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Advice for car search


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I have been casually looking for a first generation z. I probably don't need a new project but I want one. Anyway, I have the opportunity to look at what appears (in photos) to be a nice '76 280z. Can you give me some advice for where I should look? I do live in the rust belt so I want to make sure the car is not a cleverly concealed rust bucket. I'm thinking the battery box, floor pans, frame rails, inside the fenders, rear hatch lip, dog legs, and below the spare. What other trouble areas should I consider? Thanks in advance to all who reply.

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Listen to Mike. Go find a rust-free Z and use the rust-belt ones for parts. Been there, done that. Starting with a Z that has any visible rust will turn into a never ending disappointment.

If you want though, post the pics and we can try to help value the car.

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Guys, thanks for the replies. I am definitely on the look out for rust. I have a flashlight and my handy inspection mirror so I will be crawling all around the car. I have been following the western front as well. I just can't get past the concept of buying something (and some of the nice 240's are quite expensive) without looking at it. There are horror stories about ebay shysters galore. I have a lot of trouble swallowing the concept of buying sight unseen. That is why I have been looking "casually". I actually have a beautiful 2008 350Z NISMO so I already have one badass car. I can wait for the right one. I'm just in love with the first gen. body style. I'm hoping this one is nice. If it isn't then I'll just keep looking. Again, thanks for the replies. I greatly respect all who post on this board.

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If you are looking for a first gen Z, why are you looking at a 280? You could get a decent one out here for $3,500-$4,500. Such a car would need some work but would be pretty sound and could probably be driven back. Not sure if that's the range you expect, but that is what is reasonable to expect.

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Have you made a decision as to how much you are planning on spending? Or asked another way, have you decided how much to spend and how much you're planning on doing yourself?

The answer to those questions will help guide you more than anything else.

Then depending on the how much $ and how much labor ratio is then you can get a better idea of where to spend it.

East coast pricing has a heavy "rust" tax on it. If the car has been "cured" of rust, it will depend in how much curing has been effected. Better prognosis will mean a higher $ car, and that's a rule of thumb. Yes, you can find exceptions, but you'd be better off working with someone who is "connected" than in trying to find it on your own. As a ~general~ rule, anything EAST of the Mississippi will have the possibility of having been driven on salty winter roads in it's history, how well it fared will affect it's price today dramatically. We've seen really low priced... parts cars, cause that's all they can be, the metal is too far gone. The few real gems found on the East Coast usually exchange hands privately, but you can expect to pay a premium for this service, not always high, but there nonetheless.

Other East Coast people come West and purchase a good car for the same price of a poor car back East and then ship it back. Additionally, the GEMS out here on the West Coast are serious contenders for Top Prize out East.

Out West, the chances of salt iuse are drastically reduced, but other items come into play.

Arizona and other "desert" cars will have great sheet metal but will likely have deteriorated plastic, foam, rubber and vinyl. You can expect to need to replace most of those items.

In the Pac NW you'll find that there is ~some~ rusting, but the plastic, foam, rubber and vinyl parts will have survived better.

California has some salt in the northern region, and mostly not in the southern, but cars coming from the south may have dubious backgrounds. Not all vehicles are bad, but there are also vehicles that were abused or have questionable titles. However there are some excellent vehicles to be found. One trick that has been discussed here is where a salvaged vehicle will be "restored" purportedly to top notch standards and will be shipped cross-country only to fail vehicle inspections once it arrives. Another is where the vehicle gets various modifications to "improve" the vehicle and ending up with a mish-mosh hybrid that is difficult even for experienced mechanics to work on.

Those are some of the ones to watch out for.

But there are excellent stories out there too. You're doing the right thing by asking for guidance.

Hopefullly, this helped a bit.


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