At $7,600, Could This T-Roofed 1982 Datsun 280ZX be the Tops?

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

You know what you don’t see much of any more? T-Tops, that’s what. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe 280ZX has them and an almost new interior underneath those glass majesties. Let’s see if the price makes it something you’d like to see a lot more of.

I think it’s fun that yesterday’s 1955 Citroën Traction Avant was named for its being front-wheel drive. I get the same pleasure from Maserati naming one of their cars for the mundane fact that it has four-doors. I do sometimes wonder what other automotive attributes might make for good naming conventions.


Another of the Citroën’s attributes that brought a modicum of joy to the table was its $8,950 price. That was seen by 68 percent of you as solid Nice Price territory.

Today we have another car named for one of its attributes. Unlike the Citroën however, which took its name from which set of wheels did the talking, this 1982 Datsun 280ZX get’s its eponym from the displacement of its engine. That’s of course, a 2.8-litre inline six with a single overhead cam and backflow design. The name-giving mill was a carry-over when the S30 280Z handed the reins to the S130 280ZX in 1979.

When new, that L28E offered a stellar 145 horsepower and 156 lb-ft of torque. For comparison, the 1.5-litre turbo four in a present day Volkswagen Jetta puts out five more horses and 14 more pound-feet of torque. Back then however, 145 was pretty sweet as emission controls and fuel economy standards were chipping away at the ponies in every manufacturer’s corral.


This ZX is claimed to have been partially restored and seeing as it sports both the desirable (as long as they’re not leaking) T-tops and a five-speed stick, it was a good candidate for the work. That labor involved the refurbishment of most of the fuel system, including the tank, pump and injectors. That’s the kind of work usually required after a car has sat for a extended period of time, but such a situation is not detailed in the ad.


Other work included reupholstery of the bucket seats, and thankfully there are only two of them, this car not being the ungainly 2+2. The ad notes that the door cards, carpet and spare cover are all original, but they look to be in all right condition in the photos. The car also comes with everybody’s favorite ‘80s contrivance—a talking dashboard.


That may not seem all that fancy today, what with Siri, Alexa and whatnot right there on your phone, but back in the ‘80s it was like a lunar eclipse must have been to the neanderthals. The best aspect of it was that the voice alerting you that a door was open or that you had left your keys in the ignition, was produced by way of a tiny phonograph tucked up under the dash.


That’s said to still work, as do the power windows which were a feature of this being a GL model. Missing is the digital dash, but you do get the weird double gas gauge that Datsun thought would be helpful. Hopefully that bit of nostalgia is still working. Not-working is the A/C which is a bit of a shame, but then we can’t have everything, now can we?

The car comes with a reasonably low 124,000 miles and a clear title. The paint is dull as dishwater and there is the claim of a small spot of rot on the rear panel. Other than that it’s said to be a solid citizen and completely stock.


Financially, the S30 Zs (1970—’78) sat in the doldrums for literally decades before taking off in value in the last eight years or so. The later, less loved S130 models like this have yet to make that leap. This one asks $7,600 and if you’re interested in such a car, looks to be a decent example to obtain. That price however may prove to be a stumbling block, and that’s just what we’re here to find out.


What’s your take on this ZX and that $7,600 asking? Does that feel like a deal? Or, for that much does this T-topped Datsun get shuffled to the bottom of the deck?

You decide!


Jacksonville, FL Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to Jason Sikes for the hookup!

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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.