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Thread: Opinions invest in 1987 Z31 for HPDE?

  1. #1
    Member Deepdish's Avatar
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    Default Opinions invest in 1987 Z31 for HPDE?

    Recently found out one of my family members has cancer and one of the things on his list to do is to get out to the track via HPDE.
    Of course with ailments come bills and so forth.
    I been thinking I could probably find something reasonable and get my cousin out to the track in a rear wheel drive car that fits his 6.5' height 40" waist.
    I found a 1987 NA 300zx that in a former life enjoyed track events with SCCA.
    The history of the car is interesting to me as the owner purchased it from a fellow who worked as an auto journalist in the 80's.
    The owner said that back in the day journalists would pick up demo/test vehicles from manufactures for a dollar or so, but were not allowed to register them.
    Car companies weren't allowed to resell these autos and they usually went to the local car crushing facility.

    Itís been sitting for 8 years in retirement garage and does have issues because of that.
    Brake and Clutch cylinders are toast.
    Needs new seat the one that is put together is a folding braced race seat of unknown maker.
    Harness bar needs to be relocated to make room for long legs.
    It also has sagging koni adjustable coil overs, via sleeve setup.
    New engine was purchased directly from Nissan several months before it sat, and when I saw it yesterday the owner hadn't started to do the fluid changes and is missing a battery to run it, but it did look clean on the outside for a motor sitting 8 years.
    Full autopower rusty spotted cage and converted T-top to full roof.
    Speaking of rust there are California CD disk size splotches in the rear hatch area and drivers side lower side skirt. The rotors and calipers are caked with red.
    Sitting in it was interesting as it fell like a tank compared to the Miata, the interior smelled of dampness and I had to change clothes once I got back home because it stayed on me. Part of me says wow this could be cool and the other part of me says wait this could be a money pit and I could be better off waiting for a deal on 1990ish 300zx instead with all the creature comforts one is used to for track car aftermarket parts and ease of setup. What do you folks think about this?
    Owner wants $1500 at least he said.
    300zx01.jpg
    300zx02.jpg
    Last edited by Deepdish; 12-09-2012 at 03:40 PM. Reason: pricing

  2. #2
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    I think you'd be buying yourself an expensive and time consuming problem notwithstanding the low purchase price, and even if you got it put together well, it wouldn't be competitive with modern cars.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

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    Member Deepdish's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input!

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    The Real Captain Slow Red_5's Avatar
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    Buy an E30 BMW.
    Blackbird likes this.
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    http://www.trackhq.com/Banners/yellowsitesponsor.gif Blackbird's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red_5 View Post
    Buy an E30 BMW.
    Yep.
    They are cheap and have lots of room, decent support, know-how, and giant fields for local racing if you ever decided to go W2W (NASA SE30).

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Agreed. A first gen RX7 would be another decent choice.

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    Senior Member Gian's Avatar
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    your looking at 1k at lest to get it ready for racing, for HPDE a little less. Your looking at Old gas in the tank (fuel cell?) Flushing fluids. Re doing the belts. New/used Seat. Rust will not keep it off the track unless major suspension/engine/drivetrain mounts ar going to fall off. Rusty rotors clean up fast under braking. Spring sag (if it has any) will not hurt the car when driving. Same with the brake and clutch. If they work. They work. I would get them for the future and keep an eye on them.
    They are ok handling and fun to drive. But like Richard said, not competitive. Over weight and not much power stock. But Nissan has a rep for being bulet proof.
    I got my 1st gen rx7 (Spec7) for 1500.00 Was sitting in a garage for 8 years. Cost me about 800.00 (Seat & belts)to get it ready for a Track day. Had to change fuel fillters every sesson, even after trying to clean out the tank. Other then that. It was good till I started replacing parts to up grade. I'm still running on worn out springs and the same brake system (with new pads).

    Having the cool factor (History) is nice and all. But it's not going to make it fast or cheep. The saying goes. You can have it fast ,safe or cheep. Pick one.
    That's not a Typo, I just can't spell no so well.

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    Gian has the cost of getting that rust bucket on track off, by a factor of 10. It will be a money pit.

