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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey there fellas, I’ve been lurking this forum for the last 8 months from the first time I saw a 280z for sale in a lot.

I’m trying to get my first z right now so i thought it would be a good idea to make an account and get some advice on a listing later. I’m a college student and i’m really excited to get started on my first car

nice to meet you all :)
 

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Welcome.

You better get on it now because these cars' prices are skyrocketing. its ludicrous. not like it was 20 years ago when I bought my first one that's for sure....

check out this link for reference on the Z car:
www.xenonzcar.com

Bon
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Not sure if this is the best place to post but, this is the one i’m looking at. https://classics.autotrader.com/classic-cars/1978/datsun/280z/101522206
It’s local and not too high priced, from what i can tell there is no rust to be found even under floor pans and battery tray. I’m supposed to be viewing it in person sometime soon.

I talked to the owner over the phone to explain the “Minor work” these include: exhaust headers gasket leak, headlight wiring is fidgety, the original driver door panel missing, and some other small things that i don’t remember at the moment. The mileage is a typo should be 135k and the paint is not original black pearl, was metallic blue. The car has only been in california and florida.

One last thing, I contacted the dmv about the VIN history. They said it has a clear title however when it was transferred to florida it was noted as “salvage title” in 2011 while now having a clear title. Would salvage be a no go or is this still a good car.

(If i should post this somewhere else lmk o_o)
 

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If I was you, I'd jump on it now before someone else does. That's actually not a bad price for the car shown. Yeah, it may have some issues.... trust me, they all do. hopefully no major rust issues underneath. everything else looks pretty solid and stock original. The title, well salvage title or not, you should still be able to get it. and as far as I'm concerned, as long as the title is valid and you can get the car to pass inspections, you should be good. Just my own opinion. Get it while you can because these are going up.... and from the pictures this car looks to be in good shape.
If you don't get it, I will LOL!

whatever you do, make sure you see it in person and drive before you buy.

Bon
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Is there anything specific to the 280z I should be looking for during a test drive, I haven’t had the chance to drive one before.
 

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yeah... make sure the da*m brakes work :LOL:

well, there's a lot you should be looking for, but it might be a bit more for you if you have never been up close or in one of these before. so, check the basics:
everything working - electrical (lights, blinkers, tails, signals, horn, etc.) turn on the heater and try the A/C if it has it.
make sure the gauges all work - the center ones are the important ones... your vitals (water temp / oil pressure / volts)
make sure the gear shifts smoothly. you might hear a rear-end clunk when you are shifting in drive (this is totally normal for these cars, because the diff mounts wear out)
make sure she stays in a straight line. they don't have power steering, so you will have to muscle the turns, but its not hard. check the E-brake and make sure its tight.
when you're driving, don't be afraid to rev the engine. these engines are performance engines and are designed to rev high. don't red line, but don't be afraid to push the pedal.
if its a 77 and up, it should have the 5 spd. the biggest thing to check before you drive are rust areas (battery tray under the hood, floor pans, frame rails, and the rear hatch area under the carpet.
also, before you start her up... take out the dipstick and check the oil. wipe off and check again. remove the radiator cap and make sure you see beautiful green coolant all the way up to the top.
check the battery cables to be tight and secure.

if you do decide to buy it, make sure to perform the leak test... take it through a car wash and see what parts of the cabin the water gets into. hopefully nothing.
lastly go to this website and start reading everything you can about the 280z (S30) and what to look for. its all on there.
www.xenonzcar.com S30 section. read read read before you go to see the car.

I don't think you will be dissapointed. these are awesome cars.

good luck!

Bon
 

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as mentioned RUST is the #1 issue as it gets real expensive to correct. Engines are generally pretty solid, just look for overheating (does the temp gauge work) and oil pressure (should start out at about 2/3 or 60psi indicated, will drop down with a fully warmed up engine at idle it will barely register. You can tell more my just listening to the engine, listen for misfires (un steady idle) or other weird noises. Only buy this IF you have a garage to keep it in. they will rust away otherwise. Don't buy it if you live in the rust belt and need it for a daily. They weather badly.
 

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I just want to reiterate, look for RUST. The pictures are nice but they suspiciously ignore everything that I would look at first! As mentioned before, I'm mentioning them again because they are so important; frame rails, floor pans (look from underneath, if original, they have a thick sound deadening on top that hides a lot of rust), under the battery tray, spare tire compartment, rear hatch, etc. Dents on the frame rails aren't as bad as they look, lots of people have jacked these cars up incorrectly over the years.

