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classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/12/22 11:41 p.m.

I figured I'd wait to start this thread, but as I unwind tonight, I figure there is no time like the present. I'll introduce the car in this post, and go through some more history (this car and personal) and retrieval story in the next. I'm calling it the Zed here as PO said the car spent some time in England, though I actually think it was Holland.

So, the car: 

1975 280z, 4 speed with AC

Last on the road in 1994, not entirely sure why it stopped being driven. Went through a few folks (next post), but has been sitting in the same spot for at least a decade. Owner finally decided to sell this and his 2+2, and listed them only on a Z-car forum as he wanted them to go to an enthusiast.

The Good: Texas bodied, not real modified, and good looking example of a 280z. Challenge priced (by a few hundred, even), and has a clean title. 

The Bad: 28 years of sitting means everything will need to get touched. Mouse nests inside, gas varnish on the outside of the tank, every joint creaks, and locking gas cap and hatch lock are both stuck.

The Ugly: Sometime during it's resting period, it rolled back and hit something. The hatch is pretty effed, the tail light panel is pretty effed, driver's quarter has some nice big dents - and the driver's door doesn't quite close or latch. That could be the latch itself, but I think the quarter panel shifted just enough to catch the top of the door's sheet metal :(

 

Pictures - some are mine, some are the seller's.

 

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
2/12/22 11:51 p.m.

Sweet! Z car take over! 

Pretty excited for you man, glad you were able to make it work.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/13/22 12:03 a.m.

So, for the long text - feel free to skip!

The Z has been a dream car of mine for a long time. I didn't grow up around cars, but I knew I wanted something do with Cars in general. Late middle school/early high school I saw a 240sx online that absolutely hit me different, and got me on track. First car was a 93 240sx hatchback. Loved it but had no idea how to maintain or fix, and neither did my parents - so it went before I turned 17. I drove a beater V6 Mustang for a while, until I had saved up enough money to find a true project, that I really would have to buy tools and dig deep to learn how to work on. That ended up being a slicktop 1980 280zx, with a blown headgasket and a chunk of frame rail rotted out. I paid $1000 and wished it could have been a Z-car, not a ZX.

I sold that car when I went to college, and mostly moved on - found a 2nd gen Civic, then the Courier, then any number of projects, but always found myself searching FBMP/CL for cheap Z cars. Doesn't happen often. Datsun310guy's post on here maybe a month ago prompted a fresh search, and on my computer I had the old Zcar Forum bookmarked. When I checked it, the seller of this car had posted this car and his 2+2, for $1800 each, less than a day before with no responses. There were only 3 pictures and very little info, so obviously I reached out every way I could immediately. The forum must not be very busy these days, as nobody else reached out or posted any interest in the Coupe. Only problem: The car is 1000 miles away from me in Michigan. Shipping would have cost $1800, and it's 30 hours of driving to get it.

 

I spoke with my wife, and decided to go for it. She has been with me for 6 years and has listened to me talk about them over the years. We have a good family balance, and so she usually supports me if it's something she knows I want and would enjoy. I spoke with the seller and planned to go down last week, leaving home Feb 3rd and getting to him the 4th. That, of course, is the weekend that "a foot" of snow was forecasted across the whole midwest, literally Detroit down to Texarkana. So we pushed it a week.

 

I left Thursday early afternoon, with 214,094 miles on my 2000 Expedition. Trip was pretty uneventful, until I started getting some mis-firing during acceleration/load on the highway - steady state was fine. I have had this happen before, and so brought spare coil packs, and even remembered to plug in my Fixd OBD2 scanner. I pulled into a gas station in Marion, IL and idled until it set a CEL. Of course it was cylinder 4, back passenger side - toughest to get to, but still not terrible. 30 Minute stop and I was on the way. Fortunately that was my only mechanical hiccup, and I made it another several hours to a Rest Stop ~20 miles West of Memphis, where I slept for 4 hours or so.

Got up Friday and made it the last 3.5 hours to Texarkana and the U-Haul pickup, then to the seller. As with most of us car guys, he had a lot of good stories about both Z cars, as well as his pair of trucks - He dailies a pretty cool squarebody, and has a beautiful frame-off 65(?) Chevy truck with a straight 6/3 on the tree he'll be finishing soon. 

Got the car loaded up and made it ~9 hours back to Mt. Vernon, IL before being too tired to go on. I got a hotel room, and finished my drive today, Saturday - home mid-afternoon - 216,177 on the clock. Just under 2,100 miles. $440 worth of gas, and a $243 U-haul, meant that actual transportation costs were under $700. I probably got to $700 with coffee and snacks, and had a $100 Hotel Room, bringing my transport total to around $800 and a vacation day, or a full $1000 less than my quote through Intercity. Win!

Not that it's really important, but the seller had initially advertised this as a 1976. When I got there, he was surprised to see 1975 on the title.. No big deal, but my Courier is also a 1975, and a Texas car to start it's life - so it felt a little bit more special, for exclusively emotional reasons.

 

 


I ended up getting ~3 owners worth of oral history. 

