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Thread: Ability to buy first restoration car (280z) for REALLY cheap, need advice

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    Default Ability to buy first restoration car (280z) for REALLY cheap, need advice

    Alright, so a friend's dad is willing to sell me his '77 280z for only $600. From the outside I can't see any rust, but it reaaallllyyy needs a paint job. Being only 17 and not having every tool I would possibly need, should I go ahead and just bite the bullet and get it? Also wondering where to look for signs of rust. He says the radiator needs to be cleaned he says, not to sure what i'd have to do for that. Any advice would be amazing and I'm ready to post pictures if anyone wants to see more! Thanks!

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    post pics
    things will only bother you if you let them.

    82 280zxt 4 spd auto
    73 240z--lsd, cv axles
    short throw info

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    Here's some pics, terrible quality I know, I can try to get WAY better pics tomorrow or Thursday. Almost no dents at all, except for one small on about the size of a golf ball on back. He said I'd also have to put 2 new fuel injectors in, it has 2 leaky ones, he replaced the others.
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    hard to see in those pics - can't tell if it's just filthy or if the paint is gone. either way, if it runs at the very least you could clean it up and have some fun transpo!
    when you take more pics include the engine bay.

    you will certainly have to set your expectations correctly: ANY 30+ yr. old car is going to present "learning opportunities" so if you're up to tinkering this is a great option.
    i wanted one of these sooo bad when i was 17 - would have jumped at it!
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Where has the car been these past 37 years? If it has lived most/all of its life in LV, then it's quite likely it has no rust. So if it's straight, it might be a good car. I don't think you could go wrong for $600. A basic tool kit will get you through most mechanical work. These cars are quite easy to work on. With a cheap paint job, I think you'd have a fun ride.

    Is there potential for a full restoration? Maybe/probably. However it will be quite an investment of time and money. Very few cars are worth the restoration cost from an investment standpoint, including a late 280. So you'd be doing this just for your enjoyment. You simply need to ask yourself what sort of car you want to have. If you want a VERY NICE 280, then this particular car is not cheap. Instead, you should shop for one that's already restored. It will cost you much less. But if the object is to have fun driving and working on a very sexy, vintage, classic car, then this might be a great opportunity for you.

    FAIW, I think these cars look pretty cool even when they're rough.

    Stray tip: Don't park the car in the summer sun in LV! Old windshields are already brittle, and I know what the sun does to your windshields there!
    My last three sports cars while I still owned all three:

    2001 BMW Z3 Roadster 3.0i soft/hard top (sold)
    1966 Ford Mustang Coupe (sold)
    1978 Datsun 280Z (enjoying very much )

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    Hey Damienas,

    I thought i throw my .02 in.....

    600 bucks is cheap, no doubt about that.... I hate to be a kill joy, I remember what it was like getting my first car at 17.... BUT before you pull the trigger make sure you have someone go over the car thoroughly, I know this is your friends dad who is selling you that car.... but just make sure you go in to this with both eyes open..

    The radiator cleaning shouldn't be a big problem.. DEPENDING on how bad it is.. You might be able to get way with just flushing it out, or you may need to take it in to have professional cleaned, You might ask your friends dad, what makes him think the radiator needs cleaning.

    Rust can happen pretty much anywhere on the car... but I noticed that you're in Vegas, can be a good thing because your climate is much drier there... I don't know about the 280, but trouble spots on the 240 were the rear dog leg, floor board, rear hatch lip, under the battery tray area to name a few.

    As Rossiz said any 30+ yr. old car will present learning opportunities... part of that learning is being able to source parts that may not be made any more, or it might cost you 2 arms, a leg, and probably your first born if you can find the part.

    Make sure you have a place where the car can be worked on and left undisturbed if needed... the last thing you'll want and need is to tear into the car to fix something you might think is simple, only to find out half way through it ain't, or you get it back together and it won't start or run....

    Make sure you have some basic hand tools.. screw drivers, wrenches (open, and box end) in metric and standard sizes.. or have access to them... a multimeter will come in handy as well.

    And lastly if you do bite the bullet... you buy the car and it becomes a project... I don't want to say "make sure" But try to keep it as a rolling project... One of the other member said that one reason 'Z' project go by the way side, or the owner loses interest is that they aren't able to enjoy the car while working on it.

    Good luck

    Phil
    71 Series-I
    HLS3010924 - Build 9/70
    ___________________________

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    +1 on the "rolling project" tip - it's soooo much more fun to chip away at your to-do list while driving your cool new car than to try and do too much at once and miss months at a time waiting for parts, etc.
    while there are some odd bits that seem to be hard to source, just about everything you need to get it going and keep it on the road is available either aftermarket or reproduction. as FW said, these cars are really easy to work on once you get into it, and the basic engine design is surprisingly robust.

    your fuel injection system is pretty straightforward and with some clean-up and testing you should be able to get it going, but if it's a total mess you can always swap to carbs as well.

    of course i'm gonna be devil's advocate and root for the project so i can live vicariously through your work!
    '78 280z - Daily driver/work in progress...

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    Whatever you do, keep in mind that buying a vintage Z is like going to a movie at the Dollar Theater. It doesn't cost much to get in, but the popcorn and soda will cost a fortune. Lots of good advice in the previous posts.
    Dennis
    1971 240Z - Original Owner
    2010 Infiniti G37 Convertible

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    Registered User siteunseen's Avatar
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    Mr Cunningham on Happy Days sold paint cheap but the brushes were high as a giraffes ass.
    1972 240Z #918 New Sight Orange
    1977 280Z #305 Light Blue Metallic
    1972 240Z #110 Persimmons Red

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    That's up there for sure Cliff! HA!

    Damienas, lots of good advice so far. Mine was "staged" and I really took my time and enjoyed the hell out of it. Was able to drive through almost every stage except for the engine and suspension work which I used vacation time for. So take your time, ask for help, and do things right and you should be successful. Not to mention the satisfaction of doing it yourself. I sent you a PM.

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