The Truth About Cars » datsun z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 06 Aug 2014 11:54:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » datsun z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Generation Why: The Skyline Fades From The Rear-View Mirror http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/generation-why-the-skyline-fades-from-the-rear-view-mirror/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/generation-why-the-skyline-fades-from-the-rear-view-mirror/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2013 12:30:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=623201 It’s not just oil, water and other precious resources that we’re running out of here on planet earth. Apparently, we’re a little short on automotive nameplates too. If you believe the reports in industry trade pubs, we’ll eventually be overrun by obscure alphanumerics as the number of trademark-ready monikers gradually thins out. Scarcity isn’t the […]

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It’s not just oil, water and other precious resources that we’re running out of here on planet earth. Apparently, we’re a little short on automotive nameplates too. If you believe the reports in industry trade pubs, we’ll eventually be overrun by obscure alphanumerics as the number of trademark-ready monikers gradually thins out. Scarcity isn’t the only factor behind it either. Frequently, nameplates get retired, and an all-new version of the previous car is re-introduced with another combination of numbers and letters – just like Nissan is planning to do with the Skyline after 56 years of production.

Members of the Playstation Generation that still care about cars (yes, we exist, we are legion and we are too saddled with debt to even think about buying a new car, thank you very much) revere the “Skyline” name like a person of faith reveres the Tetragrammaton. It is an ineffable, unknowable bit of four-wheeled technology that we were never privy to, and therefore, it’s reached iconic status among North American car enthusiasts, who were only exposed to the car via Gran Turismo or the Fast and Furious franchise.

Like most instances where the grass is greener on the other side, it turned out the grass was a little less lustrous and colorful once you got over the fence. Canada’s flexible importation laws meant that older Skyline GT-Rs have been flooding the nation’s streets for some time. Driven today, they aren’t terribly remarkable cars, neither particularly fast or involving. I found my friend’s Toyota Celica GT-FOUR (another piece of all-wheel drive turbocharged forbidden fruit, albeit one closer to a rally special than a Grand Tourer) to be a much more compelling way to spend $10,000 and inconvenience oneself with right-hand drive. The breathless Ray Hutton and Don Schroeder reports telex’d from Japan are not congruent with our current reality. I am sure that in the early 1990′s, this car was certainly something compared to the C4 ‘Vette, but there’s a reason why Nissan never sold them here.

The idea of paying between $60,000-$100,000 for a car with the interior from a B13 Sentra and the sex appeal of Meryl Streep in The French Lieutenant’s Woman is a recipe for commercial ruin.  The 300ZX on the other hand, had the Z car heritage, as well as the rectum-puckering performance, plush interior and removable T-Tops demanded by mustachioed 1990′s sports car buyers. Besides, the Skyline name meant nothing to most consumers.

But it means something to me, and to most readers who got their licenses right around the time the Skyline ceased to exist as we knew it. The introduction of the V35 Skyline, aka our Infiniti G35, brought an end to the familiar Skyline formula, with its naturally aspirated and turbocharged straight-six engines and its rather anonymous salaryman packaging. The V6-powered V35 shared its underpinnings with the Z car – something true Skyline enthusiasts would regard as blasphemy.

The Skyline was originally a Prince product, and legend has it that when Nissan absorbed Prince in 1966, Prince’s products, Skyline included, were regarded as orphans. The Skyline’s racing pedigree was apparently considered both unremarkable and enough of a threat to the homegrown Fairlady Z that they were never imported to America. Within Nissan, the two cars were always regarded as distinct entities, with the Z being the sports car for Nissan. Only when the forces of industry economics were brought to bear on Nissan, in the form of Carlos Ghosn, did Nissan take advantage of any synergies between the two cars.

Now that Nissan is planning to sell the Infiniti brand in Japan, the assimilation is complete. The Skyline nameplate will die alongside the V36 Skyline/G sedan (no word on whether the current G Coupe will carry on the name), and the new Infiniti Q50 will carry that name in Japan as well.

The fatal blow to the Skyline nameplate was delivered when the R35 GT-R divorced itself from the Skyline range upon its 2009 introduction. Without the GT-R, the Skyline is just another anonymous commodity car in its home market, just as the Chevrolet Impala is a rather unremarkable car when the hot SS versions aren’t around. But the reality is that the conditions that helped foment the “golden age of Japanese sports cars” have been absent for a long time now, and we’re now feeling the hangover after years and years of non-stop good times. Combine that with the relentless pressure for greater profits derived via increasing economies of scale in a cutthroat global auto market, and the decision to axe the Skyline name in favor of promoting the “Infiniti Brand” and the Q50 shouldn’t surprise anyone. But it does leave me a little dewey-eyed.

