Pros: 200 horsepower turbo, Interior, Timeless exterior.
Cons: V8 fuel economy, Could use some more torque.
I had always been a huge fan of the 280Z, so when I finally got the chance to drive the first generation 300ZX I was ecstatic. The 300 ZX boasts a tremendous increase in power over the 280Z, better acceleration, a higher top speed, and a superior increase in creature comforts. All this enabled the 1st generation 300ZX to be a sales success and a definite future classic.
With the impressive turbocharged engine specs of the 300ZX's 3.0 6-cylinder of nearly 200 horsepower (also offered in 165 HP naturally aspirated form) there really is no questioning whether or not the 300ZX is fast. From a green light, the 300ZX's acceleration is exhilarating. But that's not all, with the 300ZX's close ratio gearing of the 5-speed manual and the beautifully designed engine, the 300ZX accelerates strong past 100 MPH and this is even with over 100,000 miles on my test vehicle. Power delivery is very smooth, but dont expect the car to be quiet when accelerating. Like a true Z car you will hear lots of engine and exhaust noise, this is music to the ears of any sport car enthusiast. With 100,000 miles on the odometer this car still did an excellent job tacking hills! The 5-speed manual transmission hardly ever needed to be downshifted into 4th to make it up steep inclines at freeway speeds. Torque peak comes in at a relatively low RPM (227lb-ft @3,600 rpm), so unless your racing your car up a hill, it will even accelerate in top gear up the steepest of mountains. Although the suspension and chassis are well set up and the driver can vary the shock setting, there is a definite lack of feel in the steering.
Braking is excellent, especially for a car of this time period. The 1984 300ZX is fitted with 4-wheel disc brakes. unfortunately, though, ABS was not an option on this car until later production years.
The interior of the 1984 Datsun/Nissan 300ZX 2+2 is everything you'd expect to see in a 1980's sports car. A 2-seater was also available for this year. Digital instruments were all the rage in 1984, and that is exactly what my test car had. Although the exterior looks every bit '1980s', the interior is relatively high tech. The interior also boasts leather seats, power everything, and a thick steering wheel. The 1984 Nissan 300ZX was designed to be practical as well as fast. When the back seats are folded down, the rear hatch opens up to reveal ample stowage space behind the front seats. Speaking about space, there is plenty of room up front, but the rear is very cramped.
The exterior is still a beauty today, a classic, and timeless. The 1984 model has similar taillight treatment to the previous 280ZX, and has similar styling cues to the to the 1984 Pontiac Firebird. For 1984 the 300ZX was nothing less than dramatic, featuring huge fender flares, a unique nose with semi-recessed pop-up headlights, plus turbine style 16" alloy wheels. Turbo models are segregated from the lesser trim levels by a small hood scoop for the intercooler.
A little over $17,000 in 1984, the 300ZX Turbo was quite expensive. Today a 1984 turbo model will vary. The most collectible model is the original 1984 Anniversary two-seater. A 1984 2+2 turbo model 300ZX will run you around $4,000-$6,000. My friend's 300ZX is quite the 'Iron Duke.' She rarely ever changes her oil, races the heck out of it, and it has over 100,000 miles on the original engine. I'd say this is one reliable vehicle, especially for it to last from 1984 to 2005, now owned for 6 years by a young woman in her 20s who does not know how to maintain a car, and it's still runs strong.
The 1984 300ZX is a sure future classic. If you are looking for a future collectors car that doubles as a drivers car, the 1984 300ZX is recommended 100%.
If you liked this review, you might also like to read my review on the 2nd generation 300ZX.
Other Cars To Consider:
1. Ford Mustang LX
2. Chevrolet Camaro
3. Porsche 911
4. Porsche 928
5. Porsche 944
6. Toyota Supra
7. Dodge Daytona
8. Ferrari 308
9. Venturi 260
10. Chevrolet Corvette
-Happy Car Shopping!