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darkbuddha Reader
8/18/11 11:18 p.m.

So, we were offered my father-inlaw's original owner, daily driven, 250k+ mile, 1981 Datsun 280zx 2+2 for FREE. Never one to turn down an old cool car, especially when it's a family heirloom, we of course said yes. The problem is that the car was in Miami and we live in Sarasota. Suffice it to say, it is now home in our garage (pic below), but that's not what this post is about. This is about what it cost us to go get this slightly beat, nearly worthless, totally used up "classic".

First, I don't own a tow vehicle... never needed one before really. So what do I do? I recruit my brother for assistance and draft his '03 P71 Crown Vic as the mule by having a brand new hitch installed on it (with wiring). Okay, fine... $285 (after tax, including bar, ball, pin, & clip).

Now, since the only trailer in the family right now would barely hold a Fiat spider, I had to rent a UHAUL trailer... one way, from Miami to Sarasota. Another $125 (with their damage insurance). Then, because the UHAUL trailer is designed to be hauled by their trucks, we had to buy a lift bar (and another ball) for the hitch to have enough ground clearance for the tongue, or it would've been like we were plowing to plant seed. Cha-ching... another $40.

Lest I forget, there was the two tanks of fuel too... gulp gulp gulp goes $120

Add in buying my brother breakfast, lunch, some snacks/drinks, and sending him home with a full gas tank... another $50.

So what did that "free" 280zx cost again??? $620. SIX HUNDRED TWENTY DOLLARS!!! And after assessing the car, I'm pretty sure we over-payed. But whatcha gonna do... it was a free 280zx, and it's grandpa's old car. It's not like we could've said no, right?

My question now is: are we still allowed to call it "free" if/when we build into our GRM $20XX Challenge car?

Pics as promised:

mad_machine SuperDork
8/18/11 11:22 p.m.

looks better than a 1k 280z would cost here

JohnyHachi6 Reader
8/18/11 11:27 p.m.
darkbuddha wrote: My question now is: are we still allowed to call it "free" if/when we build into our GRM $20XX Challenge car?

Bad news I'm afraid. 2011 Challenge, Rule 14:

"Shipping (or transportation costs) of the car and parts used in the building process must be counted toward the budget."

nocones HalfDork
8/18/11 11:48 p.m.

Good news though. My understanding is you only have to count the trailer rental and gas. The hitch and food are not. Counted

speedbiu New Reader
8/18/11 11:53 p.m.

Well sense you told your story the way you did ya gotta count it,however if you had have drove/road down with your brother and had dinner with your In laws and they gave you the car you could have just brought it home for free because you didn't go specifically to pick the car up,you went for dinner.All the stuff your brother bought for his car don't go against your budget because he bought it for his car not yours and its your challenge car. The price of the car will be FMV. Good luck and see ya at the challenge! 280s are cool cars!

darkbuddha Reader
8/18/11 11:58 p.m.

Just an aside, but do I read that right: you must include the cost of transportation costs for parts runs? Do ya gotta include the cost of getting into the pull-a-part yard too? Seriously, I highly doubt folks include all the transportation costs involved for parts in their budgets... between shipping costs and/or fuel costs for parts runs, that'd add up pretty quick for a lot of folks.

darkbuddha Reader
8/19/11 12:03 a.m.
nocones wrote: Good news though. My understanding is you only have to count the trailer rental and gas. The hitch and food are not. Counted

And only half the total gas costs since the car was only "transported" for half the trip. If that's correct, then from a Challenge car perspective, it's cost me $185. I can live with that.

BTW, right now we don't intend on making it a Challenge car necessarily. But I figure if we're gonna fix it up a bit on the kind of budget we're already planning, there's no reason I couldn't bring it to the Challenge next year. We'll see though... SWMBO holds the title on this one.

novaderrik Dork
8/19/11 3:30 a.m.

does it run? if so, why did you not just drive it?

darkbuddha Reader
8/19/11 6:27 a.m.

No clutch, no brakes, no battery, dry rotted tires, blown dampers, and a gas leak, and that's just the stuff that obviously made it un-driveable... goodness knows what else is wrong with it.

Taiden HalfDork
8/19/11 6:35 a.m.

302 or sbc swap?

darkbuddha Reader
8/19/11 6:59 a.m.

Small block would be fun, but we'll probably keep the L28 in it for now and focus on getting it handling and looking pretty good. Eventually I think I'd like to do an L28ET conversion (turbo!) with a bit of extra boost, of course.

Taiden HalfDork
8/19/11 7:07 a.m.

I think it would be cool to do a swap but keep it period correct. That's why 302/sbc came to mind.

nocones HalfDork
8/19/11 7:10 a.m.

