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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/18/23 8:42 a.m.

We lived through the ’80s and ’90s and spent a lot of time with the era’s greatest hits–drove them, raced them, even knew them when they still had that new car smell. We fondly remember shopping for Kamei air dams, Hella lamps and 14-inch tires.

But were the cars of those times really that rad? 

We wondered that ourselves, so …

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pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/18/23 8:51 a.m.

Still my favorite car of the era, I think they look as good today as they did back then. 

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
5/18/23 8:53 a.m.

The transmission, FS5R30A, is absolutely fantastic in these.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/18/23 10:25 a.m.

Always loved them. But by the time I got of college (dec 2005) you had two choices. 

Ratted out, high mileage headaches or pristine low mileage examples that were $$$$$$. 

Also, IIRC, looking under the hood of a TT model was enough to cause a panic attack due to the lack of room and massive amount of vacuum hoses everywhere. 

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
5/18/23 10:34 a.m.
z31maniac said:

Always loved them. But by the time I got of college (dec 2005) you had two choices. 

Ratted out, high mileage headaches or pristine low mileage examples that were $$$$$$. 

Also, IIRC, looking under the hood of a TT model was enough to cause a panic attack due to the lack of room and massive amount of vacuum hoses everywhere. 

Same here, it falls into the same trap as the 3000 GT in my book, I'd love to own the TT version of both cars in my collection of misguided nostalgia but keeping them running and in good order is work I know I don't want to tackle. 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
5/18/23 10:40 a.m.

Seems like an LS swap would solve all the vacuum line problems and get you all the power a breathed on TT VQ gets you. I remember all the work Mike Kojima put into a 300 at his days at Sport Compact Car magazine and it got him about 600hp.

Driven5
Driven5 UberDork
5/18/23 11:11 a.m.

Perhaps erroneously, I always thought of the Z32 as the Japanese Camaro... In much the same way that the NA Miata was the Japanese MGB.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/18/23 11:14 a.m.

In reply to dclafleur :

"Misguided nostalgia" pretty much sums up how I shop for cars.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/18/23 11:50 a.m.
buzzboy said:

The transmission, FS5R30A, is absolutely fantastic in these.

I had forgotten how good the transmission is until I again drove one a few years back. Miata who?

Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/18/23 12:48 p.m.

If you ever had to look up the roof seals for the T-Tops on these, you would try to forget these also.

Been there, done that.  No Nissan t-shirt to show for it.

hunter47
hunter47 Reader
5/18/23 1:22 p.m.

Had a slicktop NA. It looked great, got many thumbs ups, neck breaks, and the attention of every cop in a 500 mile radius. 

E36 M3 MPG for an NA, E36 M3 power, E36 M3 handling, E36 M3 engine bay. 

tb
tb GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/18/23 4:36 p.m.

I've been driving my '91 turbo a lot more than anticipated when first bought it. Even in bad weather and for grocery trips, pretty much daily it. Driving it is actually joyful.

 

Maintenance and upkeep does take time to get the work done and it absolutely will involve blood and burns; it definitely wants a bit of commitment.

 

I don't like the excessive attention it attracts, but the other cars I cross shopped were all more expensive and exotic so...

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
5/18/23 7:47 p.m.
Appleseed said:

Seems like an LS swap would solve all the vacuum line problems and get you all the power a breathed on TT VQ gets you. I remember all the work Mike Kojima put into a 300 at his days at Sport Compact Car magazine and it got him about 600hp.

Are you Terry Fair's burner account? Just kidding.

I like the LS for certain things, in this case, absolutely would want to keep the TT goodness. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
5/18/23 9:00 p.m.

A slicktop LS swap should be right at 3000lbs.  They fit a pretty respectable amount of tire.  That would be fun. 

hunter47 said:

Had a slicktop NA. It looked great, got many thumbs ups, neck breaks, and the attention of every cop in a 500 mile radius. 

E36 M3 MPG for an NA, E36 M3 power, E36 M3 handling, E36 M3 engine bay. 

I had a slicktop and its one of the few cars I regret selling.

The autocorrect/censorship in your post is amusing, because they are very similar to E36 M3 in power (and weight).  They are DWB and with bolt ons will handle pretty well.  Well enough to win STX nationals like 10 years ago. 

The engine bay sucks though for sure.

Opti
Opti SuperDork
5/18/23 10:14 p.m.

