At $13,500, Could This 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo Be Two Times The Fun?

Photo: eBay
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

There’s a good reason beyond its impressive specs to want to buy today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 300ZX, and that’s the ability to boast about its having the same headlamps as certain Lamborghini Diablos. Let’s see what that sort of bragging rights might just be worth.

Retro cars—meaning those that are modeled on older editions—have a kind of hit or miss history. Sometimes, like with the recent Mustangs and the VW New Beetle, they hit the mark. Others, including yesterday’s 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, have proven a bit less successful. The FJ was cursed with poor fuel economy and even poorer visibility by way of its old school-emulating style. Add to that a short wheelbase and brick-like aerodynamics and you has a recipe for mediocrity, at least on-road. It was sort of Sysco food ervice, only with alloy wheels.


That all didn’t seem a compelling argument for paying the FJ’s $13,499 price, and when it came down to it, you voted it a 64 percent Crack Pipe loss. The seller may have named his FJ Baby, but most of you were willing to throw Baby out with the bathwater..

I’d now like you to think back to Monday’s Porsche 911SC. Do you recall that candidate? It had been imbued with the engine out of a 930 turbo which bumped up both the ponies in its corral and, as made apparent by its winning vote, its overall desirability.

The thing of it is, that Porsche only had a single turbo to its name. One measly turbo. Sheesh, I could get that in a base VW Jetta for pete’s sake. I think when it comes to turbos, we should live by the mantra, go many or go home, and that’s just what we’re going to do today with this 1990 Nissan 300ZX twin turbo since as its name implies, it has twin turbos.


The first production car to rock more than one turbo was Maserati’s appropriately named Biturbo. That car’s V6 engine initially was a bit of a dog’s breakfast since the two turbos fed a carburetor that was housed in a pressurized plenum and which seemingly could never be kept in tune. Later cars adopted fuel injection solving most of the major issues, but the Biturbo had enough other problems to besmirch the marque for many years after.

The 300ZX Twin Turbo followed the Maser to market, but wasn’t Nissan’s first rodeo when it came to turbocharged sports cars. They had offered a turbocharged edition of the inline straight six that powered the preceding S130 model, and a single turbo V6 in the Z31 following that. Those were great and all, but let’s be honest, each model’s turbo count was sorely lacking.


Enter the Z32 with an all-new and super sexy body style. That needed something special under the hood to walk the walk that the bodywork’s talk was talking. To that end, Nissan refreshed the 3-litre VG30DET with DOHC heads, variable valve timing, and most importantly, a Garrett turbo for each three cylinder bank. As equipped, the now anointed VG30DETT achieved 300 horsepower and 283 lb-ft of torque. Here that power is routed in appropriate fashion through a five-speed manual transmission to an LSD-equipped rear-end.


The car wrapped around that is a T-top two-seater in fly yellow over a black leather interior. The paint is said to be a respray, and there is a bit of it popping on the rear wing. The rest of it presents well in the photos, and other than some unremarkable aftermarket wheels the car appears stock.


The interior presents in similar fashion with seemingly well maintained leather on all the tactile surfaces and decent carpet down below. One of the cool interior styling features of the Z32 is the cloth trim that wraps the center console and continues up the underside of the dash and then across each of the doors. That all still looks spankin’ new here. And why shouldn’t it? After all, this 300ZX only sports a mere 115,000 miles. That’s a baby bear approved not too much nor too little.


The ad claims the engine and turbos to be ‘healthy’ and notes that in addition to the wheels the car has gone to the aftermarket for its intake and exhaust. No further details are offered on the extent of those mods, however. It comes with a clear title and a history that includes four owners.


It also carries a price tag of $13,500. Now, if you’ve been following values on Toyota’s competing Supra from this era then you’ll know that those have gotten stupid expensive and will not likely continue to hold that value for very long. Part of the reason for that is the recent reintroduction of the Supra to Toyota’s lineup giving the older model some much needed exposure. Don’t overspend on a Supra, people.

The 300ZX on the other hand, has had a decade-plus of descendant support in the form of the 350/370Z. That’s a model that, well, not even Nissan seems to give a rat’s ass about any more. Because of that almost total lack of love Nissan has been showing their sports car line, so too has the car-buying public. And that’s why you can now buy this 300-horse beauty with headlights that were adopted by Lamborghini for the Diablo—plus not one, but two freaking turbos—and get it all for less than the cost of a new Kia Rio. How hard a decision is that?


Ah, but this isn’t the only 300ZX on offer, and you know need to determine if this one is worth spending $13,500 to obtain in that buyers market. What do you think, is this 300ZX TT worth that kind of cash? Or, is this twin turbo two times too expensive?


You decide!


eBay out of Vernon, NJ, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

Share This Story

About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.