27th Oct 2002, 16:56

I have discovered over the years that owning and operating a Z-Car is not for everyone. You have to appreciate them for what they are, a mid-level sports car with a lot of quirks after they have aged.However, a lot of useful knowledge can be gleaned from other owners if one will search forums on the Internet.Z-car owners are always willing to share information because they know what you are going through! So, don't judge all Z-cars by one. I currently drive a 1979 280ZX daily that I got out of a junkyard for $125.00!

9th Dec 2002, 12:42

I own a 1979 280ZX that I bought for 300 dollars the only thing that was wrong were the you joints it has 200,000 miles on it and still runs GREAT!

28th Dec 2002, 20:41

To criticize the 280zx as being too slow and compare it to a present-day uninspiring piece of junk like the Cavalier is to miss the point.

You don't buy a ZX for speed. Or, if you do, you go for the Turbo (and even then you will want to make modifications). For speed, you go for an earlier Z car.

As far as the repairs, the car is 20 years old, what do you expect? Unless you bought a low mileage ZX that was garaged for most of its life, it is going to need work.

When I bought my '82 non-turbo 280zx, it had a lot of problems. It didn't ride well. But I have put thousands into rebuilding it inside and out. Just replacing stock suspension components and adding KYB shocks and wider tires made a tremendous difference. It handles really well now, and I didn't even go for performance suspension upgrades.

Anyway, don't compare the 280zx to a modern Cavalier, compare it to other 20 year old cars. Compare the Cavalier to the 350z. After all, where will today's Cavaliers be in 20 years?

9th Jun 2003, 20:01

I think you made an unfair judgment on the car. You bought a car that was mistreated apparently for most of its life, didn't bother to get anything fixed, if you take the time to get everything working, you'll have a great, strong running car, I have a 79 280zx and it is no where close to being slow, leaky, smoky, running rich or anything like that.

If you take care of the car, they will take care of you.

Mine is closing on 200k and runs better than most cars half its age.

14th Sep 2003, 18:29

I recently acquired a 76 280z and it smokes just about any thing on the road. I have also spent a lot of time fixing the problems due to the previous owner. The Zs have a trend of being abused due to their reputation. If you fix it right and before it takes other components with it then they are reliable.

17th Nov 2003, 02:36

I have an 82 Turbo and I love it. I'm sorry you must be mistaken all 280ZXs from 79' to 83 came with an O2 sensor. Yours may have had a problem with the fuel injection and an older version from a 280Z (if that was all that was availiable, because that would be an intensive swap) may have been put on because they had no O2 sensor. They are great cars with smooth power due to the fact they have an inline engine. It is far better than the 300ZX that I used to own. The L-series engines have to be one of the best engines by Datsun.

18th Aug 2007, 16:31

Absolute Classic!

6th Jan 2008, 21:05

I would like to offer a correction if you don't mind. 1979 and 80 280zx's don't have oxygen sensors. Also if you need a computer,79 and 80 are the same. Grab one if you get the chance. By the way, learn to do your own work on them and they will be very cheap to keep on the road. People spend a lot of money on new cars, why not spend 1/3 of that cost on z or zx and have a very cool classic.

21st Feb 2008, 17:31

I have a 79 and doing 90% of the work myself I have about $7000.00 in it, but everything from the ground up is new, considering what it would cost to buy a new car that would equal the performance of the Z I feel I'm thousands ahead!

26th Apr 2008, 22:22

OK guys here goes.

I have a 1979 280zx (no turbo) 5 speed, and it does not have an O2 sensor. Any car this old will need work. Now this is a fairly simple fuel injection system, get a factory service manual and use it to learn how to repair them.

These cars are now hitting the wrecking yards in big numbers, that's you supply source. Visit often, when you find a part that's better than what you have take it. Also get parts you don't need, replace the on on your car, if works OK then you now have known good part in your hand. Save that part it's your replacement for some day. These cars really have nothing that an average school kid can't learn to handle (Are you listening kids). Fix one up give it a paint job and watch how many people do a double take on your way by. Very cool yes indeed. And they really run great once you erase years of neglect.

Or you can always keep buying new cars, always owe a bank, and blend in with the masses.

19th Apr 2009, 22:26

I own a 1979 280zx and it's one of the sexiest things on the road^^

You just need to learn how to treat the fair lady better!!

You give some TLC to the Z and take care of her, and she'll blow your pants off!

24th Apr 2009, 02:02

I don't have a long history with Z-cars at all. I grew up on the SB 350's and BB400's throughout the many Trans Am's I have driven and owned.

What I have come to appreciate though, is no matter the repair, a Z-car is usually always simple... Both in diagnostic, and actual repair.

I had the opportunity to pick up a 91 300ZXTT at no cost. Motor was stripped down to the heads (intake was disassembled, valve covers off - 1 was even missing, timing belt removed, no brackets for the A/C compressor,... I can go on and on...) Needless to say, this car was parted out mildly and needed some help.

I took a trip to the junkyard and with nothing more than tools in hand, and the camera on my Blackberry Storm, I was able to completely resurrect the motor. I haven't spent $100 yet, but my motor is now complete. I haven't even driven the car yet, and I already have such an appreciation for it that I have turned down offers of higher than $2000 for it. I see the potential in this car without even hitting the streets yet.

I have learned the hard way though what neglect will do to it. Recently, I have undertaken the repairs of a 75 280Z with fuel injection. Through the use of forums, I was able to diagnose my running rich problem in less than 20 minutes (do THAT on a Cavalier... sorry, couldn't resist). I think the transmission was a swap though, cuz it is a 5-sp manual, which I understand wasn't available until 79?? I am already considering picking up another one as a project car... See what I can make of it with little to no money at all.

I guess what I am getting at here is simple... the Z is, as referred to prior, a living legend. It got that way because of history, pride, and results on the track... To demand any less of it due to the need for repairs?... well that is just an injustice.