1979 Datsun 280ZX – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Datsun 280zx front Datsun 280zx front

Ready to race! Fully built with no expense spared

Like a musician’s notorious sophomore album; a car maker’s follow-up to any successful model is a hard thing to do.

In the case of Datsun/Nissan’s Z-car: they had burst on to the scene with the all-round fantastic 240z sports car, and enjoyed following success with the more GT-esque 260z.

By the time the third-generation 280ZX arrived, its competitors had moved on. It battled its own stigma set by its sporting 240z forbearer, but was now a through and through GT cruiser. Buyer’s noted that the cars visually hadn’t evolved much, and carried over much of its mechanical architecture: SOHC inline-six (up to 2.8lts in this generation), independent suspension, unitary construction.

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They’re still a beautifully smooth thing to drive in factory form; and with their slick five-speed gearbox, offered plenty of enjoyment and engagement for the keen drivers.

The 1979 Datsun 280ZX on sale here isn’t exactly in factory form, but has the wick turned up in almost every metric.

We suspect it originally is a Japanese import HS130 two-seater coupe, as we believe only the more awkward-looking 2+2s were officially sold in Australia.

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The seller has built this car up to a capable clubsprint car, with seemingly no expense.

We won’t go over the entire build list, you’ll have to hit the link to the full listing at the bottom.

But virtually everything under the car has been rebuilt: suspension, brakes, bushes, differential, gearbox and cooling system. And of course the engine which has been bored out to 2.95lts with oversized 89mm pistons, ported head and forged internals.

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The gearbox has been rebuilt at Hollinger, with stopping power provided by later Z32 300ZX brakes.

For the motorsport-minded of you out there, this is a serious bit of kit and would be great fun at clubsprint track days or tarmac rallies. It still has a full interior too, and seems to perfectly straddle the line as a street car with lap-bashing ability.

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The seller states that many parts removed in the build are able to be included with the sale: air-conditioning, cruise control, factory driver’s seat.

 The car is based in Victoria and is listed for $35,000.

Check out the full listing here, and perhaps we’ll see you at the next Winton day!

 

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