From When Nissan Was Datsun: 1978 Datsun 280Z 2+2 5-Speed

  • March 15, 2021
The Rundown
  • Nissan 2.8L SOHC Gasoline Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
  • 149hp, 144 lb-ft of Torque
  • 0-60 mph in 8.2 Seconds, 120-125 mph Top-Speed
  • 58k Original Miles Stated
  • RWD, 5-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Among Japan’s Most Sought After Sports Cars
Why We Like It

Think of the original Datsun 240Z as Nissan’s “transistorized” version of the Jaguar E-Type, and it was a smash hit when it came to market for model year 1970. It’s sporty and stylish, with that long hood and tightly tapered hatchback rear deck. The hearty, smooth inline 6-cylinder engine up front was another nod to the great Brit, plus the affordable Datsun boasted great performance, dependable reliability, and solid build quality. This original gen-Z body style ran through model year 1978, and although originally only offered as a 2-seater, the handier 2+2 came along mid-stream. As heavier bumpers and more stringent emission control measures took their toll on performance, the engine was upsized a bit, resulting in the 2.6L 260Z, and finally the 2.753L version dubbed 280Z. These cars still perform well, are fun to drive, and parts and service for them is no problem.

from-when-nissan-was-datsun-1978-datsun-280z-2-2-5-speed00d0d cdXCaK0Hl7Uz 0CI0t2 1200x900

from-when-nissan-was-datsun-1978-datsun-280z-2-2-5-speed00a0a gzYqUB5niUhz 0CI0t2 1200x900We like what we’re seeing with this one: It appears to be in solid, largely original condition, and clean enough, although it needs a good detail. The owner has replaced the factory electromechanical fuel injection with a modern, computerized aftermarket injection system, and while normally the more original, the better, we submit that this upgrade doesn’t hurt the car’s value and makes it a better, more powerful, more reliable driver. The groovy root beer brown metallic paint is totally ‘70s-tastic and a very popular color when the car was new. Bonus points for it being a 5-speed manual, and also for still wearing the original steel wheels and factory Z hubcaps (so many of these were tossed away for a round of those ubiquitous aluminum slot-mags that every early Z seems to wear). Uber collector types will poo-poo this being a 280 model, not a 240, and also for the 2+2 bodystyle, instead of the “purer” 2-seater, but these factors make this car a tad more practical, and a lot less expensive to buy.

from-when-nissan-was-datsun-1978-datsun-280z-2-2-5-speed00x0x 4c9sHiwuGjhz 0CI0t2 1200x900

Valuation Verdict

You won’t buy a similar, low mile 240Z within double or triple this asking price, so that alone adds appeal and value for money. Hagerty rates a #2 excellent ’78 2+2 at up to $20,700, and a merely good #3 car at $6,800. Given this car’s overall originality, great colors, 5-speed stick, and claimed daily driver reliability, we think the ask is deep in the heart of Fair Market.

People reacted to this car