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Alright, I was born with a passion for cars. I developed a passion for JDM when I was 9 or 10, and fell in love with the S30 when I was probably 12. Well, now I'm 15 and it's time to buy one. I have found two that seriously caught my eye so far, both within a days drive, and both don't run at the moment. The first is listed at 3k and the seller says it ran late last year but hasnt been started since then, but that it should run fine once I drop a new battery into it and fix one of the radiator mounts, which should be easy. The second car is listed at 1500, has an l28 in it with 60k miles, and next to no rust. The problem is that it's in a million pieces. Everything thats not part of the engine isn't on the car, but comes with it as the owner was in the process of restoring it but is no longer able to. So basically the interior is completely stripped, theres no glass on the car, no lights or trim, etc. I feel like I'd be capable of putting these back together but my biggest problem is that the wiring harness isn't connected, and I know jack sh*t about wiring. I don't need a daily driver atm, but this car would be used as one once I got it running, although my daily commute is about 1/4th mile to school. My dad says I should buy the first one even though it's more expensive just because it's not gonna take nearly as much work, but I'd rather have the second one because 1. I don't mind working on it and 2. it's a lot cheaper and I can put that extra cash towards some upgrades (maybe towards an rb swap👀). What do you guys think I should do? Thanks

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What condition are these cars in? What year are they?

 

Given that you are 15, likely have little money, skills, etc. I'd probably get the first one, get it running and driving well, and focus on fixing all the things that have degraded over the years. Forget about the RB swap until you're older. Dealing with someone's project when you are totally unfamiliar with the platform is a pain.

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Welcome to the forums.

 

Of the two choices, I'd make the guy a stipulation on buying the car at that price, if it doesn't run with a new battery, then you have some negotiating room. 

 

I agree with turbo 930. I would honestly put thoughts of a swap out of your head for the moment. Spend it on getting things nice and reliable. Have you talked to your dad about insurance? A 16 year old with a 40+ year old 2 door sports car is going to cost an arm and a leg. Make sure you have some money saved up for things like insurance, gas, and basic maintenance. Once you know the car won't be troubling you any more, then you can start looking into making a mod fund.

 

Keep in mind an engine swap is quite a bit more than just an engine and a transmission. 

 

 

 

 

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Is the wiring harness complete and in good condition? It just being out of the car is not too bad due to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke

 

The nice thing is that there are far less hidden surprises on a dismantled car IF!!!! you trust the seller everything is there and in good condition.

Things to consider:

-can you run a compression check? If so do it! You don´t want to start with rebuilding parts you can´t do on your own

-in my opinion, the disassembled car gives you more room to negotiate

-post pictures here! Just do it and maybe someone here will spot a dealbreaker, making your decision much easier

 

 

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7 hours ago, rturbo 930 said:

What condition are these cars in? What year are they?

 

Given that you are 15, likely have little money, skills, etc. I'd probably get the first one, get it running and driving well, and focus on fixing all the things that have degraded over the years. Forget about the RB swap until you're older. Dealing with someone's project when you are totally unfamiliar with the platform is a pain.

The first is a '74 260z with a lot of surface rust, but as far as I can tell most of it doesn't go through. The exterior is in great condition but he says the interior needs a bit of work. It was also involved in a small accident, but as far as I know will run fine once I drop a new battery in it.

The second is a 280z, has gone through extensive rust repair and is in much better condition than the first, but as I said is in a million pieces. 

As for the swap, I'm planning on waiting a few years but once I have the money for it my hearts set on it

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6 hours ago, seattlejester said:

Welcome to the forums.

 

Of the two choices, I'd make the guy a stipulation on buying the car at that price, if it doesn't run with a new battery, then you have some negotiating room. 

 

I agree with turbo 930. I would honestly put thoughts of a swap out of your head for the moment. Spend it on getting things nice and reliable. Have you talked to your dad about insurance? A 16 year old with a 40+ year old 2 door sports car is going to cost an arm and a leg. Make sure you have some money saved up for things like insurance, gas, and basic maintenance. Once you know the car won't be troubling you any more, then you can start looking into making a mod fund.

 

Keep in mind an engine swap is quite a bit more than just an engine and a transmission. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your advice, I'll definitely use that. 

As for money for insurance/gas, I talked with my dad about it and he has said he'll help with gas and insurance but understandably isn't gonna pay for all of it. I do have a job at the moment though.

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3 hours ago, Villeman said:

Is the wiring harness complete and in good condition? It just being out of the car is not too bad due to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poka-yoke

 

The nice thing is that there are far less hidden surprises on a dismantled car IF!!!! you trust the seller everything is there and in good condition.

Things to consider:

-can you run a compression check? If so do it! You don´t want to start with rebuilding parts you can´t do on your own

-in my opinion, the disassembled car gives you more room to negotiate

-post pictures here! Just do it and maybe someone here will spot a dealbreaker, making your decision much easier

 

 

I'm not sure about the harness, I just messaged him and asked. 

