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1978 Datsun 280Z Black Pearl Limited Edition!

79,600 MILEAGE

1978 Datsun Z-Series Description:

Giving this girl one more relist before she goes to sleep for another winter.


One of the finest Black Pearl examples in the world. Please email any questions. I am unable to embed my high resolution photos in the ad. The small size photos that you see are a small sample of the photos that I have available.

"I spent 10 years looking for this car. It was sold new in Oregon in March, 1978, and put on the market during the summer of 2001 when the owner no longer could get in and out comfortably. It was advertised locally and “rescued” by an avid Z car lover who wanted to help move it into the hands of someone who would cherish it. I found his post a week or so later on a Z car forum, and immediately bought it!

Before importing it into Canada I had it dropped at USA Performance in Oregon, a Datsun specialist at the time, and had everything serviceable done that was needed. The owner, Brett, even went so far as to facilitate the title transfer to me and help get it transported north to the Canadian border. From there it was picked up and brought through customs by a gracious Vancouver used car dealer friend of mine and placed on a train to Montreal.

It arrived in my hands in early September, 2001. It was a happy day for me (The World Trade Centre was still standing!). The very first weekend was spent at the annual Z car show in Toronto where it took in its first FIRST PRIZE in the stock 280Z category.

Back then the car was fitted with just about every Datsun dealership installed “upgrade” that was available. Each dealer only got one of these Black Pearls, and so the add-ons helped inflate the retail cost and margin for the lucky dealer. It had “faux” wire wheels, chrome rocker panels, chrome fender trim (covering the original stripes!), chrome over rider bars and a CB radio with 5' whip antenna!

The car was sharp as could be, and I probably would have kept it that way had it not been so impossible to balance those wheels. So, the following year I made plans to do a restoration.

The paint itself was all original and still fine, but had some clear coat peeling on the roof that detracted from its appearance. And given a choice, I would have preferred to see the car on the special 280Z mags, and without all that extra chrome.

Over the winter 2002/2003, the car was left at one of the premier paint and body shops in Montreal. The paint job was expensive (more than 10k), even after the discount given me for giving them a six month window to complete it. (Today that type of work might be 25k or more... ) That enabled them to put workers on it only when they could be spared. While it was in the shop I sourced and imported a brand new windshield from Japan, as well as a near mint set of wheels, and ALL new OEM badges from dealers across North America.

During the process all removable panels were off the car. Not even one speck of rust was found anywhere, in fact the metal was still “pink” underneath. They had no difficulty at all with any of the nuts and bolts. The shop owners were astounded as they could not have imagined that it would be that clean. In Canada, and Quebec particularly,Datsun of that era rusted very quickly and easily.

The first owner lived away from the salty coast, and stored the car outdoors under a canopy. He didn't know it at the time, but he was actually protecting it and turning it into a rare unmolested survivor. He was also extremely fastidious when it came to his professional life and his darling sports car. He was a professional bus driver, as in Greyhounds, and was required to keep logs of his travels. He did the same with this Black Pearl. He kept a book on it, and recorded EVERY SINGLE fillup that he ever made from the date of delivery to the last he made before stopping to drive it in 2000. I have this book! It shows how many gallons and cost as well as a lot more details... page after page diligently recorded. This was definitely the car that I had been searching for!

It had about 69,000 miles when I got it, and it has 79,600 now. Most of those 10,000 miles I put on were recorded in the first 5-6 years when I would drive it longer distances to shows or conventions. In the last 5 years I have not even put 100 miles on it. It has been diligently stored and covered in a dry heated garage every year from early November until the streets of Montreal are free from any winter residue in early May. It is still started and driven a few miles every couple of weeks just to air it out. I sadly just don't give her the attention she deserves any more, and hence the reason why I am putting her for sale.

Even though the paint restoration was completed 15 years ago, it is as lustrous as if it was done just yesterday. It has probably been wet only 25 times since I got her... 17 of those from a light hosing off of the dust after winter, and the other 10 from the odd time that it was ever out and caught in the rain. It has won many first place plaques and trophies from the show'n'shines that I brought her to in the early years.

As the original Black Pearl decals were lost during the paint job, a new identical set was installed once completed. This set came as a result of a group of us Black Pearl owners chipping in and having new reproductions made from a set of originals. Believe it or not I have a second set of them in storage in my garage, although they have not been looked at in a long long time. The decals are exact duplicates. It took a pinstripe specialist 2 complete days to install them properly. The decals are still pretty much perfect, although a couple of inches on the hood have peeled back a bit just from simple polishing jobs.