    You can have it fast ,safe or cheep. Pick one.
    Uuuhhh, I think that's "you can have it good, fast, or cheap. Pick two."
    Last edited by Richard EVO; 12-10-2012 at 07:51 AM.
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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    Master of Disaster SteveLevin's Avatar
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    I hate to agree with Richard, but I think it's entirely spot on here. Unless there's a specific "my bucket list is to drive a 300xz on track" thing, I'd stay way from something that started it's life being thrashed and THEN became a race car...

    Steve

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevelevin View Post
    i hate to agree with richard
    wtf?
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

  11. #11
    Member Deepdish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveLevin View Post
    I hate to agree with Richard, but I think it's entirely spot on here. Unless there's a specific "my bucket list is to drive a 300xz on track" thing, I'd stay way from something that started it's life being thrashed and THEN became a race car...
    Steve
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    wtf?
    Quote Originally Posted by hakeem View Post
    Agreed. A first gen RX7 would be another decent choice.
    Quote Originally Posted by Red_5 View Post
    Buy an E30 BMW.
    LOL Im rolling here during Lunch at work the "wtf" hilarious...

    hakeem I have looked at RX-7s and if I did get one I wouldn't be able to give it away, as its on my list of cars Id like to own one day.

    My introduction to the E30 was at CalSpeed and me complaining to b3d3g1 at the exit of 6th about how much faster the E30 had sped off into 7,8 and he just said it has more HP.
    It was an eye opener of sorts since I had no experience with one and it looked dated.
    I did look at them online and notice they are not as common and are probably drying up from their popularity and researched the E36 on the surface.
    The results for E36's is really good and they run anywhere from 900 for clean shell and up, with lots of 1-2k in between.
    Are E36's at this point the new E30's?

    I would want it cheap, good/safe enough, and fast enough to be fun. Any faster and the driver needs to make it up with technique and the lines.

  12. #12
    Kam
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    if you're just trying to get your cousin on track, a $1500 caged car is pretty cheap. But, be realistic on how much more you'll have to spend to bring it back to "Track-readiness".

    I've worked on a few Z31s, and they are reasonably ok to work on. Just don't expect to be passing a lot of people with the NA motor.

    There are better/faster cars out there, but highly doubt for as little as $1500... (or assuming you dump another $1500 getting it fixed, $3000)
    4.6lbs / whp -- 4lbs / bhp

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    dirty smack talker hakeem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gian View Post
    Having the cool factor (History) is nice and all.
    Let's not kid ourselves here. There is no cool anything about a 1987 300ZX.
    Richard EVO, granth and Kam like this.

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    Senior Member Gian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    Gian has the cost of getting that rust bucket on track off, by a factor of 10. It will be a money pit.



    Uuuhhh, I think that's "you can have it good, fast, or cheap. Pick two."
    Nah. Nissan's do very well setting. Asking as they were taken care of before hand. Old Nissan's are known for low cost matianance. But if you want it "best of everything". Yes it will be a
    money bucket.

    Still think OP should look into Greg G 240sx
    That's not a Typo, I just can't spell no so well.

  15. #15
    Member Deepdish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kam View Post
    But, be realistic on how much more you'll have to spend to bring it back to "Track-readiness".

    (or assuming you dump another $1500 getting it fixed, $3000)
    That's the ticket right there, doing a theoretical budget I agree that more will be needed for track-readiness and putting money in something newer is a better bet, I just wasn't clear enough that it would become a money pit, but understand it will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gian View Post
    Still think OP should look into Greg G 240sx
    I emailed Greg end of Nov and he confirmed he had sold the 240sx back in 2011.

    At this point I'm leaning E30 or early E36 with additional budget for a race seat and safety work from Moti, once I find one for cheap.
    Good perspectives all around thanks for the opinions and I'm not thinking 87 300z anymore.

  16. #16
    Master of Disaster SteveLevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard EVO View Post
    wtf?
    You know I love you, baby

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    ^^^Did your Hans arrive?
    The deposed former Sheriff of trackHQ . . .

    2006 Porsche 997 Carerra Coupe 6-MT - daily driver
    1992 Honda (Acura) NSX 5-MT - classic investment I couldn't resist and occasionally drive
    2004 Honda S2000 AP2 6-MT - track day car
    2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution IX MR 6-MT - when I need a backseat, 4-doors, or a real trunk, and still want to haul ass . . .

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