As far as I can tell everything is in good condition. I won't be able to run a compression check as the car is a solid days drive from here. 

Pics-The red one is the first car

 

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Welcome to the forum, and kudos to you for your willingness to take on a 45 year old car as your first!

 

Can't disagree with anything posted by the others, but your choice really comes down to what you want from this purchase.  If you want something that you can drive sometime in the near future and work on little by little, the first car is probably your best choice.  If you really don't care about having a running/driving Z anytime in the near future, but really enjoy mechanical work and piddling away for hours on end in the garage, then the bigger project car might be more fun for you.

 

Our motto here is "there is no best".  What works wonderfully for someone may be a terrible solution for someone else.  Decide what you really want out of this first car purchase, and proceed from there.  Either way, you'll learn a bunch and hopefully really enjoy being a Z-car owner.  :-)

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The thing with the repaired car is that out of the people doing DIY backyard repairs, there is a wide range of ability to be observed - some of it very impressive, some of it scary. I can't really see the repairs in your pics, but I'd take a good look at the quality of the work that was done there.

 

Also, how well were the parts labeled and organized? Are all the bolts in a big box, or were they put into bags and labeled? Still leaning toward the complete car. Having a running car is a great way of keeping your motivation up, too.

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3 hours ago, jhm said:

Welcome to the forum, and kudos to you for your willingness to take on a 45 year old car as your first!

 

Can't disagree with anything posted by the others, but your choice really comes down to what you want from this purchase.  If you want something that you can drive sometime in the near future and work on little by little, the first car is probably your best choice.  If you really don't care about having a running/driving Z anytime in the near future, but really enjoy mechanical work and piddling away for hours on end in the garage, then the bigger project car might be more fun for you.

 

Our motto here is "there is no best".  What works wonderfully for someone may be a terrible solution for someone else.  Decide what you really want out of this first car purchase, and proceed from there.  Either way, you'll learn a bunch and hopefully really enjoy being a Z-car owner.  :-)

Thanks for your advice, I'd obviously like something that drives now but if waiting a while and working on it more means that I end up with a better car, I'd much rather do that.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, rturbo 930 said:

The thing with the repaired car is that out of the people doing DIY backyard repairs, there is a wide range of ability to be observed - some of it very impressive, some of it scary. I can't really see the repairs in your pics, but I'd take a good look at the quality of the work that was done there.

 

Also, how well were the parts labeled and organized? Are all the bolts in a big box, or were they put into bags and labeled? Still leaning toward the complete car. Having a running car is a great way of keeping your motivation up, too.

 

Thanks, I'll be sure it's a quality job before I pull the trigger. I just messaged him about the organization.

 

Villeman, he said the wiring harness is in good condition apart from one splice. 

Edited by RomanNoodles11

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Write off the 280.  It would be a good bet if you knew what you were doing, but at this point you don't.  A 280 that's powered by 40 year old electronics can be difficult to keep running in the first place.  Assembling one out of parts?   You're asking for heartache.

 

The 260 is much simpler to get running, even if it does have some rust on it.  (and it will have MUCH more than you think!)  Like the others have said, bring a battery and see if it will run before you buy it.    Don't bother swapping out the crappy carburetors for better ones because you're going to swap the entire engine soon anyway, just run it for a year and learn the ins and outs of owning an S30 before you take it apart.  You may decide that you don't like the headache of owning an old car!  It's not nearly as easy as owning a car that's 20 years younger.  No shame in that - sometimes it's much more pleasant to look at old cars than it is to own one of them. 


Oh, and if any Z you look at has rust (and all of them at this price level do) be prepared to get REAL familiar with a welding rig.  Ask me how I know.


Good luck, my friend!  I hope you end up loving Z's as much as we do!

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1 hour ago, RPMS said:

Write off the 280.  It would be a good bet if you knew what you were doing, but at this point you don't.  A 280 that's powered by 40 year old electronics can be difficult to keep running in the first place.  Assembling one out of parts?   You're asking for heartache.

 

The 260 is much simpler to get running, even if it does have some rust on it.  (and it will have MUCH more than you think!)  Like the others have said, bring a battery and see if it will run before you buy it.    Don't bother swapping out the crappy carburetors for better ones because you're going to swap the entire engine soon anyway, just run it for a year and learn the ins and outs of owning an S30 before you take it apart.  You may decide that you don't like the headache of owning an old car!  It's not nearly as easy as owning a car that's 20 years younger.  No shame in that - sometimes it's much more pleasant to look at old cars than it is to own one of them. 


Oh, and if any Z you look at has rust (and all of them at this price level do) be prepared to get REAL familiar with a welding rig.  Ask me how I know.


Good luck, my friend!  I hope you end up loving Z's as much as we do!

Thanks for the advice, I think I'm starting to lean towards the 260. Gonna try and make plans to meet with the guy next weekend

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