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interested in buying a 280z in France, does those pics look alright or sketchy


nico

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Posted (edited)

hello

I'm lusting for an s30 since a few years now and i'm starting to look for one seriously... Just found this forum from reddit and it looks like i have a lot to read 🙂

I found a 280Z imported from california that the owner is selling after 2 years. I asked him to send me pics of the underside and here is what i got... what do you think (rust wise)?

cheers

 

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Edited by nico
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Hard to say without seeing more.

What I believe I see is “boxed out” frame rails and at least a patch welded in there at the driver’s foot well and not much else, meaning they just patched those areas and didn’t do a crazy full resto. Could be ok, could be more to do

I’m not that familiar with the earlier Zs so I’m sure others will have more


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Posted (edited)

Frame rails look standard to me. Need a lot more photos to really get a good sense of the car's condition but from what you've posted it looks fine to me.

I do see a patch at the front of the driver's floor, and it does looks like there's a weld seam on the frame rail in that area, but I'm not sure if that's what it is since I only see one weld, and no actual patch. Also looks to be a patch on the passenger side under the seat. Need better photos of that area. 

Edited by rturbo 930
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From what you've posted, It seems to be in fair condition. More inspection will give you more answers.  I've definitely seen worse.  All Z's need some attention and this one is no different.  Some surface rust underneath but it can be managed.  Floor board has repairs, that's a good thing.  Of course you'll need to see it all up close.   Engine sounds great and I'll assume it's drivable.  Your decision will depend on what you are able to put into a 40 something year old sports car.  It's a journey for sure.  If the price is good I would definitely consider it.

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That looks like a fairly average S30 that you'd find in the Southwest US or California. The stock frame rails have definitely been covered with an aftermarket repair rail not unlike the BadDog rails. The floor has been patched on the left side as noted above. The undercarriage could use some attention but that's pretty common - make the top look good, people rarely look underneath.  I've seen a lot worse even here in Arizona where we have almost no water...

Those pics aren't going to tell you the whole story. You're going to want to look under the hatch at the sill corners, the door bottoms, the rockers, the dog leg in front of the rear wheels, the bottoms of the front fenders, under the cowl, under the carpet and seats in the cockpit and maybe the spare tire well. On a 280Z you might want to check around the windshield frame as well. Look for bulging of the paint in any of these areas.

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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, gwri8 said:

From what you've posted, It seems to be in fair condition. More inspection will give you more answers.  I've definitely seen worse.  All Z's need some attention and this one is no different.  Some surface rust underneath but it can be managed.  Floor board has repairs, that's a good thing.  Of course you'll need to see it all up close.   Engine sounds great and I'll assume it's drivable.  Your decision will depend on what you are able to put into a 40 something year old sports car.  It's a journey for sure.  If the price is good I would definitely consider it.

thanks for your answer

yeah it's driveable and will pass the local mot before it's sold, dashboard is new, interior is ok... comes with 240 bumpers, has a 5 speed zx gearbox.

Ac and heater apparently not working... Don't care much about AC i would probably get rid of it.

It's actually from Florida and not Cali, my mistake.

the price is 21k usd which will probably make you fall from your chair if you live in the us... i regularly see Z for more than 30k usd here in france and EU. Rust buckets are often 10-12k usd here.  I will try to go see it with a mechanic when our lockdown ends.

 

 

 

Edited by nico
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Unfortunately $20,000 is about the price just to get into the game these days, from your pics it looks pretty solid, previous repairs show someone has cared for it.  They are not nice looking repairs but they look strong. Ask to see a pic with the battery removed, that's always a trouble spot for rust.

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A interesting, possible option for you is to contact a member we have in France, I believe he is about 400 to 500km southwest of you.  He is Sean Dezart, owner of a very high quality exhaust system supplier as well as other unique parts for our cars.  He is very experienced & knowledgeable with S30's and may be able to give you his opinion on the car.     Another possibility is the Fairlady Z Car Club of France.

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The picture of the battery tray is: A HOLE IN ONE ! (sidepanel..) 😆

I think that if you are a good welder you can make something of this car..