Just for a fun exercise so you know what you might be getting into, try to source an original driver side door panel to replace the one that's missing.

Like the others have said, this could be a great car if it checks out.

PS: I think I have the bumper corners that are missing!
 

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What DaveM said about keeping it in a garage.... this is a MUST! Negligent owners, junkyard crushers, and nature's elements are the biggest killers of these cars! If you buy this and it's rust free and you leave it outside, it will begin rusting and slowly rott away. if you buy this and it has a bunch of rust issues already, it will rust more and fall apart.

for you, I wouldn't recommend using it as a daily driver. if you don't have a covered place for it, or another daily to drive, it might be best to wait on buying. if you really want a Z, might be better to go for a 300zx as they are cheaper in price and tend to handle the elements a bit better than the 1st gen cars. And when you are ready, you can try to get a 280z. But you have to protect it.... I've kept both my 280z and 280zx cars in a garage for the last ten years. If I had left them outside all this time, they'd be deader than dead! just some thoughts.

Bon
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Owner sent me some more pictures of the undercarriage of the car, everything looks promising on photos so far. And for those wondering I do have a garage lined up for when I purchase the car, seeing a z uncovered during the rain hurts my soul. Don’t plan on making it a daily at the moment. My location tampa fl.

Thanks everyone, Owner texted me today and I’ll get to see the car in person on friday. super nervous super excited !
 

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hahaha, that's the same car I'm planning to go look at this weekend if the loan goes through in time. I have his name and phone number if you need it.

The prices are starting to skyrocket compared to a decade ago.

Are you looking for a daily driver or a project?

Glad to have younger blood joining the site though!
 
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Owner sent me some more pictures of the undercarriage of the car, everything looks promising on photos so far. And for those wondering I do have a garage lined up for when I purchase the car, seeing a z uncovered during the rain hurts my soul. Don’t plan on making it a daily at the moment. My location tampa fl.

Thanks everyone, Owner texted me today and I’ll get to see the car in person on friday. super nervous super excited !
if you end up getting the car, and you are in the Orlando area let me know. I will be happy to help you with any issues that may arise. here is my you tube channel, you help find some helpful hints on Z cars in it.

Dave WM - YouTube
 

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Owner sent me some more pictures of the undercarriage of the car, everything looks promising on photos so far. And for those wondering I do have a garage lined up for when I purchase the car, seeing a z uncovered during the rain hurts my soul. Don’t plan on making it a daily at the moment. My location tampa fl.

Thanks everyone, Owner texted me today and I’ll get to see the car in person on friday. super nervous super excited !
if you end up getting the car, and you are in the Orlando area let me know. I will be happy to help you with any issues that may arise. here is my you tube channel, you help find some helpful hints on Z cars in it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
if you end up getting the car, and you are in the Orlando area let me know. I will be happy to help you with any issues that may arise. here is my you tube channel, you help find some helpful hints on Z cars in it.

Dave WM - YouTube
I am in the Tampa bay area so not too far, I have some friends that go to UCF so if I ever bring the z in town i’ll be sure to let you know(if i end up getting it ofc). I’ll probably be babying the car for a while before i take it far distance.
i subscribed and about to binge through all of these. Thanks!
 

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I am in the Tampa bay area so not too far, I have some friends that go to UCF so if I ever bring the z in town i’ll be sure to let you know(if i end up getting it ofc). I’ll probably be babying the car for a while before i take it far distance.
i subscribed and about to binge through all of these. Thanks!
I went to ucf as well (back when it was FTU ha ha). That school has grown a LOT. Good idea to take it for short hops until you feel its safe. Main thing to watch out for is the water pump. They do go bad, and can ruin the day. check it for lateral play, and keep an eye open for weeping at the bottom weep hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Someone I guess offered more money and purchased it on thursday so I wasn’t able to see the car friday. kinda frustrating, but back on the hunt we go!

Thanks for all the help again!
 

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Someone I guess offered more money and purchased it on thursday so I wasn’t able to see the car friday. kinda frustrating, but back on the hunt we go!

Thanks for all the help again!
sorry the hear that, but there is always another. I passed on a couple before I found the one that was right for me.
 
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