If your Z is old enough to sport a Datsun badge, it's also likely to sport some replacement parts. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 280 rocks the D, but is it more than the sum of its parts?
Cats usually indicate their displeasure with the switching of their tails and and an evil glare. The manx cat lacks a tail, eliminating its primary emotional talisman, and leaving only the other end as a way of disseminating its mood. Its fiberglass namesake, as exemplified by the 1972 Meyers Manx yesterday, is equally truncated out back, but its face has but one expression, which which could only be described as anphibianal. Despite those limitations, it managed to not end up an almond roca in the NPOCP litter box, and eked out a narrow 54% Nice Price win. Me-ow.
Less cat-like, but more car-like is today's 1975 Datsun 280Z, currently basting in the Texas sun. The Nissan S30 - otherwise known as the Fairlady Z, or in the U.S as the 240, 260 and 280Z depending on the year and displacement - was to the traditional British sportscar what reverse cowgirl is to the missionary position. Sure the later will get the job done, but it's very traditional, somewhat clunky, and, despite your brain's protestations, is how your mom and dad used to bump uglies. Eeew. On the other hand, the RCG lets you go faster without getting as tired; is more attractive to observers; and is disadvantageous to conversation, preventing accidental declaration of long-term adoration. And, in another corollary to the Brits, there's usually less leakage evidence.
This L28-powered example represents 5-years in on the Z model run. By that time emission and safety requirements in the U.S. had taken their toll on both the show and the go. Most of the last-generation S30 cars are scarred by rubber-capped battering ram bumpers, and they all feature a 200-cc displacement bump over the precedent 260, as well as Bosch L-jetronic fuel injection. Those additions, as well as a strengthened chassis carried over from the 260, added over 200-lbs to the 280 over the original 240Z of 1969.
This '75 has had its big berthas replaced with 240 blades that tuck in close to the body like shark-sucking Remora, while in front the lower valance is covered with a black plastic
curb sacrifice airdam. Around the sides the there's a set of deep Panasport-wannabe Rotas which nicely frame the 4-piston Wilwood brake upgrades. Underneath there's claimed to be new balljoints, tie rods, and springs/struts, and all those new parts are now held together with the stuff they make skateboard wheels out of. That's urethane not clay, you caveman.
Topping off the parts list is a Campbell's Soup paint job that'll get you noticed on the road by Datsun aficionados and the Po-Po alike. That hey look at me paint job wraps around an interior that's more ‘70s than a coke habit but one that's at least clean and unmarred by cracks tears and fading. The E-brake however looks like it could use an adjustment as the angle of its dangle seems exceptionally Cialis-ish. The fact that the car has a five-speed gearbox may have a similar effect on many of you.
Underhood looks pretty stock, which should mean a healthy 149-bhp and 163 lb-ft of torque. Fuel injection acted like Ritalin on the L-motor, eliminating the drivability problems of the 260, and giving back the car much of the performance of the pre-smog 240Z. Adding to the smooth and stiffened Z the lighter-weight bumpers seems like the making of the best of both worlds, and this car seems worlds better than many 280s out there. On the down side, it's located in a suburb of Houston, which visiting in August will tax your hypothalamus like nobody's business. The other challenge is coming up with the doh-ray-me to plant your ass in this Z's driver's seat. The seller wants $7,000 for that honor, and while they say everything is bigger in Texas, it's now up to you to determine if that price is Texas-size, or if that's a reasonable cost for a Z you would want to part-ner with.
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