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I have a '73 240 and an '82 turbo. The '82 goes for long trips and the 240 goes to the track and drives in the mtn roads. The zx has the 4 spd auto and not as much fun on the track, but the turbo is great on the road.

I have driven the 240 to long beach and back. I didn't have any problems except the lack of a radio and a/c.

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To me, if a 2 seater ZX is lowered and in gun metal grey, then they look a million dollars.

The 2+2 ZX and in fact any other Z in 2+2 configuration looks wrong.

I also like the idea of a slightly modified L28 with a hair dryer attached. Wouldn't that be a nice tourer?

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I'll start by saying that I have never driven an S30, and have sat in only one that is in operational condition. As such, I cannot, nor will I attempt to compare the two for driving dynamics or performance. However, from going from car to car, sitting in the parking lot, I did notice a few little differences.

I felt the S130 had a smaller blind spot and a bit more cargo area. The seats, while different, were comfortable in both cars, though I was able to recline a few degrees more in my ZX than in the 240. I didn't feel as confined/claustrophobic in the ZX, though that may have had more to do with the interior colors than actual interior space.

Different characteristics for different cars, different requirements for different times, though my perception is that Nissan was targeting the same market segment. Most S130s are 2 seaters after all (FYI: My speedo goes to 120), and as far as the US market was concerned, the Z/ZX was the only sports car being sold by Nissan.

Nissan used modern technology and added value to compete with their contemporaries/competitors... (Imagine if MG had done this? That storied marque may have kept its market share from being eroded by Nissan and others... )

Now, aside from the mandated federal changes, the S130 had disc brakes all around, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, and air conditioning as standard equipment. These same items were optional for the 1979 Chevrolet Corvette ( http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1979-corvette1.htm ) and the ZX still had a lower base price...

(Bold for emphasis was my doing)

Yes, the S130 is larger all around. It's a bit longer, a bit wider. Yes, it's a bit heavier than the 280Z. It had to be, as emission and safety regulations kept getting tighter (but that's been covered before, as it happened within the S30 model line as well).

I wonder what the weight difference between the two models would be if you were to take my reinforced doors and heavy steel bumpers and (theoretically) put them on an S30...

Personally, I find my S130 to be both comfortable and nimble. I wouldn't balk at driving cross country (assuming all was in proper running order), nor have I ever had any problems with agility... As to being small, the ZX is pretty close to the size of a BMW z3, and they're not big cars...

I am curious: Are you basing this opinion on personal driving/ownership experience or is this simply your opinion? Not trying to impune you, just looking for clarification.

I ask because I know exactly what my S130 is doing, and how it's reacting to the road. Steering is tight, precise, and smooth. Braking is even and strong throughout the pedal's travel, be it a slow stop or an emergency one. The ride feels planted, solid, and surefooted (and not because of the weight). The only time I drove in a pack of Z cars (Tail of the Dragon) I had no problems keeping up with the S30s on the road. I know my car, I know how it will react. I feel more confident driving the ZX in snow and ice than I do my Infiniti I30 with its ABS and traction control. Granted, that's an apples to oranges comparison.

I would be interested to know exactly what the S30 tells it's driver that the S130 is neglecting to mention...

Another thing they are apparently very good for is providing retrofit parts to S30 owners. Engines, transmissions, R200 differentials, distributors and mounting plates, internally regulated alternators, etc. If you feel the S130 is so horrible and is only worthy of being physically abused, please apply your disdain of the model to all its parts and leave them for those that need and/or appreciate them. Thanks.

(Side note: I wonder if an automatic S30 would behave in the same way. Anyone care to subject their car to this treatment? Solely for comparison's sake, of course!!)

For those of you who have never driven an S130, find one and take it for a drive-just try to do so with an open mind.

I promise that if I ever have a chance to drive an S30, I will not berate it for what it isn't, I will enjoy it for what it is.


Great post David. I'm an S30 owner and am a fan of the S130. We're all part of the Z family!

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Unfortunately S30 guys the S130 is on the rebound. I had one 18 years ago and no one could care less about them then. Now my project S130 get just as many looks as my fully restored '72 240Z. I get stoped at traffic lights, cross walks, parking lots, etc - anywhere the car and people are in close proximity. Problem with the S130 is that they seem to be worse than a ten year older S30 for rust. So although they made A LOT of S130 (because they were undeniably popular in their time) not many have survived. They are less common on the roads than an S30 because no one use to put much effort into them like the S30. That is changing now. There aren't many project S30s left and there is a lot to be said for a less expensive S130. There is a new generation discovering these cars and they are starting to become quite popular.