PO3 - Melvin

P02

PO.

PO3, Melvin - bought the car in Arizona sometime in the 80s. He was a military man, and ended up driving the car in the SW, before shipping it with him over to Europe while he was stationed there (car has some Receipts and a Z-club sticker from Holland). Car came back over, and might have spent some time in Alabama before coming back to Texas. It was inspected/registered in Texas in 1994, but Melvin doesn't think he ever got a Texas title, which is confusing. 

At some point it went to PO2, possibly after Melvin got moved or stationed again? PO2 put some Marvel Mystery oil down the cylinders, and the "ding" happened to the rear end. PO2 also bought, I kid you not, 5 spare tail-light assemblies.

He knew PO had the 2+2, so he tried to sell it to him for a while - but then needed to move, and ended up dropping it off with PO, probably 10-15 years ago. In 2016, PO and his brothers worked with Melvin (still friends/acquaintances at least) and got a Texas title for the car.

This year, PO decided that he's probably not going to work on the cars, and would rather have the space/cash to build a newer house on his land. So that's my history on the car, and why a Z-car has been a decade in the making, for me. 

relevant 280zx pics:

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 Reader
2/13/22 12:24 a.m.

Oh joy!!! Another Z-car thread. Really do love these body shapes. Just a pitty that they all but disappeared here in South Africa

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
2/13/22 8:44 a.m.

You stole it even needing everything 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau UltraDork
2/13/22 11:26 a.m.

Amazing deal! What's the plan for it?

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
2/13/22 11:42 a.m.

I love the louvers. Being an 80s kid means these were the hotness to me growing up. I've been loving  all the z car threads.

StripesSA1
StripesSA1 Reader
2/13/22 11:50 a.m.
dculberson said:

I love the louvers. Being an 80s kid means these were the hotness to me growing up. I've been loving  all the z car threads.

You know what, born in '86, meant growing up in the' 90s, and first owning a car in the 2000's.... My first car being a 76 VW Beetle, and since day one I searched for louvre for that car. And that was before Fb was something, or Gumtree, or even Google, came to South Africa. Which meant scanning the weekly Newspapers in a 3 town radius for one, and I found one, restored it and installed it.

Got a lot of compliments from the older crowd for adding one to my car

 

 

Man I miss my Bug, but I do NOT miss trying to find parts for it

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/13/22 1:13 p.m.

I'm lost.  Did you buy the '75?  Did you buy the ZX?

I have a '75 almost finished.  It's  having a final sand and buff after new paint, same color as yours.  I was lucky to find a 1 owner, no rust, all original Z.

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
2/13/22 1:30 p.m.
classicJackets (FS) said:

PO3 - Melvin

P02

PO.

PO3, Melvin - bought the car in Arizona sometime in the 80s. He was a military man, and ended up driving the car in the SW, before shipping it with him over to Europe while he was stationed there (car has some Receipts and a Z-club sticker from Holland). Car came back over, and might have spent some time in Alabama before coming back to Texas. It was inspected/registered in Texas in 1994, but Melvin doesn't think he ever got a Texas title, which is confusing.

If he was military that wouldn't be too unusual.  At one point I had a South Carolina license, Mississippi title, Florida tags, and officially my residence for tax purposes was California.  Great car.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/13/22 1:57 p.m.
maj75 (Forum Supporter) said:

I'm lost.  Did you buy the '75?  Did you buy the Zx?

I had the ZX in 2013 when I couldn't afford a Z, so now I have the z!

Your car sounds awesome, and close to being even better!

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
2/13/22 3:49 p.m.

Good points

no rust

not a 2+2

no aftermarket sunroof

stick shift

no rust 

Bad points 

my dad had a 210 that Pooh brown color that I can't get past. 
 

nice score.  Congratulations 

FJ40Jim
FJ40Jim New Reader
2/14/22 12:06 p.m.

Nice find. The '75 is a good year because it still has spraybar cam oiling and big exhaust ports. If you find a 2+2 of that era, IIRC they all have an R200 rear diff and a larger clutch & flywheel. The FW is heavier, but a few minutes on a lathe can make it much lighter.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/14/22 1:35 p.m.
maschinenbau said:

Amazing deal! What's the plan for it?

See if I can get it sanitized enough to sit in it, compression test, come-along the rear quarter enough for the door to shut, and then check wiring/mechanicals enough to just drive it. I learned my lesson with how not to do a big project with my Courier, so this one will be an attempt at just revive and drive.

My wife said last night, after it came off the trailer - that she thought it was really cute and she liked looking out and seeing it, so I'm chocking that up as a major win.

FJ40Jim said:

Nice find. The '75 is a good year because it still has spraybar cam oiling and big exhaust ports. If you find a 2+2 of that era, IIRC they all have an R200 rear diff and a larger clutch & flywheel. The FW is heavier, but a few minutes on a lathe can make it much lighter.

 

So, you're saying I should go back for his 2+2?? It's a 75 or 76.. Other than the doglegs, it was actually even cleaner-bodied than this, just needed some kind of head work.

