Datsun 280z: Gutted

Yesterday I started to tear down the 280z.
In about 2.5 hrs, I had the car just about 80% done before it can go to the painter.

Carpet: out.
Seats: gone.
Passenger door: stripped.
Center console: removed.
Passenger side door trim / seal: off.

Just need to remove the driver side door / trim, all the lights, and most importantly the windows…
And I need to make more room in the garage to store all this.

We’ll let the pics do the talking.
280z interior - gutted

280z interior - door

with the door paneling off, i was able to grease up the sticky door locks. NO MORE CRAWLING THROUGH THE BACK HATCH TO UNLOCK THE DOORS! :]

280z door lock mechanism

Like a well worn couch, it’s amazing what you’ll find after 35yrs…

280z interior - found pen

… a nasty 400W amp under the driver seat (that’s probably 400W PMP (max rating) haha, so more like 100W).

280z interior - amp

And i’m now $0.39 richer. Oldest coin here though is 1983 (the quarter).

280z interior - coins

Spotted: 280zx Turbo

This morning was a blast: vinyl seats cooked my back, A/C DEFINITELY needs a recharge, and…. I spotted a red 280zx Turbo :]

Saw this guy down the street so i decided to take the long way to work.

The guy threw out a hang 10 when he noticed me in his rear view.

Cooked it between a slow Celica and even slooower Grand Prix to holler out a few “hoots”. Should’ve screamed, ‘’ instead :]

Red 280zx Turbo

280z paint scheme mock up

Fender Telecaster - Butterscotch Blonde

Well, it’s no secret, the car’s going to (needs to, really) be painted!

Luckily, there’s a great independent paint shop called Pacific Body and Paint that’s local. I got a chance to talk with the owner Ric, and had a lot of great things to say about the 280z – i could tell he was getting genuinely excited to work on the project! He took me onto his garage floor to show me some of his work; talked a bit about his methods and what my expectations were as we circled a early 70’s camaro freshly painted blue w/ white stripes.

I’m looking at painting the car in a 920 Gold Poly, an original 240z color. Interesting thing about this color, are the countless remarks on forums say the original Gold Poly (920) paint you see today is different than when it originally came out (perhaps due to age) – that it used to look more yellow-brownish.
Regardless, this car is going to be painted in a yellowish-orange; very similar to the Butterscotch Blonde you see on classic Fender Telecasters – so whatever that ends up being… 411 Sunburst Yellow?

Just to make sure i’ll like what i’m doing, I’ve photoshop’d a pic of my car not only with paint, but also included the MSA Type 1 non-ducted Air Dam, as well as the ZG flares – both of which are on their way. :] Originally my thought was to have the front air dam painted (which is why the car hasn’t been painted yet…waiting on the part to come in), but I’ve decided to leave the front air dam black to match the flares, and I’ll even keep the lower rocker panel / bottom length of the car black. Seriously, now we’re



Datsun 280z Butterscotch Blonde -


280z Carpet!

Pulled the trigger on some new carpet!

Motorsport Auto (MSA) has 280z molded carpet on sale right now for $240!
They’re manufactured by AAC, and right off the bat they look and feel great.
This kit includes the passenger area, area under the seat, and the rear trunk area (no shock towers or wheel wells). This is fine because i don’t like having carpeted towers / wells.
The carpet is a short, cut-pile carpet with sewn edges (where needed), and a very nice thickness. It even includes some carpet padding in most areas (again, where needed).

Since carpet pics on their site / internet are seriously lacking, here’s some for viewing pleasure, and a look at things to come.

MSA 280z carpet

Check out the sewn edges and ~1/4″ thick carpet pad.

MSA 280z carpet - carpet pad close up

Note the padding goes around most of the areas of carpet, even up over the center console / transmission housing area.

MSA 280z carpet - carpet pad close up 2

Passenger carpet piece

MSA 280z carpet - passenger area

Close up of the foot pad

MSA 280z carpet - foot pad close up

Carpet piece for under the seats

MSA 280z carpet - area under the seat

Carpet piece for the behind the seats, up over the luggage bar, and throughout the trunk deck. The 280z is going to look great with the new carpet!

MSA 280z carpet - back and trunk area

Got A/C?

Did an oil change on the 280z this weekend.
5 quarts of Mobil 10w30 and the car is purring.
This is a bit of an experiment because I’m using slightly thinner oil (i used 10w40 last time). Hopefully all the gaskets and seals will hold up, otherwise, it’ll help show where there needs to be re-done.

What’s missing from this picture?

280z AC belt - missing

While i was under car, i noticed a pulley without a belt… then another pulley… and another!
Hmmm i don’t know why i didn’t see that before – though i DID always wonder why the AC never got cold nor did i feel the engine power reduce a touch when turned on.

For those looking: Datsun 280z AC Cold Compressor takes a 11/16″ x 36.5″ belt.

280z AC belt - TR22358

I had to lower the adjustment pulley all the way down before i could get the belt on.
Tighten to a 1/2″ deflection, and we’re ready for summer! Now i wonder how cold the AC actually gets…

280z AC belt - installed

Work: Datsun Nissan 280zx 2+2

I love parking next to other Z cars where ever we go. The older the wider the smile.

Pounced into the parking lot at work this morning and briefly parked next to a great late 70’s (?) Nissan / Datsun 280zx… 2+2!
A quick peek in the back showed two bent 2″+ pipes… possible future exhaust?!

Work’s parking lot certainly has it’s newer 350Z and 370z cars, but it’s the first time i’ve seen this guy around. 2+2’s are growning on me.

datsun 280z 280zx meet

Though late 70’s Z cars went to more angular design, they still kept the flavor of the original design. I’m really digging the louvers.. probably keeps the back cooler in the summer.

datsun 280z 280zx meet - rear

Hood match up – both rocking black vents.

datsun 280z 280zx meet - hood

And got the same wheels! Iron Cross!

Nissan Datsun 280zx 2+2 wheel

A little extra in the back for the 2+2.

Nissan Datsun 280zx 2+2 rear quarter

Looks like a very well cared for example of a Datsun Nissan 280zx 2+2.

Nissan Datsun 280zx 2+2 - blue

Both Seat Backs Covered: 50% done

Finally got around to covering the other seat back on the 280z this past weekend – Kris was down to help me out.

After taking off the old ’77 280z basketweave seat covers we found something interesting…

77 280z original drivers seat - open

the driver side is padded! an additional layer of foam covers the hairy jute-like seat cushion.

Here’s Kris setting the hog rings, getting them in place. Again, honestly, you don’t to worry about getting hog ring pliers – we used them for a whole two seconds for a job that could’ve been done using regular pliers.

280z drivers seat - re-cover

Stretching a seat cover can be difficult work. It was a fairly warm day, so we were working with optimal conditions. Really, it’s the seat pattern that was just a touch too short for the liking.

280z drivers seat - stretching 1  280z drivers seat - stretching 2

But pulling, stretching and team work prevailed. Tucked and pierced the n0n-barred flap under the barred flap, just like last time.

And installed!

280z seat backs - installed

Now to get those seat bottoms done and the 280z will start to look good.

Gas Flap Repair

There’s a rubber flap that’s attached to the car just under the gas opening used to protect the car from accidental spillage.

35 yrs and one cold morning later, that rubber flap just broke off.

Picked up a new one from MSA for only $7.95 – Kris and I went to work. You can see the flap retainer is corroded and area under the non-existent flap is a touch rusted and broken.

Gas cap area and broken gas flap

Sanded the area, picked out the chunks, and bondo’d the gap

Gas cap area bondo repaired

Kris sanding the bondo

Gas cap area being sanded

Meanwhile the retainer is prepped and primed. The battleship gray primer makes me think the car would look good in this…

Gas flap retainer primed

While the spray can is out, Kris carefully sealed up the gas opening and we primed the gas tank area. There’s a few pits in the bondo, but i’m not too concerned as it’s going to be covered by the flap.

Gas area gets primed

The gas flap retainer gets painted a few coats of primer, then a few coats of the truck bed liner i used on the door scuff plates.

Gas flap retainer painted

Finally, the gas flap is installed on the 280z. It won’t matter now, but when I get the car painted, it’ll thank me for it. Like a bib for an old car…

Gas flap installed on the 280z

Gas flap installed on 280z, underside