I think some of us forget the history of the Z car or only know the bit about the particular car we own. It's a long and impressive lineage and the S130 is part of that lineage. Times were changing and YOU the consumer at the time demanded luxury in your sports cars and Nissan answered the call with the many luxury and high tech advances in the S130. Nissan has always been inovative and competative with their sports cars - look at the current 370Z and GTR and the technology/price you get. Asthetics are infintely debateable and every car has its fans and haters based on what they look like. Who though anyone would ever love an AE86 but it has a cult following now.

Weight gained by saftey restrictions is nothing new and it's difficult to avoid. The 280ZX in base form wasn't much different in weight from the 280Z. Strip off the luxury and you can loose a lot of weight on an S130. The S130 is also undeniably superior in its body design for areodynamics. While the S30 looks aerodynamic but that's where it ends - looks. The drag is poor (a Range Rover Classic and a Toyota pickup has a lower drag than an S30!) and the lift is worse! Anyone that has taken a stock S30 up to any significant speed will soon find out about the lift coefficient....

The mushy suspension of a stock S130 IS absolutely horrible but when you change struts and springs you totaly change the car's responsiveness and it's well on it's way to being a "sports car" again. First mod I would do to any S130 by a long shot.

The L28ET... well there is no sense in going there - we already know you S30 guys are running our motor in your car..... a $1000 in an L28ET will get you more power than $5000 in an L24.... and it will start flawlessly each time.

I've don't have a Z31 (looking for an '88 Shiro) or a Z33 (don't particularly care to own one at this point in time) but I do own every other Z car. The S30 and the S130 are as close to each other as the Z33 and the Z34. Brother's shouldn't be fighting with each other ;P

I'll tell you IMHO the #1 problem with the S130. It's not its weight or luxury items its price or its rust. The #1 problem - it's stance. The 240Z throw a set of wheels on it and they fit the car pretty good. Throw a set of wheels on an S130 and they look OK but the car still doesn't look mean. You need to get the wheels way out by the fender. A lowered S130 on stock rims looks horrific - the wheels are in probably four inches from the fender. Get those wheels out and you totaly transform an S130.....



Stock body with Rota RB-Rs:




...and with just a front air damn - stock body otherwise:





The 280ZX adopted suspension similar to that of the concurrent Bluebird 910, with MacPherson struts in front and semi-trailing arm independent in the rear. The wheelbase was down from its predecessor at just 91.3 in (2319 mm) for the two-seater.

The 280ZX's body was redesigned with aerodynamics in mind. By closing in the open grille of the first generation Z-Car and through other improvements taken from wind-tunnel testing, the drag coefficient was reduced from 0.467 to 0.385, and the lift coefficient from 0.41 to 0.14. The new design had a lower center-of-gravity and near 50/50 weight distribution in both 2-seater and 2+2 designs. The rear of the car was stretched to accommodate a larger 80 L (21.133 U.S. liquid gallons) fuel tank. Overall, the new body design gave better fuel economy and high-speed stability (one of the known issues from the first generation Z-car).

Improvements were also made to braking, and steering. The 280ZX initially offered either unassisted rack-and-pinion steering, or Datsun 810-derived recirculating-ball with power assistance. A new power-assisted rack-and-pinion replaced the recirculating-ball steering system for the 1981 Turbo, becoming available on the normally aspirated models the following year.

It is a common misconception that the 280ZX's L28 engine is less powerful than the L24 engine of the 1970 240Z: the difference is due to Nissan adopting the SAE net standard of power measurement, which resulted in lower power ratings than the earlier gross figures and added emissions. However, Nissan designers deliberately sacrificed raw acceleration for improved fuel economy in the 280ZX, so the early 1979 models rated at 145 hp (108 kW) actually had slower acceleration than the 240Z, largely due to increases in weight and emissions control strangling. This overall performance deficit was not addressed until the release of the 280ZX Turbo in 1981.

Net HP Gross HP

240Z 121 151

260Z 130 162

280Z (75-78) 136 170

280ZX NA (79-83) 145 182







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