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
2/14/22 1:43 p.m.
classicJackets (FS) said: So, you're saying I should go back for his 2+2?? It's a 75 or 76.. Other than the doglegs, it was actually even cleaner-bodied than this, just needed some kind of head work.

Yes. Part it out and profit if you aren't in to the 2+2 look (I'm not)

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/14/22 4:31 p.m.

My wife said last night, after it came off the trailer - that she thought it was really cute and she liked looking out and seeing it, so I'm chocking that up as a major win.

many years ago, sitting at an outdoor table, i hear a healthy 6-cyl coming up the street.  i was facing the wrong way, and when my wife said "ooh, what's *that*?!" i turned around to see a lovely early 2-seat Z.  when i told her what it was, she said "get rid of the 944 and get one of those!" at the time, a 944 was about 25% the price of a similar-condition 240Z.  but at least i know that there's one car out there that my wife would approve.  :-)

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/15/22 8:35 a.m.

In reply to AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) :

Keep an eye out! Otherwise, I'll throw this one your way for a weekend once it's "safe" to drive.

 

Good news from this AM is that I can tell the driver's side and passenger's side door-side latches are not working the same - meaning I hope the reason the door isn't closing is because of the latch, not the body damage.

 

So, wanted to put in a first parts order last night, figured I better dig through the boxes in the car first!

I took the taillights out for the ride home so they wouldn't bounce around on the trailer, but here's 4 left side lamps and one right side. I also found a number of spare emblems, sail panel logos, shift knob, and brand new Side Marker housings. There's some other stuff, too - but it's mostly rubber components or tune-up parts that I'm not sure I'll use.

papamilad
papamilad New Reader
2/15/22 8:11 p.m.

Oh hell yes this is dope. Bring this thing down to the challenge, I'll mob down with you from ATL in mine

birdmayne
birdmayne Reader
2/15/22 8:31 p.m.
papamilad said:

Oh hell yes this is dope. Bring this thing down to the challenge, I'll mob down with you from ATL in mine

[Checks calendar]

[Consults Google Maps]

Ya... no. I won't be able to join that Z parade 

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/26/22 10:27 a.m.

Okay, poked around underneath it in the last few days and made a quick video showing that! (I'll drop it lower down. It wouldn't "export" at >720P without me buying the premium software, which isn't expensive - I'll probably do that for the next videos)


In summary: The fenders, rockers, and quarters are rock solid. Passenger frame rail couldn't have been much better when it came off the line.

Driver's frame rail looks like it's been used as a jack point a bunch, possibly already has a patch (not well done) behind the driver's door/seat, but is at least not rusty. 

The floors on both sides are largely feeling pretty solid, although behind the seat on the passenger side seems a little soft and the front portion of the driver's floor near the drain plug seems a little less solid. 

 

Plans from here:

Drop gas tank, pull valve cover to inspect cam/top end damage from sitting (if any), pull seats/carpet/mouse nest.

 

After that, I will see if I can drain/refill oil and maybe try a compression test. My first order of new parts is here (Brake hoses, clutch hydraulic system, wheel bearings, and a few others), but I'm not in a rush to get them installed as those should all be basic wrenching. More interested in doing some deeper troubleshooting for engine mechanical, and making the car not disgusting to be around.

 

(frame rail is out of focus but you can see the metal here, where the undercoating is chipping away)

 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/26/22 11:06 a.m.

Nice! Great car, great color, needs Panasports! And you must keep the louvers.

papamilad
papamilad New Reader
2/27/22 12:30 p.m.

Looks pretty solid, I tried to de-rust my gastank by filling it with vinegar and trying to flush it with baking soda and water but I didn't have much luck preventing flash rust. Ended up bringing it to a rad shop to clean and coat the inside (think they used red-kote) and it turned out great. If yours is too far gone I think s30.world is coming out with reproduction tanks for 280Zs soon, though theyre pretty pricey (~700$)

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/27/22 7:54 p.m.

Well I got it all the way up on cribs tonight, definitely found more rust but none of it too shocking. Mainly, rear ends of the frame rails and the battery tray area.

I also braved the mouse nest to snag a picture of the awesome tape player and glovebox equalizer. Love it!!

With this, it should get easier to drain the tank and get it out/to a rad shop for boiling, as papamilad suggested. If I can get the locking gas cap to release!

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) SuperDork
2/28/22 10:47 a.m.

Good news, gas tank is out. This will trigger another parts order for all the hoses I just mangled, as well as some of the mounting hardware. Not a fun job at all, but glad to be making progress.

 

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) Dork
2/28/22 12:03 p.m.

I'm working right now with a '73 240z that was supposed to be "rust free."  It will be truly shocking to see how much rust you have when you start poking at the visible rust.  I've replaced the complete floors, the complete sub-frames, the complete inner and outer inner fender under the battery, the dog legs, the lower front fenders and haven't addressed the hatch area bondo butchery.  It's a good thing the guy I brought it from isn't close.  I could take about $15K out of his ass.

And it came from Texas...

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