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Used car buying guide: Nissan 300ZX

The 300ZX restored the reputation of Nissan’s legendary Z-series sports cars after the woeful 280ZX and 300Z models that immediately preceded it.

A huge 2 2, the 300ZX had smooth but muscular styling, four-wheel steerage and a 3.Zero-litre petrol V6 with variable cam timing fed by a pair of quick-acting Garrett turbochargers with twin intercoolers.

Not only did it draw a line under its predecessors but it also bested those other Japanese super-coupés, the Mitsubishi 3000GT, Mazda RX-7 and Toyota Supra. It even gave the likes of the Porsche 944 S2 pause for thought.

Launched in the UK in 1990, the rear-wheel-drive 300ZX conformed to Japan’s newly agreed maximum power limit of 280PS (276bhp) – but still enough to launch it from zero to 62mph in a shade over five seconds. It was offered with a choice of four-speed automatic or five-speed manual gearboxes. The UK got the 2+2 but Japan also had a more focused, two-seat, short-wheelbase version (they’re still highly prized grey imports to this day) that paved the way for the Nissan 350Z of 2002. Air conditioning, anti-lock brakes, cruise control and electric mirrors were standard on UK cars. Leather trim with electric seats was an option.

Unfortunately, for all its fine qualities, the 300ZX was stymied from the start by a high asking price of £35,000. Enough were sold to convince the car maker it could rise above its Micra and Bluebird grassroots market but, after the initial excitement had worn off, sales wilted. It was pulled just four years later, while in Japan and some other markets it soldiered on, gaining some important updates in 1998, among them HID headlights, before bowing out in 2000.

Today, the mass of 300ZXs on sale look pretty disreputable. If tin bug hasn?T got them, the move-quicker brigade (400bhp power enhancements are not unusual) continually have. Our ?Buyer beware? Covers the principle points you have to search for.

You may additionally find your self getting excited about an obvious bargain, best to find out that it?S a grey-import non-faster model. (It?S now not constantly certainly said.) You?Ll truly see lots of automobiles. Beware of early examples of these due to the fact the ?Packing containers had overheating problems. Check the great of the gearbox oil, too. In their favour, they'll no longer have suffered pretty any such difficult existence because the manuals. On that factor, although there are greater manuals round, they?Re no longer so well represented inside the classifieds.

Meanwhile, the 300ZX is cursed with now not one however Achilles heels. The cooling system isn?T enough for the excessive engine temperatures, so test the circumstance of all hoses and the satisfactory of the coolant. Also, the Targa-style roof can drain into the sills, inflicting terrible issues.

Hopefully, that hasn?T put you off shopping for a 300ZX, because a tidy one in wellknown trim remains an outstanding and dignified aspect. Rare, real, however that makes it more unique.

Did you recognize:

A 60sec ad for the 300ZX Twin Turbo, directed by way of Sir Ridley Scott, became aired during Super Bowl XXIV in 1990. However, Nissan executives then agreed to drag the industrial after pressure groups objected to its depiction of pace.

How to get one in your storage:

An expert?S view - JAMES THOMAS, POWERZED

?I sold my ZX, an import, in 2005. It has now completed approximately 80,000 miles and, because I look after it well, in no way positioned a foot wrong. It does around 22mpg however can do 30mpg on a toll road run. It has no bodykit or add-ons. I hate the ones matters. The vehicle looks precise sufficient in preferred trim. Saying that, a good supplier of pinnacle-nice aftermarket bits is Stillen [stillen.Com], based by US racer Steve Millen, who raced the 300ZX in the Nineteen Nineties. The attraction of the 300ZX for me is the performance, the roadholding and the styling. Also, the fact that, at the cease of an extended pressure, I get out nevertheless feeling fresh. I have an aged patron who regularly drives his from Bristol to London on enterprise, and he concurs!?

Buyer watch out?

ENGINE - Ensure the timing belt, tensioner and water pump were changed at 60,000 miles. Look for oil leaks from the cam end seals and the crank rear main end seals. On automatic versions, they suffer heat transfer from the torque converter. Injectors can stick, causing misfires, but coil packs are reliable. Check if the seller allows the engine to idle at the end of the drive to lubricate the turbochargers.

ELECTRICS - Contrary to rumours, the alternator is dependable however can suffer fluid infection from leaky power steering pump seals above it. The wiring loom in the engine bay regularly suffers heat harm. Check for damp front footwells in which the drain channels from the roof, which run inside the A-submit, leak onto the automated gearbox ECU and fuse container.

COOLING SYSTEM - The engine runs very warm but has a small radiator so normal flushing and fluid changes are essential. Check the circumstance of the cooling hoses to the throttle bodies beneath the inlet plenum.

SUSPENSION AND BRAKES  - The standard brakes are strong but neglect causes the calipers to seize, especially at the front. Suspension bushes wear. Replace them with Nismo rubber bushes. Front springs sag, causing accelerated tyre wear, and rear shocks leak gas.

BODY - Rust is a severe trouble on the sills in advance of the rear arches. It?S caused by the Targa-fashion roof drain channels becoming blocked. The three-layer sills (for power) rust from within but bodgers just replace the outer sill.

Also well worth understanding:

Test a 300ZX from bloodless. When the engine?S idling, the enhance gauge needle ought to be on the a long way left. In the center could mean compression issues. Once the engine is warmed, the needle must indicate most raise of 9psi. After using, idle the engine and check for blue oil smoke.

How a lot to spend:

?1500 AND UP - It?S tough to be unique about fees considering condition is the entirety. Runners begin at ?1500-?2000 and there?S a gaggle for sale round ?5000. Prize originality and maintenance over power enhancements and fancy wheels. Avoid critical sub-?A thousand basket cases. Most ads are for automobiles however there are numerous more manuals approximately so keep your eyes open or test the membership classifieds. The uncommon SWB is rated for its extra sure-footed handling and right ones command a premium.

One we found - NISSAN 300ZX AUTO, 2000- REG, 51K MILES, ?7995

This Japanese import is one of the closing ZXs so is a facelifted car. It?S a disgrace that it has an automatic gearbox but it has rarity and circumstance on its aspect. It has stacks of provider records, too, plus all of its old MOT test certificates to help corroborate the mileage. JE

Related memories:

Nissan 350Z assessment

Nissan Micra review

Nissan GT-R overview

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