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Anyone ever bought an old (classic) car?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by PeteyPirate, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    I have the opportunity to buy the car I have dreamed about since I first started playing with Matchbox toys as a child -- a 1982 Datsun/Nissan 280ZX. It has about 90,000 miles on it, and the dealer (asking $9,995) claims it is in good condition. What would be some steps to take in order to feel like I'm making a good decision if I decide to take the plunge? Keep in mind that I am ignorant of most things mechanical.

  2. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    Don't want to ridicule your dream or begrudge it... It just seems so odd to me for that to be a "classic" car. One of my best friends drove a mid-80s version of it when we were in high school. It was a nice car, by the standards of what the rest of us were riding in, but I have so much trouble thinking about it in the same way people think about 60s Corvettes or a 55 Chevy.

    Sort of related, on my walk home from work, I have seen this old Checker car--as in a checker cab--with a for sale sign in the window. It's painted blue and looks like it needs a ton of work. I had a fleeting thought about how cool it would be to buy it and restore it and have it as my ride. I can't afford it, whatever the cost is, though.
  3. PeteyPirate

    PeteyPirate Guest

    Yeah, I would hesitate to call it a classic except in my mind, but I didn't want the thread title to imply that I was looking for an old junky car.
  4. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    Geez, I just had a flashback. That was my first car. Dad bought one for me that had less than 10,000 miles on it when I turned 16.. Exactly one month to the day of turning 16, I totalled it when I took a turn too fast, hit some loose gravel on the road and slid into a tree.

    My next car was a 1964 Plymouth Valiant that I bought for $500.
  5. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    First, take it to an independent mechanic. Expect to pay $100 or more to have the car throughly gone over. You need to know exactly what's up with this car. Also, if it will be your daily driver the bar is set a bit higher.

    Go on line and see what kind of problems are common with this car: Edmunds has a good site for that and I'm sure there are many others. You'll also get a feel for parts availability and the like.

    Buy a Haynes or Chiltons service manual for the car and start learning about it.
  6. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    Rip. Off. Sorry ... meant as a warning, not a putdown.

    But if you're still serious, my .02: I just did a KBB rundown on a 1986 300Z. If everything was in perfect order with that vehicle, with 90,000 miles on it, the retail value on it was well under $6,000. And this dealer wants $10,000 for an '82? Crazy.

    First off, get a good mechanic not employed by said dealer - all the better if the place is an import specialist - to give the car a thorough once-over. Additionally, check near the window sills and around the wheel wells for the telltale signs of corrosion. If the vehicle was driven in winter climates for any length of time, fighting off corrosion was a constant uphill battle for Zs. With T-tops, which this vehicle has according to the rundown, check that they seal properly ... drippy T-tops during inclement weather stink and replacing those seals can be a pain and pricey.

    OTD's suggestion for a Chiltons manual is spot-on. Luckily, there are some Z car clubs and that should help with parts availability.

    Great idea on a Z, but if you want a classic "Z", seek out a '76-'77 280Z, or skip to the 90s models ... the years before Nissan stopped production while attempting to build lunch boxes SUVs en masse.

    But in summary, don't overpay. I'd love a Z as much as anyone on this board - my first vehicle was a '77 280Z with an aftermarket turbo ... what I wouldn't do to find a duplicate worth a restoration - but I won't throw my checkbook at a piranha dealer to make it happen.

    Good luck ... let us know what you do.
  7. Unless you are buying it from a restoration or collector car dealer, that does seem high priced. Definitely take it to an import car specialist and pay the $100 or whatever to have it checked out. At a minimum, you want to know what you need to watch, say if a pump is leaking or something electrical doesn't work.
  8. MacDaddy

    MacDaddy Active Member

    As has already been mentioned, this car is ridiculously overpriced.

    Also, I'd be a little suspicious of a 26-year-old car with 90,000 miles on it. That's an average of 3,750 miles a year and unless it's a Ferrari or something that sort of mileage is unusual. Plus, not driving a car is often more damaging than driving it.

    You'd probably be disappointed with how it drives, too. Cars have come a long way since 1982.
  9. ifilus

    ifilus Well-Known Member

    Coincidently, I found this listing tonight. (No, I am not the seller.)

    1983 280zx! Clean & Quick! - $6800


  10. pallister

    pallister Guest

    Dream cars aren't what they used to be I guess.
  11. Chef

    Chef Active Member

    First car was a '65 Mustang......Candy Apple Red.......289 with an automatic.......freakin' awesome. (Kick myself in the ass everyday I still don't have it.)

    Dad has a 1929 Ford Coupe. (Think Bonnie and Clyde).
  12. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    our long-lost friend Ash sold his baseball card collection to buy his dream car.. think it was a Mustang from the 60s... he loved it
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