Datsun, Nissan, 280, 280Z, Z car, 1978, barn find, easy restoration

Price: - Item location: Nampa, Idaho, United States
  • Make: Datsun
  • Model: Z-Series
  • SubModel: 280 Z
  • Type: Fastback
  • Year: 1978
  • Mileage: 101,622
  • VIN: HLS30442248
  • Color: Custom Violet color
  • Engine size: L28 MPFI OHC 2.8L Inline six
  • Number of cylinders: 6
  • Power options: Air Conditioning
  • Fuel: Gasoline
  • Transmission: Manual
  • Drive type: RWD
  • Interior color: Black
  • Drive side: Left-hand drive
  • Vehicle Title: Clear
  • Want to buy? Contact seller!

1978 Datsun Z-Series

We're listing this incredible Z car for a friend. I've been around this car for about 7 years now. As I understand the story, the car was found in a barn in Washington state, about 20 years before we met the family. It was brought home and work began to get the car restored, as a father and son project. Soon thereafter, there was a divorce and the dad just left the car for his son, who never really wanted it after that. The car was kept inside for a while and was always driveable. Every year or so they would drive it for a little while in good weather, but by winter it returned to the garage. Then they moved and couldn't keep it inside, so the paint started to suffer. About 2 years ago they asked me to "get it going again", and I had to replace some hoses and the thermostat. Afterwards, I drove it for 2 weeks to work and back, which is a 50 mile round trip with almost exactly half being highway and the other in mixed city traffic. It ran and drove great! Plenty of power! And after 2 tanks of fuel, I averaged 25 MPG for both tanks. Then it got parked again. Now they have finally decided to sell it instead of letting it go to waste.
I'm not a big sports car guy, and I've never has my hands on a Z car before, but this is hard to sell for me. I really want to keep it for myself. But it doesn't fit into my current lifestyle, and I have other projects ahead of it that I want more. This car is so rust free it's insane! The body is nearly perfect as far as I can tell. Never even a blown tire to tear up a fenderwell. All of the lines are good and the door gaps are great with an exception on one door that looks to be a tiny bit low, but still functions great.
From what I can determine, the car was partially disassembled to paint it. Based on the fact that the jambs and other areas are the violet color, but the inside and underhood areas are the steel blue color. They put down an adhesive type insulation, probably Hushmat. Then installed a new full carpet kit with matching dash cover. It's wired for an amplifier and has an older head unit and some 3-way 5" round speakers in the back. And I believe that you can see everything else from the pictures.
When I drove the car two years ago, the transmisson was hard to shift, and I thought that the syncros were gone, because of how it shifted. But I recently discovered that the master cylinder cap is cracked and the reservoir was dry. (I sure felt dumb for overlooking that!) Anyway, it's better now that I added some fluid, but it should be properly bled and a good cap put on. The rear end seemed to have a slight sing in it. I was going to open it up and try adjusting the pinion depth. But I'll leave it up to you.
Bringing it home this time she was running like trash. I flushed out the old gas, and changed to spark plugs and wires. Then I set the timing and "played" with the idle air screw for some minor improvement. It runs better but still not quite what it was. I really don't want to dig into it any further. I can drive it anyplace nearby to meet the transport truck if necessary. But unless you're extremely adventurous, I would not try to drive it home.
This car appears to me to be an unmolested original. I believe that every part that it came with is still there, aside from the muffler. I even saw a heat shield that protects the A-Arm bushing from the heat of the exhaust pipe! You will find it in the pictures. It has factory A/C, but I don't believe the power is connected to it. I've never tried to run it. I've also not checked to rear window defroster, but it has one.
This car could go in any direction you want. Restore to original or customize it to your heart's content. If there's a picture that I didn't get that you want, just let me know and I'll get it to you. Even though she looks a little rough, it's better than the pictures show. You will be pleasantly surprised with the quality of this car. With not much work, this would be a great car to drive, show or race. I know that once it's gone I will probably kick myself for letting it get away. But you won't be disappointed.