Datsun 280ZX Survivor with 5-speed Manual

For September 16, 2020, our used car find is this 1979 Datsun 280ZX survivor with 99k miles and a 5-speed manual gearbox. It’s listed on craigslist by a private seller in the Ft. Collins area for $7000.

Here’s what makes this one special.

The second generation Z-car, code named S130, debuted for the 1979 model year. While it retained the basic look of the original 240Z, in feel it was a bit of a departure, morphing from a simple sports car into more of a luxury grand tourer.

In its review at the time, Car and Driver said, “What was once an appealingly lean sportster has been transformed into a plush boulevardier.”

That may sound like a strong critique, but the car was a major success, selling a record 86,000 units in its first year, in part because many of us Americans tend to like our cars a little softer, quieter, and roomier.

Part of the Z-car’s original charm was its smooth, torquey inline six engine and slick-shifting manual gearbox. That powertrain is retained in the ZX, here producing 135 hp. Meanwhile, the ZX’s brakes were upgraded to discs at all four wheels.

While this particular car isn’t the most collectable example of an S130 generation Z-car — you’d want to look for a special anniversary edition or a Turbo model for that — it is a remarkably original survivor, which aside from some apparent fading on the door cards and other scruffiness, looks very much like it did when it drove off the lot over four decades ago, down to the period-perfect brown on brown factory colors.

If you’re looking to drive and enjoy your classic, rather than lock it away as an “investment,” this is exactly the sort of specimen you want, and the asking price of $7000 is fair for a well-kept driver.

We think it’s a temptingly low barrier to entry into the world of classic Zs.

Vehicle Details

  • 1979 Nissan 280ZX (S130)
  • 99k miles
  • 2.8 liter inline six cylinder engine (135 hp)
  • 5-speed manual transmission
  • brown on tan vinyl with cloth inserts
  • for sale by owner for $7000
  • Livermore, Colorado
  • link to craigslist listing HERE

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