Original Owner: 1975 Datsun 280Z – Sold?

by | Aug 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Malaise Monday

August 29, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The three legs supporting the proverbial stool for buying a classic car in the snow belt of Western New York include the following: 1. Original Owner; 2. Always garaged; and 3. No winters. Bonus points if the car in question is clearly owned by a marque enthusiast.  All three legs are in place with the original owner selling their 69,500 mile 1975 Datsun 280Z originally listed in July 2021 on Craigslist in West Seneca, New York (Buffalo). The modern 350Z shown parked on the street in the limited pictures provided clearly indicates the original owner is an avid Z enthusiast even if he only gets to drive his car six months out of the year (To truly avoid exposing a car to rock salt, either in a wet brine solution or in its sand-blasting just-dumped solid form, Buffalo car enthusiasts tend to keep their babies off Western New York roads between the April 15 and October 15 every year).  This 280Z appears to be nicely pampered from new example offered at $33,000. Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their 280Z priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $12,800 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $38,500.

The Hagerty Insurance Valuation Tool provides a nice synopsis of the 280Z produced between 1975 and 1978:

“Datsun’s brilliant 240Z was really the car that its designers wanted it to be for just the first two years of its four-year run. By 1972, emission controls had started to affect drivability and by 1973, the Z was not quite the driver’s car it had originally been. The carbureted 1974 260Z, (which gave a 200 cc bump in displacement) was only a stopgap solution.

The real solution to emission laws came with the introduction of the fuel-injected 280Z in 1975. The addition of a license-built Bosch L-Jetronic injection to the inline six-cylinder engine, plus a displacement increase of 200 ccs, returned the Z car to roughly 1970 levels of performance. The 280Z would have performed even better had federal impact bumpers and additional equipment like air conditioning not added weight.

All things considered, however, the 280Z is much closer to the original 240 than most people realize and it’s certainly a more sporting car than the 280ZX of 1979, with which it is often confused. Aside from the big bumpers, the coupe is a direct descendant of the 240Z, with little changed in the interior except for a fully integrated and effective air conditioner which replaced the original Z’s dealer-installed piece. The electronic fuel injection makes cold starts a snap and offers excellent drivability. A five-speed transmission became available in late 1977 but most 280Zs are four-speeds with the occasional automatic showing up most commonly on the stretched 2+2 model.

The earlier cars might be slightly more desirable with better colors and simpler bumpers, and often carry a slight premium in price. Plastic wheel covers were a carryover from the 240Z and 260Z with 1977 and 1978 cars receiving a nicer design. Factory alloy wheels are rare.

Any Z is a mechanically simple and robust car with good parts availability and a lot of fun to drive. Bodies that are especially rust-prone are the Z cars Achilles heel, but high production numbers mean that there are still plenty of rust-free examples available. All of these factors help keep Datsun 280Z values in the affordable range, and make the car a great candidate for an entry-level collectible car.”

We apologize for the bad audio in this Datsun 280Z commercial, but it gives you perspective on just how big a deal the advent of electronic fuel injection was to bring back this sports car’s original performance level from the earlier 240Z:


While we would want the seller to provide pictures of the interior and the engine before shuffling off to Buffalo with thirty large burning a hole in our pocket, chances are very good once provided they will not disappoint.  We also hope the original owner has a bunch of documentation from new that will be included as part of the sale.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“One owner since purchase, always garaged, no winters, 69,500 easy miles. All original except for 4 Dunlop original wire wheels. (Have original Datsun wheels) Unique copper factory color. (See photo)

Show or go: what would you do with this unmolested 280Z?  Comment below and let us know!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *