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Nissan 300ZX, all models

jcliffrojcliffro Posts: 108
Just wondering if there are any other Z owners like me out there. I am the original owner of a 1985 Aspen Gold 2-seat 300ZX with T-tops and 5-speed. I have the standard gauges and cloth seats. This car looks almost as good as it did the first day I saw it at the dealer showroom. It has 79,500 miles on it and the following is what I have had to do to it in 17 years: replace a faulty switch that kept unlocking the passenger door (happened within a month of purchase; covered under warranty); replaced the sterio due to a sticking cassette player; replaced the clutch about 60,000 miles; replaced the transmission about 78,000 miles; replaced the tires about every 22,000 miles; regular oil changes; a couple of batteries. I had one weird experience where the taillights would not go out...my mechanic fixed that for about $20.
This has been the most incredibly reliable and satisfying car I can ever imagine owning. Although I am about ready to retire it to the other side of the garage and give it "classic car" status, I don't think I could ever bear to part with it. Every single time I approach this car I still think to myself "that is the most beautiful car I have ever seen".
But this good soldier probably deserves to retire with honors. I am thinking about getting a 2002 Nissan Xterra for the other side of the garage. I would like to hear from anyone else who loves his Z as much as I love mine.
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Comments

  • mminerbimminerbi Posts: 88
    With the exception of the digital dash, my fully loaded 300ZX, with 148,000 on the odometer, has been very reliable. They're well made cars, but as they got older and cheaper on the used market many were purchased by people who didn't maintain them.

    There's a website dedicated to these cars, www. Z31.com, which is Nissan's model designation for the '84-'89 300ZXs.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    For those who don't recall this model, here is a photo (not a good photo, but a photo nonetheless) of a 1986 model:

    image

    Host

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,741
    Except for the 2+2 models that looked bloated.

    And, strangly, I liked the goofy digital dashes too! Like a Nevada slot machine!

    But they are very troublesome.
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    I am wondering if the originator and host of this discussion would be willing to expand it to include the '79-'83 280ZX as well. This is an orphan with no active Edmunds discussion. It is very different from the early 300ZX, but the two models share a similar fate: Collectively, they are regarded and disparaged as the bridge between the original landmark 240/260/280Z and the mighty second-gen 300ZX. They represent the time when Nissan got lost in the wilderness of heavier, more luxurious semi-boulevard cruisers. For better or worse, though, a lot of us still own and love these cars.

    Mine is an '82 280ZX 2-seat 5-speed that I bought new [almost - a dealer demo] 20 years ago. It is an 80's metallic brown, the same color mocked by Automobile Mag a few issues ago. Aside from replacing the starter motor, it has been rock-solid reliable; it still has the original clutch at 115,000 miles. It is also a very beautiful car, at least in my eyes and those of a legion of strangers making that observation over 20 years. Unfortunately, since it became the third car in a 2-car garage family about 10 years ago, that beauty is succumbing to rust. Like jcliffo, I can't imagine parting with it, even though it has been relegated to the background at times by an old Corvette and a new BMW. It costs next to nothing to own. So, I am instead embarked on an amateur (VERY amateur) cosmetic resto, selectively grinding, filling, sanding, spraying, compounding, etc. Frankly, I could use some advice.

    Thanks for your consideration.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Okay with me if it's okay with jcliffro--I don't want to change his topic title without his approval.

    Shifty the Host

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  • jcliffrojcliffro Posts: 108
    I have no objection to expanding the discussion to include earlier Z models. I just happen to favor the look of the 1984-1986 models best. I did not like the color coordinated bumpers of the later models, so felt like there should be some special bond between the 84-86 owners. But input from any Z owner who can't part with his baby is always good to hear.
    I can't believe you still have the original clutch on your 1982 Z. But I think I have a heavy left foot, especially while backing down my long driveway; mine had to be replaced at about 60,000 miles and at 13 years of age (not too bad since most of the mileage has been city mileage).
    With the stock market like it is, I decided to hold off on getting a second car, so the Z remains my one and only and predict it will be for some time.
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    Thanks for openning up the discussion. Now if we could just get some more participants.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well give it time. Often it helps to include a link or photo of your own to get things rolling. Somebody might dig up a good history of the Z car on the web, for instance. Also if you see an an interesting Z for sale on Ebay, you could post that link, too.

    I could talk some about values and possible collectible status in the future.

    We could also go to the other boards and invite Nissan people over here.

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  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Or we could just limit this to the kickin' 1990-1996 Turbo models. Vero saw that silver one at the mall parking lot exactly one week ago and still dreams of it every night.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well go buy one. They aren't that expensive!

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  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,704
    How much do you think '90s ZX cars would sell for?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    A clean driver? Oh, maybe $6,500-7,500. They are priced like nice used cars, not collectibles...by that I mean the older they are the less they cost, as opposed to a collectible, which, usually, costs more as it gets older.

    Of course, someday the 300ZX might bottom out and start to rise again, but not anytime soon since there are a lot of them surviving.

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  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Shifty, the chance of me finding a nice, clean one here in the Detroit area is approximately

    ZILCH

    as you might have realized.
  • pap5pap5 Posts: 144
    I've yet to see a twin turbo priced below 5 figures, and even the non-turbos in decent shape seem to go no lower than about $10,000, at least here in the D.C. market. Not that I've looked extensively as a potential buyer would.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well, pap5, people can ask whatever they want, but if you try to sell a daily driver out here for $10K, well, you might, but you'll wait a long long time. I tried to come up with a price where the car would actively sell, and where I think the majority of them do trade hands.

