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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone, A little over a year ago I purchased my 1985 300ZX N\A- 92,000 miles, 5 speed, 2 seater, one owner car with complete maintenance history. Silver with the classic cloth blue and grey interior. Car runs and drives perfect. Just replace all the plugs, wires, cap along with complete tune up and it runs even better than when I bought it. Car was pre-inspected by Nissan when purchased and all my work thus far has been performed by Nissan. I can do most of the work myself, I just like having Nissan work on it so its all done by the professionals, documented and protected in case they screw something up...lol.

Over the last year of driving I have been putting a lot of thought into the direction I want to go with the car. I see all kinds of people upgrading their cars (engines, suspension, wheels, ground effects) and many of these cars are awesome. Outside of the 280Z I think the Z31 has the most potential to create a vintage yet unique car with modern day upgrades. I see tons of questions about adding turbo's to the NA engines and upgrading the engines to create max horsepower which I truly appreciate but that being said after driving her for the last two summers I have really begun to appreciate the driving experience the factory version of this car provides. Dont get me wrong, I love going fast as much as the next guy but I am also a history buff and love vintage things and if I drive my Z with an open mind and appreciate the era it was designed for one has to really appreciate this little car. After all, it was the American market that craved the modern day conveniences and creature comforts that drove Nissan to transform this once light, spirited sports car from the era of the 240, 260 and 280z to the more modern GT class executives car. Aggressive styling, sophisticated ride infused with high tech and new age engine created the Z31. Yes many believe the non-turbo is slow and uninspiring but I have to disagree. Sure the car was not built to be a beast off the line but so what. A lot of cars of that era were not. The Porsche 944, RX7, Conquest TSI and many others were built with very similar horsepower and performance. For its time these cars were great little performers. Affordable, performance cars that can provide a real drivers experienced. They were never meant to be the beast of the road. They are fantastic once you get into the 2500-3000 RPM's (3-5 gears). Not unusual for Japanese sports cars. The Mazda Miata is the perfect example. Incredibly successful car that was built for the purposes of creating a driving experience. High RPM's, good handling, affordable, reliable and all for an incredible price point but never massive horsepower. No different for Z31 and the other cars of its class in the 80's.

If you think about it, the market of that time push Nissan to build a car with perfect balance. A car that had performance, a real sports car look and feel, fun to drive, with affordability, reliability, unique and recognizable appearance that pointed back to this brands heritage while providing all of the modern and futuristic features we wanted in that day. Knowing how incredibly difficult it is to design a car with all of these things combined with a balance in sex appeal and aggressiveness in stance I think Nissan did a one heck of a job especially looking at it 30+ years down the road seeing how well these cars held up.

So while there are lots of options and ways that I can take my little Z. I think this little car deserves better that to be hacked up, upgraded and driven hard. If I decide at some point thats what I am wanting to do then I would just buy a beater and rebuild her, but looking at my current Z... I love her just the way she is. I love driving her. I love having the T-Tops out, the factory radio blasting, shifting through the gears on a beautiful summer day taking in all of the smiles and thumbs up as I pass by other drivers. I take my little Z to car shows all the time. Sitting next to big block muscle cars and other classics I am constantly pulled over to talk about my little Z from spectators. I cant tell you how many times I will hear "I used to own one these" or " I have not seen one of these in 20 years" or "my dad use to own one of these" all loved them. Not one person asked me how fast it would go or how much horsepower it had. They just loved the car for what is. A cool ass vintage 80's car that everyone remembers. An iconic brand that set the way for future performance cars popular today. That is as much of the driving experience if not more than speed off the line.

Its not the performance that I need. Its the entire experience this amazing and unappreciated model Z provides and I think these cars deserve way more respect and appreciation than they get in the Z lineage.
 

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I share your opinion. I have a 1983 280ZX Turbo, which I've had for 30 years. I see no reason to mess with the turbo, alter the body lines or otherwise mess with what is a nice period car. Nothing I can do to it will make it competitive with a current Mustang or Camaro. 37 year old technology means it won't out-handle or out-accelerate many modern cars which aren't even "performance" models, but that's OK.

A nice car that does what it was designed to do, and does it well, is a thing of beauty. I see no need to make it something it wasn't intended to be.

106684
 

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I share your opinion. I have a 1983 280ZX Turbo, which I've had for 30 years. I see no reason to mess with the turbo, alter the body lines or otherwise mess with what is a nice period car. Nothing I can do to it will make it competitive with a current Mustang or Camaro. 37 year old technology means it won't out-handle or out-accelerate many modern cars which aren't even "performance" models, but that's OK.

A nice car that does what it was designed to do, and does it well, is a thing of beauty. I see no need to make it something it wasn't intended to be.

View attachment 106684
Love the 280. Thanks for sharing a pic. Exactly my point. Its no different than buying a Alfo Spyder, MG, Triumph, Porsche 914 or other cars from the 80s like Fiero, MR2, or even the V8 of the Mustang GT or Camero of the period. Most had less than 200 HP in that early period so to criticize these cars or feel like you need to tear them apart so you can push them up to 300-400 HP is a stretch. I mean I get it, again I love performance cars and love to go fast but then one should consider a new car with better engineering. I am not ragging on anyone who does it. Each car is the owners vision so there is no wrong answer. I just see a majority of post about these cars seem to be more critical about what they lack as opposed to what they can offer. I do agree and love what other owners have done with the Z31's. Modernizing them and showing unbelievable performance results. Most people talk about the z32's and they are beautiful cars but I dont think the Z31's get enough love. Thanks again for sharing.
 

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I have had 5 1981-83 ZX turbos and now four 300zx (2 coupes and two 2+2s, including an auto -- what I call the biggest and slowest Z!). Some ask me if it is a mid-life crisis, but those numbers stretch back to my 20s (am in my 50s now), so it is an illness. I am taken by the 1986 body style, a little more refined in my opinion than the 84-85. I also had an 84 slicktop coupe. I totally agree on the handling vs power. The z31 probably has more limits on adding power short of doing the turbo which in that case, one might as well just look for a nice original turbo car. Heck one sold on Mecum last week for $12K.

I think the z31 is one of the least-appreciated versions of the Z. But I have said for years on this site that it is still a Z. It handles wonderfully and the NA version still has plenty of pickup for what most anyone should need to do. I am "adapting" to the coupe version as I had gotten used to the room in the 2+2 -- I could haul an acoustic bass (not a stand up), amp, guitar, mic stand, guitar stands, and more.

I look for every excuse I can when the weather is nice to drive my z (I live in Iowa so I wait until we get past them putting things on the road that will cause rust). I had considered getting out of Zs a couple years ago, but obviously I came to my senses! FYI.. .I will be selling a white 1986 300zx 2+2 auto NA. I do have to thin the herd. Will be posting in ads here and locally. So basically I back up 100% what you say. And any time I drive it I have someone usually come up and talk to me about it.
 
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