The more I think about it I'm just not sure why transportation costs are included at all. Why should it matter to the spirit of the rules (that someone could replicate my Challenge car for <$20XX) what my proximitity to a project is. It shouldn't mater if my basis is 10 minutes away or accross the country. I'm 10 hours from ATL but some of the guys on the board are only 5 miles. Why should they be allowed to buy those cars for purchase plus nothing but for me it costs purchase plus $200 minimum. Tools don't count against the budget and a truck and trailer is just a tool. I don't count the costs to go to the event.. I realize that GRM has to draw the line somewhere, but to me it feels like where they drew the line is a bit inconsistent. That said I haven't ever done a Challenge so I'm kinda just that internet whiner at this point. I do have a Challenge project kicking around that I have $350 into as it sits including $167 in gas to go to southern georgia and back..

93EXCivic SuperDork
8/19/11 7:40 a.m.

Your free car is much better looking then my free car. http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/spitfire-build-thread/36598/page1/

emodspitfire Reader
8/19/11 9:13 a.m.

Since the elevation change from Miami to Sarasota is +/- 100 feet, (maybe) and its all Interstate......I woulda flat towed that fossil.....


spnx New Reader
8/19/11 9:19 a.m.

Not bad!

And I see you fit three cars in that garage.

darkbuddha Reader
8/19/11 9:19 a.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic: But I think your's is cooler!

In reply to emodspitfire: We did seriously consider tow-bar'ing it (especially since we own a good tow bar), but I knew the tires were old, and it turns out there are several half empty cans of fix-a-flat in the car. Not a good sign.

darkbuddha Reader
8/19/11 9:28 a.m.

In reply to spnx: Good eye. But you're actually right... the garage is only 22' wide, but it's 32 deep. So when I finally get rid of the old toys, my wife's childhood crap, and a couple sets of wheels and worn out tires (and get my tire rack built), I should actually be able to fit 3 real cars in there. That's a good thing, 'cause I can't see leaving the Mach outside after it's done:

AngryCorvair SuperDork
8/19/11 10:37 a.m.

In reply to darkbuddha:

you totally get style points for using the '03 mach 1 wheels on the '70.

ClemSparks SuperDork
8/19/11 11:30 a.m.

I feel your pain on the expense of hauling home a "free" car. But to look at it from a different perspective. If you had been looking for a 280Z, you'd have probably though $600 wasn't too bad a deal if you found one locally (or maybe $500 and a tow truck bill).

But these are the kind of reasons I aspire to have a rock-solid reliable tow vehicle and trailer in my life at all times (I haven't made it there yet, but getting closer!).

And I plus-oned the post above about how it does seem counter-spirit to the challenge to have to pay for a road trip in the budget. Road trips are half the fun (and most of the story) involved in noteworthy car projects. Seems harsh to ding a challenge budget for a cool story.


darkbuddha Reader
8/21/11 12:44 p.m.

I agree... it is kinda a bummer to have to include car hauling costs in the Challenge budget, especially when it comes to leveling out regional differences. Someone who scores a rust free car in the southwest close to home is way ahead in some aspects. But if someone in the upper midwest has to go to the southwest to pick up the same rust free project, they're penalized by having to include the hauling costs in their budget. The internet has been fairly successful in leveling out prices on materials, parts, etc., but those prices don't seem to take into account how some things are effected by regionalisms like salted winter roads.

AngryCorvair wrote: you totally get style points for using the '03 mach 1 wheels on the '70.

Thanks. I immediately started trying to buy a set of take-offs the moment the '03 Machs hit the street, but I ended up having to wait a couple years for prices to come down. Besides being a stylistically awesome design (especially for the '70), they were super cheap at $200 with good tires.

sanman Reader
8/21/11 1:21 p.m.

Go with a stroker motor if you can. You already have the L28 in the car. You just need the head from a 240z and a stroker kit I believe. Those motors make good power stock and can be turbo'd later. At least that is what I recall from my brief love affair with z cars.

cwh SuperDork
8/21/11 1:50 p.m.

Looking hard at that car, it is obviously a true Florida car. Don't see a single sign of rust. Did you look carefully for it? The flaws you listed are not bad. I did a clutch on a 260z by my self, apartment parking lot. I referred to it as my afternoon of pumping aluminum. Been quite a while, but there were 280's in the pick and pulls around here. They are easy to work on. My 280zx, 1979, made it to 314K miles, when my wife t-boned a truck with it.

mtn SuperDork
8/21/11 3:26 p.m.

I'm not sure that it would be "free" on the challenge budget anyways. If it wasn't offered up to the public, you would have to value it at FMV.

darkbuddha Reader
8/21/11 4:06 p.m.

In reply to sanman: I'll look into a stroker kit if we end up rebuilding the motor.

As for the condition of the car, there is rust, but it's just not as bad as classic Z cars are known for. The rust has bubbled the paint and undercoating badly, but it's not rusted through anywhere and there won't be any need for panel replacement or major repair. The underbody has rust at the seams, but again, no holes, and the floors are super solid. One of the front subframe members is bashed in pretty good, along with one of the floorboards (looks like someone jacked the car up using the floor... WTF?!?!!!). My plan is to remove, treat, and coat the rust spots (with POR15 or similar), do basic body work, and give it a $300 Maaco single stage paint job. Get it mechanically sound, get the chassis/suspension/brakes in order, and give it a lipstick job. It won't be a "contender", but it'll be a nice looking classic driver, which will be a nice change.

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