Awesome: 1983 Datsun S130 280ZX 5-Speed – SOLD!

Jul 2020 | Classifinds, Sports Car Saturday

Update: This one got away, but if you have your heart set on something similar, email us the details of what you’re looking for or call Rudy directly at (908)295-7330

AWESOME.  Datsun’s simple catchphrase for all of their Z-Car advertising by the early 1980s.  Up for sale recently was a 69,000 original mile 1983 280ZX T-Top 5-Speed listed on Craigslist in Lumberton, New Jersey.  Featuring its original silver paint protected from an application of Ziebart® when new,  the current owner is asking $12,500 for his T-Top equipped, five-speed example. Using the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool as a guide, the private seller has his 280ZX priced $500 less than the #2 “Excellent” level of $13,000.  If you are serious about buying this Disco-Era Z-Car, you can start the conversation by emailing the private seller and when you do, please remember to mention you saw their car featured here on

First launched in 1970 as the 240Z and then later replaced by updated 260Z and 280Z variants, by 1978 Nissan elected to perform a complete redesign of its iconic sports car.  Nissan elected to call the new version the 280ZX and with it retained only the L28 inline-six engine and other driveline components from the 280Z. Nissan offered both two-seat and four-seat (2+2) designs. Compared to the more overtly sporting earlier models, the 280ZX was a much softer, heavier car, with less focus on driving and more on driver comfort and refinement.  Softer suspension, better sound insulation, more comfortable seats, and ample equipment including high-end audio systems defined the new ZX. In the spirit of the times, emissions controls and aerodynamics were markedly improved over the first generation Z-cars, while weight was down somewhat as long as the buyer did not pick much from the very long options list.  The exterior design was evolutionary, less rounded and with better integrated safety bumpers. Many parts, including the rear axle and the power steering came from the Datsun 810 luxury sedan.  Most of the design effort went into the entirely different and much more modern interior.  The 280ZX became a grand tourer rather than a sports car, particularly in the plush Grand Luxury versions.

However, by 1982 Nissan hoped to get back some performance street credentials by giving the 280ZX a mid-cycle facelift in 1982 that included revised NACA ducting in the hood, new alloy wheels (fourteen-inch six-spoke alloys for non-turbo models, and fifteen-inch four-spoke alloys for turbo models), a revised B-pillar garnish, new pin-stripe style tail-lights, and rubber bumper over-riders replaced the earlier model’s chrome and rubber items. The bumpers were now also body-colored and wrapped around further. Interior changes were minor but included new seat trim styling. The 1982 model also was the first to offer the popular voice warning system, which warned the driver when the headlights were left on after the vehicle was turned off if the parking brake was on while the vehicle was in motion, and many others.  This facelifted model has since come to be called the “Series II” 280ZX.  While the naturally aspirated 1982 and 1983 Datsun 280ZX boasted a 0-60 mph time of 9.1 seconds (1.2 seconds slower than the Corvette of the same year), opting for the Turbo version dropped that time down by a more respectable two seconds.

These early eighties, Disco-Era non-turbocharged Z-cars may not have the performance of either earlier or later models, but we like how clean this survivor example remains and how it is tailored more for performance with its single exterior paint color combined with a five-speed manual transmission.  This is the entry-level, RADwood- and Malaise-ear eligible Z-car you can enjoy reliably without breaking the bank to buy it.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Original unrestored car in very good condition with 69K original miles. This is a 5spd with T-Tops, power windows, power mirrors, and cruise. Factory radio and tape deck are still in the vehicle. Air condition and all gauges work except the clock, which doesn’t keep the time. NO RUST! The paint is in really great shape. Doesn’t need a repaint. The car was Ziebart Rustproofed and always garaged. Seats are not ripped or torn, the dash is not cracked. It’s in great shape.

Do you have a 280ZX story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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