Exotic performance at a fraction of the price
Engine overheated, required a rebuild.
Bought the car with blown turbo seals, required replacing.
Clutch line wore through.
Oil camshaft seals leaking.
Glazed button clutch driving in repeated traffic for my work commute.
Targa seals can drip slightly in the rain when the rubber seals age - expensive to replace (i.e. don't bother).
My dream car since I was young! Two things stick out in my mind, which have made the 300ZX twin turbo the car for me:
I first fell in love with the looks of the 300ZX, and have lusted after them since I first laid my eyes on one.
I have had turbo fever ever since being a passenger in my friend's dad's WRX. At the time the power and boost in that thing had me giggling uncontrollably!
First things first - the 300ZX is faster than a WRX... Much faster!! 206kw at the flywheel translates to around 170rwkw in manual versions. In standard form, they do the 0-100 sprint in 5.6 seconds.
Throw on some bolt-on modifications and you'll really start to unleash the power of these beasts. First recommendations are, pod filter, exhaust and more boost (12 PSI is the safe limit on the stock ECU).
Mine has the above as well as the following go fast bits:
- High flowed turbos
- Rebuilt engine with forged internals
- Lightweight crank pulley
- Front mount intercooler
- Blow off valves
- 17 PSI boost via EBC
- 550cc injectors
- ECU chipped
With a base tune for the injectors, the above mods are giving me around 270rwkw (300kw+ at the flywheel). It is VERY, VERY fast. Put your foot down and the cars become specs in your mirrors as the twin turbo surge pushes you right back into your seat.
It's not just about straight line speed either. These cars really shine in the corners - point and squirt and this car will teleport you from one bend to the next. Because of the nature of the power delivery (simultaneous twin turbos), you would be wise to take the "slow in, fast out" approach to corners.
If you do end up provoking some tail out action, you'll find the handling quite neutral and will be able to mop it up fairly easily. Note that in stock form, there is a tendency to understeer if you come into a corner too hot. I run stiffer suspension in the front, and strut braces front and rear, and now find I have very neutral handling through the bends.
In the wet you've got to be careful, it's very easy to light up the rear wheels. Take off gently from the lights, don't power around corners and you'll be fine.
Fuel consumption isn't fantastic around town. I average 16L/100km (14.7 MPG) with a heavy right foot, but then again it isn't my daily driver so it doesn't really bother me. You'll get better mileage on the highway and find this drops down to 10-12L/100km (19-23 MPG).
The driving position is excellent. You are slung low, the steering wheel falls easily to hand and the seats provide adequate bolstering. Targa tops are fantastic, and any opportunity I get when it's not raining, off they come!
Probably the number one piece of advice I can give to people considering to purchase the 300ZX is don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. I came from not knowing anything about car mechanics, to pretty much becoming one through owning this car. I've become proficient in replacing timing belts, clutches, sumps - short of rebuilding the engine, you name it, I've done it and I can apply that knowledge to any other car now.
I learnt a lot reading up on forums and Googling any issues that I've had. Have faith in yourself to try (trial and error helps) and eventually you'll understand the way things work and be confident in the car.
The 300ZX scares a lot of mechanics off, there's pretty much no room in the engine bay and to do anything requires the removal of quite a lot of engine bits. That said, it's no more difficult to work on than any other car, just more cramped and time consuming. I actually get excited when something goes wrong now, because it means I can fix it and make it even better and reliable.
This is reflected in the way I drive it - I really push this car hard. Any opportunity I get, I'll wind out that engine and feel the rear wheels scrambling for grip. High revs and boost - nothing fazes this car anymore. I'm at the point where I can do whatever and have full confidence nothing will break. This car just keeps coming back for more punishment, and that's why I love it.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th December, 2013