At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or No DiceIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or No Dice 300ZX has been sitting for so long it literally has moss growing on it. Let’s if its price will make it worth taking it from petri dish to blue plate special.

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Have you ever heard someone being described as “all hat and no cattle?” Or, maybe you’ve been told something is “the sizzle without the steak.” Both of these derogations of respect speak to something not living up to expectations, and that’s sort of how many of you saw yesterday’s 2004 Mercedes Benz E320. Promoted by its seller as having an AMG package, the car’s 3.2-litre six-cylinder and standard-duty transmission evidenced that the look was no more than skin deep. A $9,595 asking price also got under your skin, earning the car a 70% No Dice loss.

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist
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They say Washington DC was built on a swamp. I’d say that there must still be some of that bygone bayou still left around. At least that seems the case based on how this DC-located 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2 has faired. The car apparently has been sitting for a number of years, and while it was resting in that fallow state it began a slow, inexorable march towards becoming a topiary.

Now, you may well remember the famous moss-covered, three-handled family Grudunza from The Cat in the Hat cartoon. I mean, who doesn’t, right? But did you know that “moss-covered, three-handled family credenza” predates the Seuss variation by decades and is supposedly slang for hepatitis C? Yikes!

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist

There’s no telling what you might catch with this mossy Nissan, but then a hazmat suit and a bottle of bleach should make it a bit less of a superfund site. The body beneath all that slime actually looks to be fairly solid. The paint, aside from what appears to be some chipping on the driver’s door, also seems like it might be okay under the grime.

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This is one odd-bodkin of a 300Zx. It’s the 2+2 model, which means that the wheelbase has been stretched five inches over that of the 2-seater, accommodating a pair of vestigial buckets in back. The sloping roofline and meager footwell space make those only for people you don’t like, however. More interestingly, the car comes with a T-top section before that slope. The smoked glass panels here are the same size as those on the 2-seater, but are a different shape and so are not interchangeable.

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist
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The interior of this long-dormant ZX looks to have weathered its downtime a little better. There is a need for a total cleaning in here, and the driver’s bucket shows a significant bit of bolster fray, but it’s not as bad as the exterior might lead you to believe.

Obviously any car that has sat for so long is going to need mechanical work. You wouldn’t trust the brakes on this car, nor should you expect consumables like hoses and belts to still hold up their end of the bargain.

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Along with those expected jobs, there apparently is an issue with the VG30DE V6. The seller says that the car starts with a jump and runs, but only on five of the six cylinders. The ad claims the issue to be a faulty fuel injector, the problem having been confirmed by “Multiple mechanics including the Nissan dealership.” The seller has bought a new injector but has not installed it. Seeing as they were unwilling to pop the hood for something as simple as a pic of the engine for the ad, it’s unsurprising that they wouldn’t do so to actually do some work on it. Hell, they didn’t even wash the car.

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist
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Behind the wounded six sits a four-speed automatic which isn’t the best situation you could want, but then considering what this car has lived through it’s probably unfair to ding it for the slushbox.

There are 148,000 miles on the clock and the ad claims the car comes with a clear title. Having been off the road for so long there may be an issue with back-registration. Of course that will depend on where you live so YMMV.

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So, there you go. This is one dirty bird but could be a (partial) gem underneath. It’s not just that one strike against it, though. This is also the heaviest and slowest Z32 model there is. Plus it needs that pesky fuel injector, among other things, to make it ready for the road. On the flip side—T-tops! What exactly might one pay for such an anomalous thing?

Illustration for article titled At $2,000, Would You Sic Mr. Clean On This 1991 Nissan 300ZX 2+2
Photo: Craigslist
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The asking price is $2,000. What do you think, is that a fair deal to get your hands dirty? Or, is that just the tip of the not-so-niceberg on a car without all that much going against it?

You decide!

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Washington DC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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

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DISCUSSION

I’m conflicted.

First, it’s What The Heck money for a 300ZX. Growing up in the 80s I have a bit more affinity for the previous generation, the Zs, but it is still an attractive car. The 2+2 configuration doesn’t add value to me but it doesn’t take any away either. It might make it more comfortable on the highway.

Multiple mechanics have confirmed” but what with throwing money at more than one mechanic, you never bothered to have one actually plug the new injector in? Why the hell not? Last time I installed an injector on anything it took about 20 minutes, and that was literally the only one I have ever done. It’s not that hard.

Interior looks sound, but a bit on the manky side. Lots of shampooing could go a long way there.

Exterior, same. NO BLEACH for God’s sake, bleach is hell on steel. Don’t say bleach around cars. But elbow grease and careful scrubbing could probably get a lot done.

The engine itself is solid; its weak point appears to be the control electronics. If the ECU is okay then there’s nothing to fear there.

Automatic, don’t care much either way.

So here’s what I would do:

1) Talk the seller down to about $1500.

2) Limp the car to my folks’ place about 8 miles away.  Once in their driveway:

3) Do the injector. BTW that’s a $100 part, not a $250 part. Another part of why I would talk this guy down.

4) Wash and scrub and scrub and add the nicest front seat covers I can find for $50 and wash and vacuum and wax and wax and wax.

5) Engine once-over: fluids, hoses, etc. Probably take an entire day just on the hoses. Checking lots of wires.  Clean any sensors that don’t crumble to dust.

6) Sell the car for $3000.