• Dec 20, 2006
A couple of years ago, Flickr user "devnulled" grew tired of the project he was working on, a race conversion of a 1994 Eagle Talon. Like many of us do, he was online browsing eBay Motors one day when he stumbled across a car that caught his eye: a blue '76 Datsun 280 Z. He wound up bidding on the car, which did not meet reserve and never wound up being sold. He stayed in touch with the owner, however, and eventually convinced him to sell the car to him.

The Talon project car was quickly parted out for funds, and "Devnulled" hopped a plane from his home state of Colorado to Sacramento, where the Z car lived, so he could bring it home. The seller, incidentally, was the second owner of the car, but it had not left the same family for over 23 years. It had 82,000 miles on the odometer and been maintained by a local Z mechanic. Apparently, said mechanic did a good job through the years, as the Z made the 800-mile trip across the desert and through the mountains back to Colorado without incident. In fact, "devnull" made enough money playing cards in Nevada to cover the tax on it. Perhaps the car brought him good luck.

Going forward, he plans to improve the car's performance without molesting its classic good looks. Good idea, we say. As it stands now, it's a very worthy Reader Ride of the Day.

Follow the jump for a list of current and planned modifications, as well as two more photographs and instructions on how to submit your own car for consideration.



Current cosmetic/maintenance updates:

- New paint
- 16" Performance Wheels (that is literally the brand name of the wheels.. came with the car)
- Falken Tires
- Mirrors from a later Z
- Stubby antenna
- Reupholstered seats
- Alpine CD Player
- K & N Air Filter

Planned modifications:

- Update lights to H4's
- Update brakes to Disc brakes
- Tokico Adjustable Shocks
- Performance rebuild of engine or engine swap (still not sure which of these I want to do...)
- 17" Tires and Wheels
- Swap in the bumpers from the 240Z

Current mileage: 89,167




How to submit to RR of the Day:
Create a
Flickr account if you don't already have one. Search for and join the group called 'Autoblog RR of the Day'. Upload up to three photos of your ride to your own account at a size no larger than 450 pixels wide if possible and include as much information about it and yourself as possible. Even if your ride is sweet, it will not be chosen if there's not a lot of info accompanying it. Click on each photo and just above the picture it will say "Send to group". Click that and select the Autoblog group. You're done, that's it!


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Well chosen Fairlady!

      Truly the car that provided the beachhead for the Japanese here in the US market. It is nice to see it so well preserved, and kept true to the designers' intent. So many old Z-cars have been lumped with V8's or pimped in some excessive fashion. Nice color too!

      --chuck

        • 6 Years Ago
        If this is going to general comments I'm in. I noticed a similar color to mine which I have owned forever. Z's are way to soft, and the Adco heavy duty sway bars and Koni shocks make it handle. My Z
        http://zekfrivolous.com/280z/page_01.htm
      • 8 Years Ago
      Dev - If you want to stay with that "retro" look try these Panasports http://www.panasport.com/fs16.html. I've had the lightened racing version on my 240Z for several years.

      If you want to go 17" and drop some coin try these Simmons FR-17s http://www.groupawheels.com/images/240z_FR17.jpg http://www.simmonswheel.com.au/range.html, they're the best wheels I've ever seen on a Z-Car. Unfortunately, about six-months after I imported a set about 10 years ago, some thug-in-training jacked them in my parking lot. Hope his cell mate showed him how to really "pimp his ride".
      • 8 Years Ago
      Another great older ride. First that 510, then the Celica and now this. One of my long term goals is to find a 70s Z-car (pre-ZX) and restore it/fix it up. That one is off to a beautiful start. It's gonna be tough to pick a winner.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What a fantastic car.... this owner has much to be proud of. Gosh I wish this was still made!

      I love the 2 door long nose hatch style, especially when such a car has good performance capabilities. There are so few cars of this body type available today, and all the good ones are up at 50-60k+.
      • 8 Years Ago
      @Lance

      I think if I actually did a swap it would be the turbo engine from the slightly newer 280ZX. I used to spend some time at the local drag strip and someone there had a total sleeper/beater Z that ran consistent low 12's with that setup. I loved that thing.. it was the ugliest car you've ever seen, but it stomped a lot of cars.

      @James & @Eric

      Yeah, the Panasports are definitely #2 on my list. If anything they are lightweight racing wheels, and I'm sure the 17's or the existing ones I have now are super heavy. I did see someone at zhybrid.org with some 17" Panasports which looked really cool, but at the same time I'm beginning to think wheels that big would look pretty ghetto-fabulous on a fairly original car like mine.

      @Chuck

      I agree. While I can understand how fun a V8 Z would be, it does make my stomach turn...
      • 6 Years Ago
      in what year was the datsun 240, 260 or 280 (z) first available in the color gold?
      i have had 1 240, 2 260's and 2 280 z's. never have owned a zx but do like the 8o+ body style. my last 260 was stolen by a local nissan dealer in an insurance deal. car was totaled by insurance and before i could even clean it out, the nissan dealer claims to have disposed of the vehicle. while i was on a med cruise, my wife told me that she saw the car inside their shop going thru restore. i was po'ed but what can ya do?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Slap in an sr20det Please! Get some nice same size yet nicely retro styled wheels(like chaparrals), 17's will look too beefy/ricey.

      But seriously, great car!
      • 8 Years Ago
      My dad owned a red one, this 280 looks good in blue
      • 8 Years Ago
      A side comment... I suspect a fairly large percentage of cars on eBay sell this way: A car auction never meets reserve, but serious potential buyers can now negotiate with the owner outside of the auction format. I'm sure eBay doesn't like this aspect that comes into play for any auction, particularly higher-dollars items, but I see few ways to avoid it within their current structure.

      Great car, devnulled! I like to see a classic that has been kept true to its roots.
      • 8 Years Ago
      My dad had one exactly like this one except with a T top. Awww i miss my childhood summers on the roads.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Christ, I miss my 240. I know where it went and maybe one day I'll be able to get it back.

      Dev, you have a beautiful car and you should be proud, it will get my vote for RR of the week for sure!
      DriftPunch
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like this alot, and much of the reason why is because of the 16 inch wheels. I suspect I won't like it as much once the size increases. I think that sidewall height is really important on a car like this. Much larger and it will lose a lot of its class. The line between classic and gaudy can easily be crossed.
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