Home » Datsun Awful Lot Of Red Paint: 1986 Nissan 300ZX vs 1992 Nissan Atlas

Datsun Awful Lot Of Red Paint: 1986 Nissan 300ZX vs 1992 Nissan Atlas

Sbsd 12 19 2023
ADVERTISEMENT

Good morning, Autopians! First let me say that I don’t feel sorry about the terrible headline pun at all. As you can see, today we’re looking at two crimson-hued Nissans, one of which is likely familiar to you. The other one probably isn’t, unless you hang out with a bunch of Japanese firefighters. (And no judgment if you do.)

Yesterday, we looked at a funky Pinto and a dead-in-the-water Fiat. I honestly thought this one would be closer; I didn’t expect the Pinto hatred to run so deep. For what it’s worth, I kinda like the wagons, especially the Cruising Wagons, and I think it would be a fun project. The price is a little steep, but the answer to that is just to let it sit a while longer, then offer what you think it’s worth.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

However, the little green Fiat 850 won the day, and of course it’s the right choice. I mean, it’s like Kermit the Frog in car form. You just can’t hate it. Also, a shout-out to reader Forbestheweirdo for identifying the seats in the Fiat as NA Mazda Miata seats. That was my first impulse, but something looked wrong about them. Then I remembered that my own NA Miata had leather seats from an NB Special Edition in it, so of course they didn’t look the same.

Screenshot From 2023 12 18 17 13 19

All right; moving on to today’s toys. A lot of the buzz around Japanese domestic market imports centers on the most popular cars: kei vehicles, Skylines, Pike Factory cars, things like that. But just like here, all sorts of wheeled contraptions ply the streets of Japan doing all sorts of jobs, and just like here, they eventually end up on the auction block. Some people choose to import some weird stuff, like, for instance, a diesel 4×4 fire truck. But for other enthusiasts, seeking out a good example of an interesting US-market Japanese car is enough of a thrill. We’ve got one of each. Let’s check them out, and you can see which camp you’re in.

ADVERTISEMENT

1986 Nissan 300ZX Turbo – $3,500

00d0d 63y7pzbnysd 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: Turbocharged 3.0 liter overhead cam V6, five-speed manual, RWD

Location: Norwalk, CT

Odometer reading: 158,000 miles (not original)

Operational status: Runs and drives great

ADVERTISEMENT

I’ve featured Z31-generation Nissan 300ZXs here before, but they’ve usually been compromised in some way: automatic transmissions, 2+2 body styles, that sort of thing. I am pleased to announce, however, that this time, we’ve got a good one. It’s a two-seater, a stick, a turbo, and it has T-tops. Unfortunately, it is red, but maybe some of you like that.

00a0a 7btyxnfnim5 0ci0t2 1200x900

It also has a rebuilt title, sadly, but the seller says they did all the work, and can presumably tell you the whole story. Whatever happened, it happened in 1996, and the car has been fine ever since. The engine was rebuilt in 2010, and the car hasn’t been driven much since then. The timing belt and water pump were just done, presumably to make sure it’s good and roadworthy before the sale. The car also comes with full documentation dating all the way back to 1996. If ever there was a branded-title car that felt like a good deal, this is it.

00t0t 5rrt4uaghxc 0ci0t2 1200x900

Cosmetically, it’s not perfect, but it’s also not terribly expensive. The driver’s seat could use reupholstering, and the paint is a bit faded, but it’s the nicest-looking $3500 300ZX I’ve seen in a while. And torn leather or not, I love the ’80s-ness of this interior: a digital display, big silver buttons on the steering wheel, and that fancy stereo? I mean, come on. I’m dying to know what cassette is poking out of the player. In fact, my entire interest in this car might hinge on what that cassette is.

ADVERTISEMENT

00w0w 3zrwao6zlgk 0ci0t2 1200x900

The seller loves his ’80s coupes, that’s for sure. I imagine some of you might prefer the 944, but there’s no word on whether that one’s for sale. And it looks like they already took the “My Other Car Is A Porsche” bumper sticker off the Nissan.