    It's one thing for an owner to ask $10K, but it's another when you wave $8,000 in cash under his nose and his phone hasn't rung in two weeks.

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  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    There was a red late-1980s 300ZX parked in front of Ann Arbor Nissan today, not for sale, must have been in for service?
  • cevans2cevans2 Posts: 23
    Shifty,

    Maybe you aren't supposed to do this, but can you recommend the best methods/locations to find a nice, good condition Z in NYC area? I'll travel to find something, but I hesitate to drop 8Gs to a private seller. Maybe that's my only option, though. Maybe you could drop me a private e-mail, if it's against the rules? (check my profile)
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    That chronicles the history of the Z car, noting changes in models? Like, when did the Z finally get a 5 speed? I'd like to trace the changes from model to model, body, trim, mechanicals, etc.

    Thanks!

    Hal
  • dokichdokich Posts: 1
    I'm glad I stumbled on this conversation. I just had a 1991 300zx for sale on ebay, asking $7700. I received no takers! I've taken good care of it, always doing the scheduled maintenance. I'm now thinking of holding onto it, hoping I can go from my current 120,000 miles to 180,000. I've been trying to locate other owner's war stories, hoping to establish how likely it is I'll get to 180,000 without major $$ repairs. So far the money I've had to put into repairs are: fuel leak, fixed by replacing various hoses & the fuel cap. Broken clutch slave cylinder & failed clutch "pivot" at the throwout bearing fork (separate incidents).

    Also, I had to laugh at the remark above about finding a clean one in Detroit. I was living in Plymouth, MIchigan when I decided I wanted to buy a used one, black leather on black, non-turbo. I was using cars.com, looking all over the US, wondering how much chance I was willing to take by flying out to a potential car and driving it home, when I found one on cars.com with 78,000 miles from a little old lady in Westland, MI, who only drove it in the summer! It had new tires and a new clutch and new timing belt. Lucked out that time.

    Would like to hear others' high mileage stories, hopefully tales of victory with little repair costs. Are there any other 300zx enthusiast sites that might help me find out this type of info?

    Andy
  • jaserbjaserb Posts: 858
    www.zhome.com is a good site for the older Z's - I got a lot of good info there when I owned my 260. Hal, the Z got a 5-speed option starting with the '77 280Z. I debated putting one in my 260 (a bolt in swap) but never bothered. Both the 4 and 5 speeds from the early Z's were pretty notchy but very durable. By '84 when the 300ZX came out I think the 5 speed was standard.

    -Jason
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Yeah, the internet sites are the way to go to search for a Z because you can dial in geogrpahy and price into your search.

    There's also www.traderonline.com, and use the "collector car" option as well as the normal "used car" option. Sometimes you get different listings that way.

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  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    Thanks! That site is VERY helpful!

    Hal
  • cevans2cevans2 Posts: 23
    That site was very good Mr. Shift, even though I didn't find anything I liked. I'm going to try to be patient and wait for something I like to become available. Hopefully with the 350Zs coming out, more people will give up their 300ZXs. I'm seeing a lot of automatics out there, but I want a 5-speed. Next question: anybody have any info on the reliability of the 5-speeds? I know the engines are pretty bullet-proof if properly maintained, but I wonder about the trannys. This is another reason I like to deal with dealerships - someone to go after if my mechanic finds something wrong in the immediate post-purchase checkup.
  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    dokich: re the Westland car... what a find! wow! Generally, Plymouth/Canton/Westland is the last place on Earth I'd look for good used cars (outside than dying Aerostars or Tauruses, I mean).

    huh? 300ZX owners will give up their machines for new 350Zs?! Do you reallllly think so?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    ZX trannies are nice gearboxes.

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  • sebringjxisebringjxi Posts: 140
    has a rather dusty used car lot that is filled with 240-260-280Z's. I bet he's got a dozen, along with a handful of BMW coupes, Dodge "lil' red wagon" trucks and some other odd junk. He acts like he's a "purveyor of exotic motorcars" but he's really just a used car guy that thinks everything he's got is a "classic". Tried to tell me the Spitfire with the disintegrating interior, fading paint and crackling rear window was a $4500 car--more if it was in Nashville. Nashville's only an hour away and if it was worth $4500 here or there, I'm next in line to date Lori Morgan!

    If you are near Western Kentucky or passing through with an interest in Z's you might want to stop in. I'll gladly provide his name, address and phone number to anyone interested.....

    Later,

    Hal
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Sounds more like a graveyard for the dead.

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  • verozahlverozahl Posts: 574
    Found a 1985 300ZX for sale in Cheboygan last night at a used car lot. White.
  • jcliffrojcliffro Posts: 108
    Anyone know how often one is supposed to change the timing belt on the 1985 300ZX? I thought it was at 40,000 miles but my very knowledgeable mechanic said every 50,000. I think I had it changed the first time around 40,000 so I was going to wait until 85,000 miles, but don't want to push it to that if the correct time to change is every 40,000 miles. Thanks in advance.....
  • cevans2cevans2 Posts: 23
    Looks like this discussion has been dead a few days but hopefully somebody will take a look. I'm looking at a mint condition 91 300ZX 5speed fully loaded except for turbo. I hear people mention that these cars sometimes have electrical problems. Can anyone tell specifically about some of these problems. I think I can get the car for about $7500 - it has 94K on it. Is that a good price. Any insight would be appreciated.
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