Z Car Source Blog - A Day At The Auction
Each day, we speak with countless Z Car enthusiasts seeking parts for their restorations. During our conversations on how we can best help you and your project, we often have little sidebar conversations. Our most frequent off topic questions revolve around prospective vehicle values, where we are located, and "oh, Arizona! Do you guys go to Barrett Jackson each year?"
In the past, we have been less than enthused about the Z Car representation at shows like this, as there has been minimal showing for a very long time. The Datsun Drought has been going on for many years, so from a Datsun perspective, our trip to the auction has been largely for the purpose of stretching our legs and chatting about cars and history with friends. This year, we are happy to say, was different. With the recent surge in Datsun Z Car collectors, 6 cars were slated to go across the stage. SIX!!! This year alone was more than the past 10 years of Barrett Jackson in Arizona combined. With this in mind we thought you may want to see what we found as we walked the lineups at Barrett Jackson this year.
The cars couldn't be more different from each other and represent a fantastic cross section of what cars are really out there. There were 4 1970-1978 S30 models and 2 1979-83 S130 cars that got “adopted” into new homes. We will work from Survivor to Restored in this quick synopsis.
1983 Nissan 280ZX 2+2 with T-Tops
This silver-on-silver 4 seater had a bit over 162k miles on it and was original. The door mirror showed slight plastic chipping on the edge of the housing and the paint had faded away. The seats were in solid condition for their time in use and the fact that this was a vehicle local to the Phoenix area - a bit weathered but not splitting. The car was in very solid condition for being an ‘83 model. This Nissan 280ZX even had the typical ding in the lower air dam and scuff on the right front corner from feeling its way into a parking spot once or twice. This vehicle sold for $7,700 after commission.
1973 Datsun 240Z
This was our favorite car of the bunch. Whoever is the new owner of this vehicle landed a sweet deal. Dressed in root beer paint over butterscotch interior and sitting atop the original steel wheels and hubcaps, this car was beautiful. While very apparent it had been repainted at one point, it was done well - there were no discernable blemishes or overspray. We couldn’t see the underside to assess if there were any issues with the pan but from the top, it was a complete car that showed a low 49k miles, with round top SU carburetors fitted to alleviate the flat top worries. As it crossed the stage, bidding concluded at $20,900 after commission. An absolute steal for a vehicle in this condition and mileage.
1980 Datsun 280ZX 2+2 Hardtop
Walking up to this car, we were pleasantly surprised to see a Datsun 280ZX that had been restored and continued to be driven and enjoyed. So many restorations get relegated to being "too fragile" to take out and enjoy. The paint was glossy with a rock chip or two present. As a whole, this car was very impressive and sold for $6,050. As a casual spectator, it is difficult to say why this car sold for such a small sum. Its condition is indicative of a much higher valuation. This may be a measure of a car going up for auction sale at the wrong time. The 70-78 vehicles are definitely feeling their value rise due to nostalgia and the GT styled Z Cars are yet to see the sharp rise. It may also be that this car went for sale to an empty auditorium allowing for a low sale price - this can only be imagined as it sold the day prior and we were not witness to it.
1977 Datsun 280Z
This Datsun 280Z was in reasonable condition. It was sporting some bolt-on modifications such as triple Weber carburetors, camshaft, seats, rear disc brakes and aftermarket wheels. This vehicle is fairly typical of what we see in various markets show up for sale online. As the gavel hit on the final bid, it went to a new owner for $14,850.
1977 Datsun 280Z Small Block Chevy
We nearly walked past this car, as it was positioned in the display area near a lifted Oldsmobile Hearse with airbrushed flames and police cruiser lights mounted to the roof. Distraction definitely had it's grasp for a moment.
The Chevy 350 can be found in almost every iteration of gasoline powered transportation. As one of the most common swaps into the Z platform, it makes sense to encounter one at such an event. Especially when it really does represent a cross section of vehicles one would expect to see at a local Z meet. This car had been fitted with an aero kit and wing to add a bit more flair to it. A fee of $16,500 was paid for this machine. (The hearse was sold for $7,150)
1972 Datsun 240Z
Dressed in the factory orange hue, and possessing receipts for a recent full restoration, this car pulled top dollar for all the Z cars at the event. Surprising to us were the velour seats as opposed to the original style vinyl and the chrome bumpers sans rubber. Aside from that, a fair representation of an original 1972 car. This vehicle makes one wonder: if the root beer ‘73 had more documentation of parts and service, would it have netted a greater amount? This 918 Orange 240Z had a total $40,700 in adoption fees paid in. We hope that we get to see a ‘69 build-date car go at some point. It would be interesting to see the final tally on a low VIN car.
So, time seems to finally have caught up with these cars. Decades of memories and "I wish I had another one of those" are coming to fruition in sales numbers at the same time as the dust is being blown off the barn-finds all over the country.
*Editor’s note: Z Car Source cannot and will not say what your car is worth. We can recommend places for you to investigate prior sales with accurate notes for comparative condition appraisal. Hemmings Motor News, Barrett Jackson, Mecum, and BringATrailer.com are great sources - but always remember a vehicle's value is what someone is willing to pay for it. Through these same sites and services, we have seen Z Cars sell for far higher and far lower than we would expect.