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kontkommer

Dutch Z newbie in need of opinions on a 280Z (pictures)

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Hi guys,

 

I'm Z enthusiast from The Netherlands and right now I'm hunting for my first Z. Well it's not my first because I've owned two 350Z's and a 300ZX TT but this will be my first Datsun S30 Z and also my first classic car / oldtimer. Right now I own a 2013 Ford Focus ST Wagon as my daily and family car but in the last 10 years I've had a number of Japanese performance cars: Nissan 350Z, Honda S2000, Impreza GT Turbo Wagon, 300ZX TT and a 1991 Miata. Most heavily modified with coilovers, turbo upgrades, big brake kits etc etc.

 

The Datsun Z has been my dream car for more than 10 years and in my mind it was just too expensive and too much work to ever make that dream a reality. But around two weeks ago I had an epiphany when I realised that I can actually buy one now. I'm earning more than enough money as a freelance web developer and I have the skills to do all the mechanical work apart from welding (haven't been to a dealer in 10 years for repairs or maintenance). The only "problem" is that I don't own a garage that is big enough to store a Z but I'm already looking for one to rent in my area which shouldn't be a problem.

 

My plan for the Z is buy one that is rust free (or almost), has a manual gearbox and runs well so I can basically start using it right away. Drive it to work on nice days and do some drives in the weekends. Get to know the car and it's problems and then start improving it at a slow a steady pace. I will start with fixing the small problems and then look into making it handle better and look better. Improving power is at the bottom of my list. I'm in no hurry and I hope this will be that car that I will never sell and pass on to my son in 30 years time.

 

I have a budget of 10.000 to 15.000 euro which is kind of tight for a nice Z here in The Netherlands. A nice restored 240Z costs around 30-40, a good one 20-30 and okay ones seem to start around 16. I actually have a preference for a 280Z because those seem to be a little cheaper and have some improvements for regular road use like a stiffer frame and fuel injection. After placing an wanted advert a nice guy contacted me and told me he was importing a 280z and two Z31's from California. He told me he came across this 280Z that was virtually rust free, had a recent 6000 dollar paint job, a 4000 dollar interior job and a recent engine rebuild done and that he made a low ball offer that to his own surprise was accepted. He told me his asking price which is well within my budget and that I have first dibs on the car. Yeah I know it all sounds a bit too good to be true but then he send me the pictures I was pleasantly surprised because it really does look like a very good car. To me anyways but I'm a new to Z's and I might overlook things that you guys notice right away...

 

That is why I would like to hear your first impressions on this car. The license plate makes me think this car was owned by a enthusiast which would kind of make the whole story plausible. Hell maybe even some people here know this particular car? So please let me know what you guys think.

 

Thnx!

 

Reinier

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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Welcome to the forums.

 

The car looks pretty clean, although if it had recent bodywork it could be hiding things. I wish I had some pictures of the undercarriage to look at. 

 

Paint can be pretty hard to tell in pictures, so I can't comment too much on that, but I'm struggling to see the fruits of $4000 spent on the interior. The seats look reupholstered, maybe a new shift knob, maybe a new shift boot, a half cap for the dash, along with a center arm rest can be noted. Nice touches, but I'm not sure I'd go throw around $4000 as the number spent on it. At that level I almost expect something big like a new harness or an electric power steering setup or something to make sense of the value.

 

I can't say you are getting a screaming deal or anything, but having someone facilitate the sale, have it shipped to europe, then to you is a pretty hard thing I imagine. I will say your budget is pretty healthy might be worth it to look into how much import and tarifs will cost and message one of the reputable Z shops to see if they have anything or know any customers that might be looking to sell a really clean car.

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Thnx for your reply. I agree with you on those numbers spent on the paint and interior. I'm sure they were part of a sale pitch.

 

How much would a nice clean 280Z sell for in The States? I thought about importing one myself but that would be a big risk as I have to buy it without seeing and driving it.

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Ask for underneath photos. Inside the front fender wheels looking at the back of the fenders, and the lower area behind where the crossmember mounts to the body. Those are common rust points on a lot I've seen around here. A fresh painted car can be just fine, or hide a lot. I think it was called Project Hugo on youtube where a guy in Sweden bought a "rust free" Z, and half the car ended up being covered in fiberglass, so get as many underneath pictures as you are able to. Tell him to put his phone on video and stick it under there and move it around slowly at the minimum so you can get a good idea of the general condition down there.

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What socorob says is quite true, a nice sheet of fiberglass might look complete, but would be hiding a lot of rot underneath. Looking from underneath would be a pretty good indicator of repair or at least intactness of the stock floor.

 

Carpet can hide a lot as well, I knew someone that had like 4-5 different colors underneath his carpet, pretty funny because once the carpet and the floor mats were in you couldn't tell at all. Getting a shot with the carpet lifted up might be nice if possible.

 

A good condition stockish 280z would probably fetch 4-7k, sellers will ask for more, but that is probably what they are worth and would sell at readily. A 240z would probably be from 5k-10k in good stock condition. Those numbers are pretty variable, as things like color, interior color, transmissions, maintenance, location among others can play a really big factor. Once something has been "restored" or modified though things kind of go out the window on trying to get a good price estimate. 

