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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Matchbox Datsun 280ZX, 1984 Nissan 300ZX turbo, and 1990 Nissan 300ZX turbo




To continue on with the last story the 260Z 2+2 is just a few of the many Datsun/Nissan Z-cars made between the 1970's into the 1990's.  These three shown here offer more power and practicality while still offering the sleek lines and fantastic performance of a Z car.







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Datsun 280ZX

A big makeover was made for the Z car in 1976 where it is completely new except for the engines.  The new body is similar to the 260 2+2 in both two and four seater models, so the distinction between the two is now less noticeable.  Front and rear impact bumpers are now standard, and for the first time T-tops are now offered.   The styling is very similar to the last model but with more rounded curves and headlight covers for better aerodynamics.  The 280 went for a more touring matter with softer suspension tuning and more creature comforts inside.  The engine is a 2.8L SOHC I-6 that produces 135 horsepower through a 5-speed manual transmission.  Into the 1980's the Z would venture off into turbo territory with the first turbo model for this generation of Z cars.









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This Matchbox version came in several different versions with later ones having more graphics, but this nice black and gold trim with tan interior can be called the Trans Am of Japan!  The front has round headlights with Z car badge on the hood, lower bumper with signal lights and license plate.  The sides now have a shorter profile than the 260 2+2 though the larger rear wheels are a turn off for some.  The hood has vents and a new NACA duct for the turbo models.  The rear has larger taillights that fill up the rear decklid and a rear license plate.  To help break out the black look adding lighting detailing really helps here (and for all the Z cars shown here as well).  The doors open to reveal the two-plus-two seating layout, the lack of a detailed dashboard, and interestingly enough an Automatic-transmission shifter handle instead of a manual.  The base is still metal and features a few drivetrain details.  On the track the shorter Z with wider tires was a much better handler than the longer 260 2+2, but then again the 2+2 was not a bad handler either.







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1984 Nissan 300ZX turbo

The 1984 300ZX was a major restyle that looked nothing like the original yet still retain the styling characteristcs.  Also this was the first Z now born into the Nissan company that was previously Datsun.  The new look was more aerodynamic with a wedge shape, pop-up headlights, and a taillight bar in the rear.  The interior has more enhancements for a more user-friendly experience.  The powertrains are all-new and ditch the inline layout for a V6; the engine is now a 3.0L SOHC turbocharged V6 that produces 200 horsepower through a 5-speed manual transmission.  The car that you see here is the 1984 50th anniversary edition to celebrate the brand's 50th anniversary.  It has silver/black paint with gold accents, digital gauge cluster, in-car adjustable shocks, mirrored T-tops, embroided leather seats, speakers in the headrests, flared fenders, car cover with 50th logo, and the option of manual or automatic transmission.  5,448 models were produced.








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This Matchbox casting also sports the new 1980's Matchbox look: 8-dot wheels, opening parts, and a slim metal base with metal on the outer parts (similar to the 1984/88 Corvette's).  The front is very clean with hidden headlights, Turbo badge, and a hood with a turbo scoop on the left.  The sides show a very sporty profile with flared fenders, Turbo badges, exterior mirrors, and the fastback roofline.  The rear has larger taillights, 300ZX plate, and exhaust that is hindered by the rear rivets.  The Nissan and 300ZX engravings are a nice touch but are reversed and in the wrong spot (on the real car they are above the taillight bar).  The interior goes back to a two-seat layout with a larger cargo area under the hatch.  The dashboard has a large metal slab blocking the upper portion (this is normal for opening-hood Matchbox cars of the 1980's) and lack of details elsewhere.  As mentioned before the interior has lots more creature comforts and in typical 80's fashion lots of electronic controls, buttons, digital gauges to go along.  Despite all of that it still has the same auxiliary gauge layout in the center of the dashboard.  The base shows off the drivetrain and suspension details, while the hood opens up to show off the V6 motor with the 3000 V6 stamped on the intake, valve covers, fluid resovoir containers, and the alternator.  Later models went for a more track-oriented look with the famed Fuji Film variant based on the real race car.







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1990 Nissan 300ZX turbo

In the 1990's the 300ZX underwenth another makover with more rounded styling and even more power.  The styling is an evolution of the previous model with further changes.  The headlights are now fixed instead of pop-up units.  Turn signal lights are merged in with the foglights, while the taillight bar is toned down with a black accent.  The T-tops now cover the full width of the roof and are removable.  The interior has a driver-oriented cockpit that has a more cleaned-up appearance of controls and analog gauges.  The engine is still the same 3.0L  V6, but this time it has DOHC with variable valve timing and two turbo's to produce 300 hp. and 283 Ib-ft of torque through a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission.  Rear-wheel steering is also offered as well.  This new Z was good enough to pair up with the best exotic cars at the time, but unfortunately the rising Yen dollars meant higher prices for Japan-based sports cars and the 300ZX went out of production in 1996 for the U.S. and 2000 for Japan.







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This Matchbox casting tones down on the opening features and a few details but still looks impressive.  The best versions are the earlier models like this yellow one with 300ZX across the sides and 8-dot wheels.  The front has clear headlights that are part of the window trim and a lower grille with signal and foglights that wrap the corners (and adding detailing here helps).  The sides still show the fastback profile but with a more cleaner appearance and exterior mirrors.  The clear T-tops on top look very clean and more exotic-like.  The rear has slotted taillights in a black bar (again adding details help) and dual exhaust.  There is a suspension though later models with larger wheels made this feature non-existent.    The plastic base shows off the exhaust and drivetrain detailing with a pan for the transmission signaling the automatic.  The light-colored interior still retains the two-person layout with spacious cargo area.  The dashboard and shifter are nicely done if lacking on details and match the exterior with smooth curves.  Now for both 300ZX's on the track the 1984 version felt bigger, yet still felt very fast in the handling tests, while the 1990 version does it better with little to no body roll and great control thanks to the wider track.





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Matchbox revived the Z in 2004 with the 2003 350Z, but nothing compares to the amount of Z models produced by Matchbox in this little over a decade period.

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