1988 Nissan 300ZX Z31 Turbo 2+2 VG30et from Australia and New Zealand




Diff blew within a week of purchasing the car.

Power window switch stopped working after two weeks (easy home fix).

Power steering leaking after 2 weeks.

Front wheel bearing went after three weeks.

Heater stuck on.

Rear brake sticking at slow speeds. Mechanic has looked at it several times, and it keeps re-occurring.

On full lock the rear suspension makes a loud creaking sound.

Rear demister has stopped working.

Speedo is showing signs of giving-up the ghost.

Let's just say my local mechanic knows me pretty well by now!

General Comments:

This is an old car, so it's understandable things will go wrong, but after owning a similar vintage Toyota Supra for 6 years and having fewer reliability issues than this thing in 6 days, so far it's a complete disaster.

I picked this car up off a friend early in the year after my Supra was stolen. This used to be his baby, and it is in immaculate condition for a Z31 series. No rust, interior is perfect, body straight etc etc.

Starting with the positives:

The car looks great, and has a comfy leather interior and glass targa top roof. Basis for a great GT car here.

The 3 litre turbo engine is smooth and torquey.

This engine starts every time, and runs like new. Sounds great up to 4000rpm too.

Fuel economy is good on the highway.

Now for the bad points:

Car has the turning circle of a Boeing 747.

Steering rack is also very slow for a car that is supposed to be 'sporting'. Much slower than my company runabout Mazda 3.

Ride quality is poor.

Engine sounds thrashy over 4000rpm.

Steering is heavy and lacks feedback.

Slow and heavy T5 manual gearbox. Any performance pluses the engine has are taken away by the rough and long shift actions.

The heavy controls make this a very tiring car to drive for a sport luxury. It's an experience I would expect from something like a Honda Integra Type R or Suzuki Swift Gti.

The interior is tiny for such a large car.

Horrible reliability.

As an owner experience, this has been inferior to the MA series Toyota Supra in almost every way. That was a far more reliable, refined, comfortable, nimble, sporty, practical and convincing classic Japanese muscle car.

A Z31 may be good for ZX enthusiast or collectors, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. I have since placed the vehicle up for sale before it loses me any more money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th June, 2011

14th Jun 2011, 06:13

Agricultural. Hardly...

What you describe is a typical experience of owning a highly engineered, but poorly maintained older Japanese GT, which is exactly what you have. Most of your issues sound like maintenance issues and well known ZX foibles which you really should have known about before considering running such a car.

Are you still speaking to your "friend"? There's probably a good reason he decided to part with the ZX. They are an enthusiasts car now, due to the need for unwavering optimism for their continued survival in the face of extreme running costs and outdated and aging technology. Buy an Altezza or something else modern/tragic if you want Corolla reliability in a sudo sporty package.

22nd Jul 2012, 03:27

Haha, that is quite ironic you mentioned buying an Altezza. It's over a year ago that I wrote my report on the 300ZX. Recently after that, I did purchase the Altezza (well, Lexus IS here), and it's been a much nicer experience.

Doesn't sound or look as good as the Z, but is comfortable, reliable, handles well, and proving to be a fine daily driver. I've always taken good care of my cars, having them serviced at or ahead of the required intervals.

A good friend of mine recently sold his Z31 also, after battling with constant mechanical and electrical problems. Seems now is the time that most these machines are reaching old age, and the point of no return...

My advice to anyone looking at one is, either find a freakishly low kms one that's been kept in museum condition. Or, go buy a JZ-powered Toyota Supra instead. Similar looks and age, but superior quality from Toyota.

23rd Jul 2012, 08:02

Thanks for the advice, I was considering buying a Z31, but now I know better.

1988 Nissan 300ZX GLL 3.0 turbo from North America


One great touring vehicle


In winter 2008/2009, hydraulic clutch operating cylinder leaked - needs to be replaced.

Had to replace the battery twice.

No other problems - all original incl. tires/exhaust/brakes.

General Comments:

Most reliable car I have ever owned. Not great performance compared to today, but a great touring vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th November, 2009