 

One thing I will note, the painting of the whole engine like that I usually only see on tractor engines or old american motors. Things like the crank pulley being painted is kind of odd to me. While I've cheaped out on a rebuild, I would almost expect at least a new oil pump.

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Posted (edited)

My MAJOR  concern is big numbers. 6k paintjob!!!! 4K Interior!!!! . Let me guess, no receipts? If you seller cannot bring up receipts for 10k in recent work, just walk away. I know its hard, annoying and sucks. Took me 2 years. Just don´t fall fo big numbers, thats all I am saying

 

+ Looks like the tire well has no sound deadening, rest of the trunk has.... at least 76 the tire well had sound deadening in there. Why take it out only partly? (please correct if 77-78 was different)

+the dogleg to door clearance looks odd....

+dashcap (should be possible in a 4k interor job)

+overspray on the wiring harness in the trunk. Why spray the inside of a rust free car....

 

ask for a battery tray picture. Frame rails. Check the dogleg area with a magnet. Yes, blue plates are nice.

Edited by Villeman

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Good eye Villeman!  That dogleg has been patched for sure.  Zoom all the way into the bottom on the dogleg and you can see the crappy body work underneath the paint.  Also, it looks like rust bubbles underneath the paint on the left side hatch area. +1 *close up* pictures of the battery tray and underbody, especially the frame rails.  I would be very skeptical of anybody who claims a rust free car unless they have the bare metal pictures to prove it.  Otherwise, it's all just talk.

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Posted (edited)

kontkommer, should I just get you aquainted with some proper Datsun importers over here? :)

Just the "feel" I get from that car scares me away to be honest

 

For your money you can still get a "survivor" with enough patience, and there are people out there who can bring one along. Do you already know Romas?

 

+a proper engine rebuilder would have used the right clamps for the fuel lines

 

Edited by Villeman

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Posted (edited)

Just look for DCW classics on facebook or google him. He may help you get your 280z and he is very direct and honest in my opinion. He also knows these cars inside out and regularly goes to the states to get cars.

Edited by Villeman

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For this particular car in California, I wouldn't be surprised if a HybridZ member lived nearby and would be willing to go inspect it in person for you.  Same goes for any other car that catches your fancy in the U.S.

 

Are you including Facebook in your search as well?  I've seen a few knowledgeable and reputable importer/exporter on the FB Z-car pages that may be of assistance to you.

 

Good luck and I hope you find the Z of your dreams!

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This car is already on a ship heading for Europe. I'm not the one importing but I've spoken to the guy who is and I have first dibs on the car. So basically I can just have a good look when it arrives here and then decide.

 

I did have a quick look on Facebook but most cars I saw there were quite expensive.

 

Importing a car myself is definitely an option so if anyone know of a decent Z for sale, let me know!

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Posted (edited)

I'm not seeing any overspray? Someone point it out to me. (Edit: I see it, wouldn't assume it was due to rust, but hard to say. Accident damage is also a possibility.) Also, I don't recall the tire well having sound deadening. The interior was painted after sound deadening was applied, and my spare tire well was painted, so I think that's original, rather than the sound deadening having been removed. The dog leg does look to have been repaired based on the panel gap. It immediately widens just above the lower body line, suggesting that there could be an additional layer of metal there, which suggests to me it was not done correctly. I see what looks like a few rust bubbles in the hatch area.

 

There definitely isn't $4k of work in the interior. It has a half cap, an arm rest that looks to be damaged, and the door panels are not the original style, neither are the seats, although they do look like they're in decent condition. Maybe they overpaid.

 

It could be a good car. Based on the underside, which I'm assuming is original, I'd bet it was a pretty good car to start with. I'd take a good hard look where work was done though, moreso than you would on a car that was unrestored.

 

No idea what it's worth, but a guy on classiczcars bought a car a bit like that, perhaps a bit nicer, for about $15k, IIRC. Seems like really clean 280Zs are going for good numbers now.

Edited by rturbo 930

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Well, I guess I'll have to correct myself, because I just went and looked, and my spare tire well did indeed have sound deadening in it, and it's a 1/76 car. It's been a long, long while since I've looked at that part of the car, so I guess I just forgot what it looked like. It's possible that the later cars with small tire well didn't get sound deadening.

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Posted (edited)

Lucas (Javelinz) just recently started taking his 1978 apart.  He posted up a picture of his spare tire well on instagram a while ago.  It's perfect, no rust (not surprising - he's the second owner and it's an Arizona car...)  The car was all original up until a couple of years ago when he bought another driver and started on his modifications.  

 

There is no sound deadening material under the space-saver spare tire on the '77-'78 280Z's.  Check "ultra.heaven" on instagram and you'll see his picture.  (If I wasn't a hundred, I'd probably know how to get the pic off my instagram and post it up here...  I'm lucky just to know how to pull up the instagram and look at stuff. :blink:)

Edited by cgsheen

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Hi guys. Just wanted to let you guys know that I bought the car. The car looked and drove really well.

 

Paint 8/10. Interior 8/10. Engine & gearbox 10/10. Handling 10/10.

 

Of course it needs some work here and there but I could definitely see that someone has spent some serious money on this car the last few years.

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