First off, I would like it to be noted that I think that 80′s auto market was garbage. There where very few beautiful cars that that average consumer could purchase. Basically, auto design fell out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down. With that being said, the 1988 Nissan 300zx was one of the few attractive car to come out of that decade. The body lines and angles look good from every angle and it is hard to find a color that it does not look good in.
Besides the great looking exterior, the interior makes it hard to get out from behind the wheel. The bucket seats are extremely comfortable, even on long road trips. The dash display was ahead of its time with either a digital or analog option available. Mine was analog but I never got bored looking at the RPM needle climb as I raced through the gears. The dashboard itself had great lines and a futuristic look. Compared to other 80′s interiors the 300zx was closer to the space shuttle then other cars of the decade.
The Nissan 300zx had 2 options that utilized Nissan’s new V6. This new V6 (2960 cc) Single overhead cam engine was available as a naturally-aspirated VG30E or a turbocharged VG30ET producing 160 hp (119 kW) and 200 hp (150 kW) respectively. Both were great engines that rarely had problems. I had the non-turbo version that had many modifications. I was able to upgrade the air filter, replace the under drive pulleys with light weight aluminum one, add a performance exhaust, and upgrade the CPU. With these modifications, I saw a solid increase in performance, extended engine life, and better MPG.
This is an amazingly cheap used car to own. Costing only $3,000 when I bought it, it only had a few problems while I owned it. I did have to replace the timing belt and water pump, the half shaves and u-bolts, and the power steering assist. This car was more reliable then some of the newer 90′s cars coming off the line. I owned this car for 4 years and put over 200,000 miles on it. I would commute across town daily for school and even used it as a pizza delivery car (which takes a ton of abuse). Through all the years, it never let me down. I was never stranded or unable to drive it, even if something broke.
This was the perfect first car to own and it started me on the path as a car lover. My wife calls it my “First Love” and I agree. I am going to own another Nissan Z at some point in my life and have driven the 90′s 300zx and the 350z. I haven’t decide which one I want to buy next. I highly recommend this car to anyone who is looking for a fun 2 seater that is reliable, cost effecting, able to be modified, and very attractive.