I don't know about boxed frame rails.. you @mailnome mean there are framerails over the old ones?.. i don't like that.. i think you (nico) have to consider new floors and rails and ad the cost to the car...  i would go for a 240z not a 280z, carbs are so much more simple.   Have you looked on www.marktplaats.nl here in the netherlands for a zed? sometimes there are good cars for the money.. 

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3 minutes ago, nico said:

ok so they are definitively boxed... bad news you think?

Not necessarily by the looks of the rest of the the underside. It makes me think someone took care of it or did the right thing instead of ignoring a problem. Most of them get damaged when people run over stuff, or jack them up in the wrong spots. It could be that some garage damaged them and had to repair their mistake. I think pictures of the floor pans under the floor mats would be helpful in determining the rust. If they look okay I would think the rails were boxed in to repair some type of damage? The roof holds these cars together, not so much those rails. If it has a sunroof somebody tried to sturdy up the car maybe. I'm just guessing.

Look at the back of the roof above the small rear windows for any cracking.

Here's a pic I have of my 240 with original paint job. I bought it of course! :victorious:

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Posted (edited)

Alright.  I'm going to see the car on may 8th, i'll have the checklist of all those points to check for rust. It does not have a sunroof. I noticed the rear bumper is not straight though...

few more pics. may be hard to spot cracking as it has been resprayed 😕

the seller sells it because he says he wants something more sporty with a turbo like a 300zx...

oddly it's been through customs in sept 2019, french mot from feb 2021 and he made the french papers in march 31 2021 and selling it roughly one month after...

 

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Edited by nico
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Well I hate to say but that cars been hit. Silver is one of if not the hardest to touch up paint and the front gap on the passenger's door is pretty wide. See the difference in the paint of the door and the rear quarter in this picture. It's stance looks off too. Kind of bowed in the middle. Could have a newer front end? or rear? @Patcon could be better help than me. I just drive them. 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, siteunseen said:

I found a picture of the stock under body frame rails on one of the cars I had.

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The car you're looking at.

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You're comparing a 240 to a 280 which has bigger rails. I'd need a better photo to say for sure, since there does look to be weld toward the front of the 280, but forward of that part, the rails are clearly stock, you can see the flange of the factory rail and it looks to be untouched. Unless there is a seam where the light is hitting the rail, then I'm left to conclude the rails are stock. Again, better photos are needed. 

As for the paint, I think it's just how the sun is hitting it. it matches above the pinstriping, and if you look down at the bottom of the dogleg, just above the body line, again, the colors on the quarter and the door are matching. 

Nico needs to go see it in person with his own eyes, and ideally, with an experienced friend, and see what is actually there or not. 

Edited by rturbo 930
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Posted (edited)

See my reply above since I've edited it since you posted. Also, I've had a couple Zs, and they don't necessarily have perfect body gaps. The area between the front door and the fender right at the top seems like it has a tendency to be larger relative to the rest of the body line there. 

Maybe the front fender was messed with, who knows. Go see the car in person with someone who knows what they're looking at. 

Edit: However, that rear bumper should not be that crooked. I'd look hard at that area. 

Edited by rturbo 930
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Its very hard to tell by looking at these pictures if it has had collision damage or not. Take a friend with you. Have them drive the car slowly and see if it drives straight. Rear wheels behind the front wheels or at an angle. If I were you,  I would look at every car you have a chance too that meets the budget. Much fewer options for you then for us in the states

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Posted (edited)

Guys, I think i'm getting cold feets. Thing is neither me nor my dad would be able to see if it's a sketchy car or not.

I have never driven any s30 and i fear that when i'm in front of it after 450km i will want it and disregard stuff. It's the first car that i was going to check but i don't have the knowledge to be sure about it... and i know no one who knows those cars at all. We know a former garage owner and mechanic but he is not available for the month...

I think i will rather try to see with a dutch garage that has several of them on a regular basis and knows the car (https://www.zsportscarz.nl/ looked interesting)

A really big thank you to everyone here who took the time to look and answer, i know i didn't gave you much to judge the car but i appreciate it !

I will call the seller tommorow ask more questions, especially why it took him 1.5 years to make the french papers and then put the car on sale 1 month after.

Cheers

Edited by nico
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