Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hi, thanks for the add. I have come across a one owner, '78, ~40k miles, no rust, original paint, 5-speed, 280. No dents or dings. The paint looks like it will come back with some attention. Interior is original and mint. No fading or cracks. Stored inside its whole life. Not run or moved in the last 15 years. Sorry, I don't have any pics. It seems to be for sale, but not actively listed. Any ballpark's on what it might be worth. I can see Z's have been escalating recently, but the higher prices seem to be focused on the 240's vs. the 280's. If I can get it, I will need lots of advise on how to bring it back to life. Thanks!

Edited by TMagda
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's what you say, 40K miles is suspect to me but pictures of the rubber on the pedals will show.  I'd guess $10,000?

Please dont try and crank it as it sits now, it'll suck all the cruddy gas through the EFI system and cause more problems. If you want to crank it before purchase pull the suction hose off the fuel pump and stick it in a clean/fresh gas can and pour a cap full of oil in each spark plug hole. Get some pictures posted up when and if you get it. We all love true time capsules. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For buying purposes I'd start at about $4,000 (no offense site), since it doesn't run.  It could take a lot of work.  But it all depends on why you're buying it.  If you're buying it to restore, it might be worth more.  If you're buying it to drive, and you don't know a lot about old cars, it could be worth a lot less since you'll be spending much time and money on it.  If you're buying it as a project to work on for fun, 3-4 seems about right, if it's in the shape it seems to be in.  Interior parts in good condition are really hard to find, and most old 280Z's, especially in your part of the country, are very rusty.

Probably depends on who's selling it and why, also.  If the original owner is selling it, he/she might think it's of high value.  If it's an estate sale or similar, an easy sale might be in order.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the input! I have some basic mechanical skills. I have rebuilt a 302 Chevrolet motor, brake jobs, clutch changes, etc... I am interested in this particular car to keep and drive. It is a carbon copy of the '78 I bought in 1980! I believe the mileage to be true due to the condition of the interior and I did look at the pedal wear! This was a weekend car, never a daily driver. Good tips on the first start. I asked the owner not to try to start it. This transaction will be a bit drawn out as the owner is out of state for the winter and does not want to be bothered with the sale until returning in the spring. I'm thinking it will need consumables, some seals, tires, brakes, cleaning, etc... There is no obvious rust. It is a bit far away from my house and a neighbor showed it to me so I had very little time to go over it. I have a verbal commitment to the right of first refusal - we'll see how that goes... I was thinking $7,000 to $10,000.

Edited by TMagda

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This site is supposed to be based on actual sales.  Pretty sure they start with a a running engine and drivable car though.  Your money...

https://www.hagerty.com/apps/valuationtools/1978-datsun-280z

https://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/Classifications-and-Conditions

https://www.hagerty.com/valuationtools/About-our-prices

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it's not actively listed it, they may not know the market. Are they open to offers? I guess my point is don't over pay if you don't have to. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Price and value are very personal things I think. For me, if I wanted a 78 280z and the car is TRULY as you describe, and you want the car, I would try to keep it off the market and come to a fair price for you and the seller. The key here is, does the condition align with the words you use in your description? Does it really have 40k miles? Lots of little signs will tell you whether it does or not, even absent of records. What is the condition of the engine compartment and undercarriage? Do you see enough evidence of cad plating to make the 40k story reasonable? Are original hoses and plug wires present? Is the interior original and in the condition it should be at 40k miles? As Site says, are the pedals worn? Is door weatherstripping still in really good shape? No doubt, all of these won't be present in any 40 year old car but  some combination of them can start to tell you whether the 40k story makes sense or not.

Continuing on with condition...is the car truly rust free? Look everywhere- under battery, under master cylinder, frame rails, floors, rocker panels, and hatch deck corners are all common rust areas. Because this car has molded carpet in the floors I doubt the owner will let you remove the carpet to look for floor rust. Still, look closely at the floors, floor plugs and carpet. Any evidence of prolonged moisture on the carpet? Any evidence of rust around floor plugs and seams?

Has the car ever been wrecked and repaired? Go over the body thoroughly. Do panels line up? Look closely at the front engine area frame rails. Are there any ripples where the car has been hit and fixed? If the owner will let you, remove the rear carpet and side plastic panels. This will show whether the rear quarter panels have been repaired and whether the rear has been hit.

Have sections of the original paint been repainted?

Is the roof dented?

Since the car hasn't been running in 15 years, it is going to be hard to determine how well it runs, whether or not the transmission shifts smoothly, etc. For me, the thing I would really want to know is what the compression numbers look like. If the owner is willing to let you agree on a price IF the compression numbers look good then I wouldn't hesitate to oil the cylinders a bit (through the plugs), let it sit a few days, manually turn the engine, change the oil, and then try to start it. If it ran 15 years ago, it may very well start. If you can do this then do a compression test and report back. This forum has multiple posts describing how to do a compression test. There are also multiple posts on waking up a car that has been sitting.

So, if everything checks out regarding condition and compression, just know that you will have a decent amount of mechanical refreshing work to do. To me, this kind of work is fun. Body work, however, not so much.

- You will need to rebuild the brakes (hydraulics and everything)

- Basic tune-up stuff

- Replace fluids and oil (engine, diff, trans, coolant),

- Get cooling system in shape which will probably involve some hoses, cleaning out the radiator, water pump possibly, etc.

- Tires.

- You will almost certainly need to rebuild the clutch hydraulics (master, slave, clutch hose). As you get the car driving you will know whether the clutch / pressure plate need to be replaced.

 - Most likely you will need to refresh the suspension. Some or all of the following are possible- bushings, tie rods, ball joints, repack wheel bearings, strut inserts, etc. I would think of this as phase 2 after you get the car running and brakes refreshed.

Back to value. So, for me, even though the car has been sitting 15 years and even though the car will need the kind of refresh work I describe above, if the car is in the condition you describe above, it is exactly the kind of car you want to stumble on if you are interested in a 280z. So, if all of this is true and you can start it even for a few minutes and you can verify compression numbers, I think any amount that you can pay less than 10K is a deal. If it was as described and running and sorted and not needing the things I mention to refresh, It is probably worth 15k or so....maybe more for the right buyer.

As I said though, value is a personal thing. I place significant value on original paint cars. Even if you don't want to keep the original paint (though my bias is to try very hard to keep it), there is nothing like an original paint car to reveal to you exactly what is going on with the body, prior wreck damage, and rust. 

I hope this helps. Best of luck.

Edited by jonathanrussell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of this input. I will get a chance to spend time with it in the spring. I have a verbal commitment from the seller to keep it off of the market until I get a look. Also not to try to start it. I believe the mileage to be accurate due to the condition of the car. Very, very, clean. Gaps good. Battery was out and no rust there. One owner car. Never a daily driver. The seller has no reason to exaggerate the condition or try to leverage for top dollar. I want to pay what is fair. I will post pictures as soon I can get them in the spring. I like this one because it is identical to the one I had in '78, and the work it seems to need is mostly within my abilities. Remove and replace, not body an paint! This be a keeper, not a flip.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Who's Online   24 Members, 0 Anonymous, 153 Guests (See full list)

  • Search Engine Meta Tags:
    classic, z, datsun, 240z, 260z, 280z, zcar, zed, s30, classiczcars.com, 240z.org, fairlady, 240, 260, 280, nissan, 240 z, 260 z, 280 z, zx, turbo, classic z, 280z cars, cars 240z, car forums, datsun, nissan, cars datsun, car club, 280zx, car, nissan zcar, classic z car
×