When one project ends, another begins!  Our next project happens to be this 1983 Datsun / Nissan 280ZX. 

At some point, we acquired a 1983 280ZX Coupe Non-turbo from a local person here in Phoenix. It had been stored in a garage for about 10 years, was not in running and while it had higher miles, all the parts were there and in generally good condition. It was a good solid car that needed a little TLC.

1983 Nissan 280ZX before restoration

There was some decent damage to the right rear quarter panel but nothing that would require frame work - just panel repair.  And the usual minor dents here and there had accumulated, demonstrating to us that this was a parked car that had eventually become a "staging area" or shelf for boxes and miscellaneous items filling an overflowing garage.

So, after weighing our options, we planned to refresh the car and sell it as is. 

At about the same time, one of our restoration clients sent us a copy of a Nissan ZX brochure from 1983 to show us the exact car that he was looking for. 

1983 Nissan 280ZX Original Photo

The photo identical to the vehicle in our shop - same color, same wheels, same interior, pinstriping, etc...  Exactly what he was looking for – but with 40+ years of maturity. We sent him the photo of the car and it was love at first sight.  He wanted that car- but with the TLC already applied.  So our next project took shape.

Because our customer wanted to devote more of the budget to the exterior and interior, we set up a plan to keep all mechanical work budget friendly.  So, our focus was not completely restoring and refinishing everything tucked under the hood, but making sure that we had a solidly running car.  In order to make it budget friendly, we were able to salvage a working engine and 5 speed transmission from a donor car. We installed a new clutch and resurfaced flywheel, and while the engine was not fully rebuilt, it was degreased, painted and the main gaskets were replaced before reinstalling into the car. But while test driving, we noticed that the transmission kept popping out of gear.  So out the transmission came again, so that we could rebuild it and solve that issue.  Good as new!  

1983 Nissan 280ZX engine compartment

1983 Nissan 280ZX Underside Inspection

The fuel tank had seen better days so we refurbished and reinstalled it, along with the fuel sending unit.  Many new fuel components were installed including a new fuel pump, fuel damper, fuel pressure regulator, fuel injectors, hoses, and more.  A powder coated header replaced the stock exhaust manifold and was connected back into the stock exhaust system to complete the system.

But this was just the beginning.  Tune in next time to see what else was in store for this 1983 Nissan 280ZX!