 

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Junkyard Find: 1973 Datsun 240Z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1973-datsun-240z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/junkyard-find-1973-datsun-240z/#comments Sat, 09 Mar 2013 14:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=480612 I see endless Z31 300ZXs in junkyards, and I usually don’t pay much attention to them (unless we’re talking about a rare 50th Anniversary Edition with BodySonic butt-vibrating seat speakers with super-futuristic digital dash, of course). Even 280Zs and 280ZXs are plentiful in self-service wrecking yards, so I don’t photograph many of them. However, an […]

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I see endless Z31 300ZXs in junkyards, and I usually don’t pay much attention to them (unless we’re talking about a rare 50th Anniversary Edition with BodySonic butt-vibrating seat speakers with super-futuristic digital dash, of course). Even 280Zs and 280ZXs are plentiful in self-service wrecking yards, so I don’t photograph many of them. However, an optioned-to-the-hilt 240Z, complete with automatic transmission, sunroof, and Malaise Era brown paint is worth shooting, so here we go!
I think this is the first 240Z I’ve ever seen with an automatic transmission, though this became a fairly common option in the 280Z and especially in the 280ZX.
I considered grabbing these Hitachi SUs, just as I bought the Weber DGV I found on this 22R-powered MGB a few months ago, but these are the not-so-desirable “flat-top Hitachis” and in the end I figured they wouldn’t be worth selling or trading.
Speaking of nightmare Hitachi-ized British smog carbs, what was the last year for a factory manual choke in a US-market car? Or is this just a light that comes on when an electric choke is engaged?
I was also tempted to buy this ignition switch with vintage Nissan Z key, but then decided to leave it for a lucky Z-owning junkyard shopper.
This car is very solid and— at least when I saw it a few weeks ago— nearly complete. By this time, I’m sure it has been picked over thoroughly by now.
Such an optimistic speedometer!


Comparisons between fully race-modified cars and their street counterparts are always suspect, but this ad does a good job of selling the 240Z.

02 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 20 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 21 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 22 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 23 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 24 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 25 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 26 - 1973 Datsun 240Z Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo 50th Anniversary Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-300zx-turbo-50th-anniversary-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/08/junkyard-find-1984-nissan-300zx-turbo-50th-anniversary-edition/#comments Wed, 08 Aug 2012 13:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=455841 After the Malaise Era of 1973 through 1983, we had the Turbo Era. I’m going to say the Turbo Era lasted from 1984 through about 1992, and it was followed by the Everybody Finally Has Electronic Fuel Injection And It’s About Damn Time Era. The real star of the Turbo Era was, of course, the […]

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After the Malaise Era of 1973 through 1983, we had the Turbo Era. I’m going to say the Turbo Era lasted from 1984 through about 1992, and it was followed by the Everybody Finally Has Electronic Fuel Injection And It’s About Damn Time Era. The real star of the Turbo Era was, of course, the Mitsubishi Starion, which was so incredibly turbo-centric that it had the word “TURBO” stitched into the seat belts. The Nissan 300ZX Turbo didn’t register much lower on the Turbo Awesomeness-O-Meter, however, and now I feel vaguely ashamed that I’ve ignored so many of these things in so many junkyards over the years. Today we will honor one of the stars of the Turbo Era!
Among the many incredible features in the 50th Anniversary Edition 300ZX was the Bodysonic sound system. Yes, you could really buy a car with a feature called Bodysonic, and it was every bit as cool as the name implies. Basically, this was a speaker system embedded in the car’s seats, so that you felt the thudding bass of your Erik B and Rakim cassette right in your butt.
Because this was the middle 1980s, Z-Car buyers needed T-tops to go with their Bodysonic beats.
I graduated from high school in 1984, and I recall thinking at the time that the Starion was far cooler than the 300ZX. Of course, your typical 300ZX was about three orders of magnitude more reliable than the Starion, not to mention quicker, but what the hell do 18-year-olds know?
This one has a mere 123,000 miles on the clock, but I’m not 100% sure I trust this odometer. Why?
Here’s why: the notoriously flaky, yet exquisitely-of-its-time digital instrument cluster. The analog odometer is driven by an electric motor, not a cable from the transmission, so there’s no telling if it’s showing anything resembling true mileage.
You want Turbo Era luxury? Check out the driver’s-side vanity mirror in the sun visor— just the thing when you need to check for traces of white powder in your Tom Selleck mustache.
A 200-horsepower turbocharged V6 and 5-speed was badass fast 28 years ago, which is sort of sad. We live in the Golden Age of Engines right now!

It wouldn’t be an 80s Nissan Junkyard Find without Datsun’s Awesome Voice Dude. Enjoy.

