I literally have a place where he could have rolled the car on it's back to make harvesting clean underbody parts easier...and left it "dead turtle"!

I'm considering just lighting them on fire... Sheez! :frown

Fancy a month's holiday in SoCal? Maybe January.... Drive down in a truck, harvest what you want... LOL
 

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im in KIngston Ontario Canada, and the car is in Thunder Bay. It belongs to a relative who is quite attached to it. I'm retired and offered to rebuild it for him, not as a money maker, but for fun.
May be interested in parts.
I'm thinking a car left outside for 10 years in Thunder Bay is going to be in pretty bad shape. I mean. Bad...

I've been there in the winter. Just sayin.
 
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