4th Aug 2004, 13:56

Very well written, any car guy's dream..

20th Jan 2005, 09:14

That was an ultra-sexy review. I hope to get my 280zx up and running again soon. It's been in my drive for about 4 years, seems to need about as much work as yours. Thanks.

28th Jul 2005, 23:24

I would like my 280zx to be running low 11s high 10s, but it is just too heavy for a 1/4 mile.

13th Jan 2006, 16:19

Hello from Houston...

I bought my 1981 280ZX-Turbo in mid December, 2005. We drove it home... but she needs work... We are in the process of replacing all the struts, rack&pinion, springs, bearings, casings, gaskets, you name it we are replacing... It has 121,000 original miles... has been a Texas car most of her 25 years... Have lots of work (carpet and recover seats etc.) but the power windows, locks, and cruise control still work..!! I love the "Z" cars.. Had a brand new 1971 240Z I bought off the show room floor in Japan for $2800.00 cash.. It was a beauty.

I have some concerns about getting this one (the 1981) painted correctly.. I want it as close to original as possible... Any suggestions??

26th Jan 2006, 12:27

Hello all.

I just recently purchased a 1981 280z (non-turbo unfortunately) for $200! It Cranks and Idles great, but if you step on the gas the car revs up and down by itself! I just ordered a service manual for the car and should be here in a week or so. You guys got any pointers about this car in general? I don't know a lot about them, but it's a nice looking car for sure!


31st Jan 2006, 12:03

Ahhhh... That must be why I got it so cheap!

I just got the manual today so now I can try a little home mechanikin' and really mess it up! Actually, I don't think it'll be that difficult to fix, I glanced at the troubleshooting in the manual and there's only about 5 things it could be. YAY! A friend of mine has had two of these and 3 300zs and says he never had a problem with any of them. I guess that's saying something about them.

24th Feb 2006, 13:53

Have fun will all your Zs they do become addicting I now have four. Too bad three of the four are second generation, but a Z is a Z to me, I'm not in it for all the power and lightness of the car, I am in it cause I love the sleek design and they can be pretty easy to maintain once you get it all figured out. And let me tell you Victoria British has been my best friend at times when I destroy something I shouldn't have trying to get it out. Victoria British offers free catalogue and have skins for your rusted out panels etcetera. Look them up on the net order a catalogue and keep the Z on the road and out of the parts yard.

17th Jan 2007, 21:52

I just got mine for 300. It's badass, it doesn't have a turbo and the interior is a little messed up, but it runs like a champ for a 1981 280z and it's got low miles.

25th Mar 2007, 00:35

I am considering purchasing a pretty worn down 81 280zx. $300, needs some fixing up. They say it doesn't run, but that might be b/c it has old gas and hasn't been used for a while. If I get it I will get a manual for it so I don't screw anything up. I would be my project car. Should I do it?

29th Sep 2007, 02:13

I have a 1980 280zx that cranks over no problem and only starts when starter fluid is used, then it dies out right away. Its obviously not getting any fuel. Its not the fuel pump. any other suggestions as to what it could be? fuses?

8th Dec 2007, 19:57

I live in Brisbane Australia and have a 280ZX from new. Has 140,000k on the clock and looks like it just drove out of the showroom. No rust everything perfect, Could buy a 350 for $80,000 but intend to keep my 280 a while yet.

22nd Aug 2008, 10:01

I recently received a "free-bee" in the form of a 280ZX Turbo, first production year. It was my mother's husband's and he just can't drive it anymore. He was a mechanic, so it was well cared for, but he wasn't into the cosmetic thing, so the interior isn't pristine. There are only two small spots of rust on the lip of the metal roof at the passenger t-top. That will be addressed very soon.

The car did run very well once off idle. It has 225K miles and still appears to have plenty of power left to it. In fact I drove it home, about an 800 mile trip, from South Florida, to the Panhandle Florida. No problems. Haven't had much time to get into the car mechanically and didn't need to up to this point except for the mentioned rough idle. Car hardly ever stalled, so I wasn't too worried.