17 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 01 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1984 Nissan 300ZX Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Murilee Martin Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Junkyard Find: 1977 Datsun 280Z http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-280z/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/03/junkyard-find-1977-datsun-280z/#comments Thu, 01 Mar 2012 14:00:29 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=432187 After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month. Judging by the extremely weathered paint, I’m guessing this car […]

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After a couple of 1970s Italian sports cars for our last two Junkyard Finds, it’s time to look at the Japanese competition. Malaise Era Z Cars are not uncommon in California junkyards, and I spotted this fairly rough example in an Oakland yard last month.
Judging by the extremely weathered paint, I’m guessing this car spent at least a decade in outdoor storage, getting fried by the Northern California summer sun and picking up body rust during the rainy Northern California winters.
The old-school Raiders sticker, from the era before the team went to Los Angeles, indicates that this car is an East Bay native.
The L28 engine in the ’77 280Z made 149 horsepower in a 2,628-pound car, pretty decent numbers for the time. The ’77 Corvette weighed 3,448 pounds and had 210 horses (if you got the optional L82 engine), which gave the Chevy a slight power-to-weight advantage… and a price tag of $9,143 versus the Z’s $6,999.
The Camaro is probably a fairer comparison to the 280Z, however, given the similar demographics of the two cars’ purchasers. A ’77 Z28 with the optional 170-horse 350 sold for $5,380 and weighed 3,529 pounds. Which would you have bought? This debate could go on and on.
Early catalytic converters tended to run very, very hot, and cars not initially designed for them sometimes had less-than-optimal cat locations. If the floor above the cat got too hot, this warning light would come on, probably after the carpeting started to smolder. Fiat’s approach to the same problem was a “SLOW DOWN” light.
There’s no telling the significance of this 70s-vintage vanity plate.
Though this car doesn’t seem to suffer from rust-through problems, you can still get much nicer 280Z project cars in California for reasonable prices. Some of this car’s parts will live on in one of those cars.

23 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 01 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 02 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 03 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 04 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 05 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 06 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 07 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 08 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 09 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 10 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 11 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 12 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 13 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 14 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 15 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 16 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 17 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 18 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 19 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 20 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 21 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden 22 - 1977 Datsun 280Z Down On The Junkyard - Pictures courtesy of Phillip 'Black Gold Datsun' Greden Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail

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Curbside Classic: 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1984-nissan-300zx-turbo/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/curbside-classic-1984-nissan-300zx-turbo/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 22:16:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=350228 It’s nice to see someone still deeply in love with their pristine eighties time-capsule 300ZX. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but it’s always been a bit difficult to muster any warmth for Nissan’s Z cars after they turned the truly remarkable original 240Z into an ever more porky and ugly […]

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It’s nice to see someone still deeply in love with their pristine eighties time-capsule 300ZX. It’s hard for me to put my finger on it, but it’s always been a bit difficult to muster any warmth for Nissan’s Z cars after they turned the truly remarkable original 240Z into an ever more porky and ugly caricature of itself. The 300ZX was an attempt to ditch the over-wrought original styling cues for a clean new look, but by then the ZX was severely tainted by image issues, the price of its success.

This Z31 generation of Z cars was based on the chassis of its 280 ZX predecessor, but it introduced the VG 30 series engine, the first of a long line of Nissan’s increasingly highly-regarded V6s. In its first appearance here, it had SOHC heads and power outputs that seem laughable today for what was then a leading edge design: 160-165 hp for the normally aspirated version, and 200-205 for the turbo, as installed here. European turbo models had a better “Nismo” cam profile, and produced 230 hp. Given its 3,000 lb weight, the 300ZX was an adequate but hardly sparkling performer in un-turbo form.

The chassis of the 280ZX and this generation 300ZX was never in particular high regard, and had a rep for being a bit floppy at the limits, and generally uninspiring. Perfectly adequate for the overwhelming percentage of buyers, who wanted something to go with their suburban version of the Miami Vice look while tooling down the freeway.  Somehow, the Toyota Supra’s relative lack of sales success protected it from the ZX car’s cheap gold chain image.

Its successor, the second generation (Z32) ZX300, was a much more ambitious attempt to regain true sports car creds with an all-new chassis and higher output DOHC engines. It received critical acclaim in the press and its styling was certainly more ambitious than the rather anodyne and generic version here, even with its tacked on fender extensions and sills. That’s not to say that with the right preparation, the 300ZX couldn’t be a winner on the race track, but frankly that has more to do with other factors than what was being actually sold at the dealer.  Paul Newman drove one to its only Trans Am win in 1986. Good publicity, but not enough to keep redeem this generation 300ZX from also-ran status.

More new Curbside Classics here

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