Black Pearl Edition
This beautiful 1978 Datsun 280Z Black Pearl Edition represents the best of the 2-seat Z-cars that totally transformed the automotive landscape in the 1970s. As the latest models prove, the Z will always have a place in our garages and in our hearts, and this early 280Z is a fantastic way to enjoy the ride.
Looking at the shape, it's clear that there's a little bit of E-Type Jag in there, maybe a hint of Corvette, and plenty of MG, too. Fast, light, agile, and affordable, even today, this Z is a delight. It's also the recipient of a fairly comprehensive restoration, with nice paint and trim that gave the 35-year-old sports car a brand new look. Limited edition cars like the Black Pearl were often put away as sunny-day drivers, and as a result, this one shows none of the bumps and bruises of the daily grind and it certainly appears that it lived most of its life someplace warm and dry. Chrome was going out of fashion in 1978, but there are still a few bright pieces, including both bumpers and the stainless around the windows, all of which remains in very good shape. Even things like the rubber bumper overriders are supple and undamaged by UV rays, suggesting that this car has led a very sheltered existence. The Black Pearl also received special red and silver graphics that were faithfully replaced when the car was repainted a few years ago. Give it a quick cut and buff and this car will look like a million bucks!
One of the Z-car's biggest successes is the interior, which is both sporting and functional. The black bucket seats were designed by guys who knew the car would be used to its potential, so they have thicker bolsters than most, and the pleated upholstery looks quite racy. Of course, all of this remains in great condition, showing only very minor signs of use since the restoration. The dash is full of easy-to-read instruments, each housed in its own pod, including a row of auxiliary gauges in the center, a look that is still evident today in the latest Nissan GT-R. These cars were top-of-the-line machines by 1978, and this one comes with factory A/C, an automatic transmission, and an updated Sony AM/FM/CD stereo. There's a positively massive trunk area under the rear hatch, and the carpets show almost no wear or fading, surely thanks to the window slats out back.
The L28E 2.8 liter inline-six is a fantastic motor. Torquey, yet eager to rev, it was enlarged to better suit American driving tastes, as well as to make the automatic transmission a reality. It still has that same baritone wail that epitomizes big-horsepower inline-sixes, and because it's a Nissan, it's also reliable and smooth. The engine bay is as clean as the rest of the car, and that tangle of hoses is how the factory did it, but don't worry, it has all been regularly serviced and is in excellent running condition with lots of new parts. It's quite clean underneath, showing proper care and maintenance and the rear half of the exhaust system is fairly recent. Heck, you can still see all the markings on the suspension components that shows they were properly torqued! The automatic transmission shifts as it should, and the handsome 4-spoke alloy wheels wear 195/70/14 blackwall radials.
Today, as when it was new, this 280Z is a lot of performance for the money. It's also rare, with estimates suggesting fewer than 1500 Black Pearl versions were built. Call today!