But after a couple weeks, had an issue crop up. I have been suspicious that the rough idle is from a deteriorated injector somewhere. Planning on pulling all of them and sending them out for cleaning and rebuild. Pretty sure all the electrical components are in good shape.

BUT all of a sudden, after purchasing premium gas from a Shell station here, it has started to run very poorly.

When I depress the gas pedal, I get hesitation, coughing, sputtering and no power. I have to really work the pedal to find the "sweet" spot and struggle to get the car up to speed. It will catch sometimes and have some pull up to 3500 rpm and then go back into the weak acceleration mode. I hear something that sounds a bit like a weak backfire, but I think it comes from under the hood. If I let off the pedal just a tad, it will smooth up and power up slowly in rpm. It happens again as I reach 4500 rpm. If I can coax the car up to 50 to 55 mph, it does OK, but I can feel it running a bit rough (especially compared to how smooth it HAD been running).

I am seriously wondering if it is nothing more than bad gas, BUT, this was gas purchased at a reputable vendor. Hard to imagine, but I guess anything is possible.

It may be just a small amount of junk or water, but I was wondering if anyone else has seen this kind of problem?

2nd Dec 2008, 07:46

Bought my 1981 280ZX for $850 and it looks like it got rolled off a cliff. LOL it is my first car, and once my mom got done yelling at me (it was so loud on the test drive it set off car alarms) we got into working on it.

All 4 tires were in bad shape, I bought two.

One of the tail lights was broke, and took 2 headlights off a 1982 280, which was easy.

Then I wasted some money on a grant steering wheel (I am glad I did hehe) and shift knob, only to take it to the inspection place to hear I had an exhaust leak... ergo the car alarms going off... I just thought it was the Flowmasters... so I bought some pace setter headers (get old Nismo race headers or something, not these), and began to take my engine apart. But the stock EGR pipe didn't fit into the header, and they didn't include one, so my car sat for about 4 months.

My friend came over, and decided he could make the pipe from a radiator pipe out of his Fiero, and we got to work. Now, 3 days later, I have a car waiting to get the open headers attached to my Flowmasters.

LOL it has always run like a monster, and I love it. The K&N cold air is nice as well. I can keep up with almost anyone up to 60, but after that, I begin to fall behind. I don't care, it handles so well I don't have to get it over 60 to win, just pick a tight course. Besides, it's my first car. I love it!

23rd Sep 2009, 20:46

I have a 280zx had the problem above, where it will only start with starting fluid. I thought it was the thermo-time and you should check that out. Mine happened to be the battery was simply not powering well, and so the fuel pump wasn't doing its job. When I replaced the battery, my troubles were gone.

24th Sep 2009, 17:55

I would change the fuel filter and run some dry gas in it.

7th Jun 2010, 10:44

I’m jealous reading your stories. I bought an ’81 280z 2+2 in ’86, and drove it for a couple of years. My insurance company finally caught up with me from all my tickets. I had to sell for a car with liability only. The full coverage collision was just too pricey for me. I loved that car. Great shifting experience with power to burn.

27th Sep 2011, 12:15

Actually the 280zx has an engine called an inline 6. It has the power of a V8, but the fuel economy of a V6. I know this because I own one myself. It outran a fully upgraded Camaro. I know because it slammed me back in my seat, and it's a 5 speed straight shift. The gauge may say 80mph, but it's much more powerful.

15th Jul 2020, 18:05

How much did you pay for it?

17th Jul 2020, 00:14

My 82 was not fast by any means. It’s more of a good handling touring model. But ahead of its time with features. Mine was white dark glass T Tops and red with a suede. Leather seats. I forget exactly what I paid for it now. Was only a few years old. It was expensive and I would use the word class. I went out on dates in this car that loved it. Not flashy, very nice and not like buying a Trans Am then. My 2 cents.