The wheels were found on ebay during the restoration. I also found 2 brand new ones that are also buried away in my garage. The wheels were all in excellent condition, but I had them professionally restored just the same. The Toyo tires on the car were purchased not long after I got it, and were the exact replacements of the tires that were on it when it arrived. They still look new! They were diligently inflated to the max every year before storage.

The original owner had a Heathkit cruise control and alarm system installed which I removed. They also had a second lighter plug installed for some reason... Apart from that the car is stock.

I cannot name 10 flaws with the car, even though she is 40 years old. There are a couple of small tears in the driver's seat vinyl down at the bottom junction that I inherited. There is a nick in the chrome ring around the right side tailight that came from a pickup truck pushing in the whip antenna that occurred when the car was very young. There is a tiny blister on the top of the (original and uncracked) dash that I believe came from the removal of the velcro that had held down the dashmat that it once wore. It was like that when I got it, and is not any bigger 17 years later. I have always lightly coated the dash in vaseline and that has preserved it through my tenureship. There are couple of dimples on the front of the dash from the old cb cradle.

It is missing the flap the covers the vanity mirror on the passenger side, but it still wears the original “Starting Instructions” tag that is attached to the driver's side.

Although it has not seen much road time, the battery still fires up the car after each and every winter slumber. I have replaced it once or twice over the years... but I always disconnected it when the car was idle for months. It sweats a bit of oil from the engine seals, and they should be upgraded sometime soon by the new owner. This is also as a result of them drying out from insufficient use. Basic tuneups were done every 5 or years or so, but is has been at least 5 since the last one. She could probably be driven long distance as she is, but the new owner should do some basic maintenance before doing so. The A/C still blows cold.

The one thing that I was unable to locate after the restoration was the vinyl edging that surrounded the rear window sunshade (louvers). The body shop fabricated one that was too stiff and it didn't last. There are a few light scratches to the paint where the louvers have made contact with the hatch. Very minor. I have always used a couple of folded pieces of soft rubber to keep louver rattling to a minimum... they are great looking, but the way they were designed to be installed back then left a lot to be desired.

The 5spd shifter boot was replaced by a mechanic along the way, and he got it a bit wrong. I bought a second one that I have stored away somewhere that I never got around to installing. Up to you to decide whether that is worthwhile or not. Original radio works just like a 1978 am/fm from Japan... The power antenna was replaced by me during the restoration. I found it in Canada and traded away my original rocker panels to get it. It works perfectly.

This is a 40 year old car, and turns heads whenever I am on the road. I have been flagged down and offered cash I cannot remember how many times. It is a truly spectacular example, and dare I say one of the nicest left in the word. I once saw one at a convention with ZERO miles on it... it was trailered everywhere it went its whole life. This one has been enjoyed by 2 very grateful and diligent owners who have gone to great lengths to preserve her. This is not simply a “nice” z car with a “very nice” paint job. This one is the real deal. Unmolested and highly protected and cared for since day one.

I have no doubt that she could star in a movie from that era! However, if you intend to drive it off the cliff at the end I will not sell it to you!

I will be glad to answer each and every one of your questions so long as its not "what is your best price?" etc... If you buy it, you will be responsible to make a $1000 deposit immediately, and pay the rest by bank wire within a reasonable delay. You will also have to make sure that you prepare your own import documentation if you are outside of Canada. You will also need to arrange for your own transport company. If you are local or want to come to Montreal to see it, then I will be happy to show it to you.

The car just had its recent evaluation for my classic car insurer, and I am pricing it at their evaluation. My price is firm.

I will help you with any of your logistics should you require me. I will give you the spare decals and wheels and anything else I may have related to the car should you want them. You will have the amazing logbook produced by the original owner. You will also have one of the nicest Black Pearls left in the wild. If only 800 were made, how many could have survived 40 years? Can't be many.

Do your research on the car and model. Make sure you have the budget for the transport and maintenance and just give her the love she has been blessed with for the last 40 years."

I have 137 high resolution photos of the car that I would be glad to share with you. Unfortunately I have been unable to figure out how to embed them in my ad.


Item location:Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Color:Metallic Black
Vehicle Title:Clear