These are always my first or second favorite of the era. The RX7 is my favorite that I know I wont own, and the Z32 is my favorite that I might actually own. I worked on them quite a bit and it is pretty bad, but I put the 3000 worse, since its all the same crap but jammed in sideways.

I remember when a clean one was 10K, and I waited. Ive seen a handful of turbo drivers in the low 10s around here but they are hard to find and at this point largely being bought up by enthusiasts and rehabbing them, moving them into the next price bracket.

My art teacher from high school has a clean 240z, 260z and Z32, I still see them occasionally, it always reignites my love for them.

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/18/23 10:45 p.m.

I was in college when the Road and Track or Car and Driver issue came out with the Z and the Miata on the cover. I got to art class and looked out the window at a brand new bright yellow Z. One of the art teacher's husband bought it for her birthday. I was staring at it so much my art teacher had to call my name numerous times to get my attention. I can still see it in my head clearly to this day.

I'd have one, but really need to get my Stingray up and running again.

tb
tb GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/18/23 11:21 p.m.

My Z32 purchase included a C&D from 1990 with a red Z and red Corvette Z51 on the cover. The comparison test article was big on the fact that they were almost identically priced and were both considered quite desirable in their day.

 

I should reread it sometime, but if memory serves they very clearly made the same choice that I did. The American V8 definitely has its supporters and the cramped, hot, complex imported technology box hadn't established itself yet. Other than that, every other aspect of the experience showed that the nissan ("Godzilla" they called it! How dramatically hyperbolic!) was a seriously good car. 

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
5/19/23 12:45 a.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

Having raced a very well prepared one several times...  it needed a new gearbox EVERY single race.  I've never had a single problem with any other transmission in 33 years of racing (well, except for the 350Z, but the owner insisted that it remain automatic, so I won't count it).

Got blocked out of 2nd and 4th once, and it would always eat sychros on 4th and 5th.

350z247
350z247 Reader
5/23/23 11:12 a.m.

These just never appealed to me. I think the Mark IV Supra is WAY overrated, but I would still say it's the better car than the 300ZX. Despite growing up in the 90s, the cars just don't click with me except maybe the Viper and BMWs. 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/23/23 11:25 a.m.

I think the z32 was one of if not the best looking car from the 90s (1999 3000gt vr4 and fd rx are close). I'd love a slicktop with an LS swap. I would be less excited for a TT version, I've seen people working on them...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/23 10:55 a.m.
z31maniac said:
Appleseed said:

Seems like an LS swap would solve all the vacuum line problems and get you all the power a breathed on TT VQ gets you. I remember all the work Mike Kojima put into a 300 at his days at Sport Compact Car magazine and it got him about 600hp.

Are you Terry Fair's burner account? Just kidding.

Okay, that’s funny. 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE SuperDork
5/24/23 11:31 a.m.

The slicktops really do look something else, and they look even better in person. Pictures rarely seem to do them justice.

I think I'm jumping in the boat of LS Swaps on these tho. Being able to maintain the vehicle at all is a big measure of enjoyment to me and I've seen these on jacks more than I've ever seen them running.

EDIT: Also, how many parts will you free up for good runners if you go LS? 

CyberEric
CyberEric Dork
5/24/23 5:39 p.m.

Absolutely loved these in the 90s. It was the first fast car I got ride in as my friends dad had one. I thought they looked amazing and still do. 
 

I've never driven one but would like to. Don't think I'll ever own one at this point. as much as my nostalgia wants me to, it seems like an exercise in self hatred. 

chandler
chandler MegaDork
5/24/23 5:51 p.m.
yupididit said:

I think the z32 was one of if not the best looking car from the 90s (1999 3000gt vr4 and fd rx are close). I'd love a slicktop with an LS swap. I would be less excited for a TT version, I've seen people working on them...

All the hate for the 3KGT kills me, they were fast cruisers. I loved mine for looks and performance. It was only 8 years old and had tons of deferred maintenance that cost me a fortune but it's a pretty car to me to this day.

TB has the version of the z32 I'd want and I lusted after it extensively while standing in his garage shooting the E36 M3.

Opti
Opti SuperDork
5/24/23 9:53 p.m.

In reply to chandler :

I dont know anyone that hates the 3K, I know alot of people that hate working on them. Ive worked on most if not all of the Japanese supercars and the 3K is the one Id want to work on the least, by a mile.

Someone hands me one to enjoy, and they take care of it im all in.

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