1985 Nissan 300ZX with 35k Miles

For August 6, 2020, our used car find is this 35k mile 1985 Nissan 300ZX. Listed on Cars On Line, this pristine Z is being sold privately in Davenport, Iowa, for $8900.

Though it may not be the Turbo version like Mrs. Balboa drove in Rocky IV, this nifty Nissan sports a T-top for open air thrills as well as a five-speed stick to add to the fun.

Introduced for 1970, Datsun’s (Nissan’s then-American name) 240Z sports car boasted beautiful, flowing lines as well as a stout, sonorous inline six and athletic chassis. As the “240” indicated engine size (2.4 liters), subsequent engine upsizing saw the name change to 260Z and then to 280Z.

When the car was redesigned for 1979 and renamed the 280ZX, it morphed into a plusher, more softly sprung GT that, as the years went on, could be had with previously unavailable luxuries such as a T-top, leather upholstery, and power windows. That 1979-1983 generation also saw a turbocharged version debut.

The Z’s next metamorphosis came for 1984, when the car’s complete redesign saw the adoption of a 3.0-liter V6 as well as oh-so-‘80s sleek, wedge-inspired styling with partially exposed pop-up headlights. Output ranged from 160 hp (non-turbo) to 200 hp (for the turbo). Again the car was more of a luxury GT than hard-edged sports car. Even “Body Sonic” seats that vibrated in sync with the music — lending more meaning to the Car’s hit “Moving in stereo” — could be had. This generation ran through 1989, with incremental changes (such as smoother, more integral bumpers for 1987), occurring throughout. More generations of the beloved Z car would follow, and we’ll cover them the next time we find a minty fresh 1996 300ZX Twin-Turbo.

Here we have what looks to be an extremely nice example of a 1985 300ZX. Most of the boxes (for us, anyway) are checked here: beautiful and seemingly well-maintained condition, low (just 35,400) miles, as-produced condition (even the original wheels are still fitted), three pedals and T-tops. Although we prefer analog gauges, this car has the optional digital dash which we have to admit adds to the ’80s cool factor.

In terms of performance, this is about an 8.5 second 0-60 mph car. That’s decently quick for the ’80s but slow by today’s standards. Still, that’s peppy enough to make a run through the gears fun. Besides, this car is more about cruising on a gently winding road, tops off and music cranked, than challenging some guy in an IROC-Z at a light after you’ve left the Radwood show.

The brown color may not please everyone, but we happen to like the understated shade as the car’s styling has enough pizzazz to pull it off. We also like that the Z has had just two owners, with the first having the car for its first 31 years (from 1985 to 2016). The seller claims “no rust anywhere”, that the car “never saw snow/salt” and that the A/C blows cold.

Provided this 300ZX is as nice as it looks and sounds, the sub-$9,000 price strikes us as a steal.

Vehicle Details

  • 1985 Nissan 300ZX
  • 35k miles
  • 3.0 liter V6 engine (160 hp)
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • brown exterior with brown/beige cloth interior
  • for sale by owner for $8900
  • Davenport, Iowa
  • link to cars-on-line listing HERE

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