The ad for today’s Nice Price or No Dice Spartan II says that the car has been sitting in a garage for more than a decade, and hence needs a thorough going over before hitting the road. Let’s see if its price needs a going over as well.
The takeaway from the comments on yesterday’s 1993 Nissan 300ZX convertible was a sense of you all damning it with faint praise. Many of you liked the car’s condition, but with a non-turbo engine and automatic transmission, you didn’t like its specs. That made it, in the opinion of many, a ‘Z for thee, but not for me.’ At $8,800, looks outweighed performance, however, as the car walked away with a solid 78 percent Nice Price win.
If the specs on yesterday’s 300ZX didn’t matter as much as did the looks, let’s see how that competition goes on today’s 1986 Spartan II, which also just so happens to be a 300ZX underneath. Now, admittedly, this is an apples and Faberge Eggs comparison since the ZX here is the earlier Z31 edition and it’s the longer wheelbase 2+2, but those are the least of the differences between the cars.
There’s not much to go on as far as the Spartan II’s history, other than that the model was conceived and built by a San Marcos, California business back in the ’80s, and, per the ad, only around 300 were built before the company when belly up or simply couldn’t get the ZXs any more. I can’t even find any information as to whether or not there was ever a Spartan I.
According to the ad, this Spartan II has been locked away in a garage for 12 years. That would explain the modest 53,172 miles showing on the odometer. The baroque bodywork masks the Nissan donor car’s lines respectably, helped by the extended wheelbase and flowing fender line. Plus, who doesn’t love side spares? The only downside of the design is around in the back where there doesn’t seem to be any luggage area access or even an even more desirable rumble seat.
Like most neo-classics, the car is painted in stately white. Chrome bumpers and real-deal wire wheels mounted with wide white wall tires add to the bling. The car’s best angle, though, is from the front. That’s where the butterfly wing fenders and Rolls-aping grille show some seriously elegant lines. Trumpet horns and driving lights add some additional visual punch.
The interior looks to be very good shape, featuring upgraded leather upholstery and lots of tacked-on wood trim. In contrast to the car’s throwback style, the dash offers an ‘80s vision of the future with digital gauges and steering wheel-mounted buttons. There’s some discoloration on the upholstery, but nothing that some elbow grease likely couldn’t handle.
Having sat for so long, everything on the car needs a good going over. The seller says that the Spartan runs and drives, but advises a thorough inspection and necessary updating before the car can be driven safely and reliably. The tires alone look like they are ready to wave the white flag.
None of that should be much of a big deal though. The 3.0-liter V6 under the hood offered 160 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque in the ZX and should do the same here. A four-speed automatic means cruising not bruising, and both should be pretty solid save for timing belts and other rubber bits. According to the seller the A/C is not working at present and as an R12 system, that may prove a headache to fix.
The title is clean, however, the most recent tag on the car is from 2012. The ad doesn’t say whether the car has been on non-op status since then. If not, there will be back registration fees to be paid once the car is brought up to date.
Doing so will elevate any new owner into a heady crowd. According to the seller, Spartan IIs have been owned by such luminaries as Joan Collins; Eddie Murphy; Telly Savalas; Tony Dorsett; and Larry Holmes. Yeah, that’s kind of an odd club to join.
The ticket to do so costs $26,000 as that’s the asking price. Add to that a few grand to bring the mechanicals up to snuff and we’re getting close to $30K. What do you think, is this quirky classic worth that kind of cash? Or, does this Spartan II need a more parsimonious price?
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