1992 Nissan Atlas 150 fire truck – $4,500

00b0b Hvqdab7atme 0ci0t2 1200x900

Engine/drivetrain: 2.7 liter diesel overhead cam inline 4, five-speed manual, part-time 4WD

Location: Renton, WA

ADVERTISEMENT

Odometer reading: 76,000 kilometers

Operational status: Runs and drives fine

The Nissan Atlas appears to be something like the Ford F-series, in that there were so many variants available for so many years that you really have to know all of them to understand what you’re looking at. Unfortunately, I don’t, and this is neither the time nor the place for such a deep dive into an old Japanese truck line. So I’ll just stick with the information in the ad, and if I get something wrong, I’m sure someone will tell me.

00j0j 2wslel09uo9 0ci0t2 1200x900

This appears to be an F22-chassis Atlas, which if I’m understanding it right, is the lighter-duty version. I don’t know what the 150 means exactly.  This double-cab truck is powered by a 2.7 liter naturally aspirated diesel four, backed by a five-speed manual, driving all four wheels on demand. It’s set up as a fire truck, but it looks like they removed all the firefighting equipment before export.

ADVERTISEMENT

00f0f 3mo6xchoexz 0ci0t2 1200x900

Right-hand-drive vehicles are difficult to maneuver in a left-hand-drive environment, especially big ones like this – which explains how the seller managed to hit a bollard at a gas pump and scrape up the left rear door. It’s been straightened and primed, but it wants paint, and the fancy pinstriping will have to be redone. The seller says they “know a guy.”

00g0g Jp3u83mibkv 0ci0t2 1200x900

Unfortunately, the interior has been disassembled in an effort to install sound-deadening, which strikes me as auditory lipstick on the cacophonous pig that this truck must be on the highway, but if it makes them feel better, then that’s fine. The seller says the dash is easy to reassemble; they were just too lazy to do it, which to me says it isn’t all that easy.

Okay, so neither of these is exactly a show car. I only said they would be running and driving, and according to both sellers, you could hop in either of these and drive off. Where will you go? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it?

ADVERTISEMENT

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
93 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
AlterId
AlterId
5 months ago

The interior of the fire truck may very well be easy to reassemble, but since I, like the seller, am phenomenally lazy, I understand the defeat of the will to do even the simplest things instead of, um, posting on website forums. So the 300ZX it is, as the stigma of a salvage title usually fades after a quarter-century or so. Those seats are absolutely Not A Problem, because a pair of custom sheepskin seat covers (the current iteration of Beverly Hills Motoring Accessories no longer sells them, damnit) and a little spoon on your key ring will keep the ’80s-tastic vibe a-goin’!

DDayJ
DDayJ
5 months ago

I was kind of in on the truck until I saw the interior. Yeesh. And the Z has a lot going for it.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
5 months ago

I mean, I admire the fire truck afficionados who voted for the Big Red Thing, cos fire trucks are great; but it’s no contest. That really is the nicest 300z turbo for that price IMO.

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
5 months ago

Going back to yesterday’s Miata seats, it makes me laugh how many Miata owners upgrade their seats, and then how many other cars swap Miata seats in as an upgrade.

World24
World24
5 months ago

However, the little green Fiat 850 won the day, and of course it’s the right choice.

This is the reason I put quotes around “car enthusiasts” when I talk about “them”.
Anyways, what’s the 300ZX doing in CT with two different NY plates? That’s kinda suspect, ain’t it?
Full send though, I’d buy it. Run her ’til she blows!

Last edited 5 months ago by World24
Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
5 months ago

When it’s all said and done, the fire truck will be more interesting.

Mark
Mark
5 months ago

Fire truck until the interior.

100% z31. That interior is almost identical to a S130’s! Change out the steering wheel and they could be twins.

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
5 months ago

BTW no apologies for the headline pun, it was great, made me LOL

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
5 months ago

Since you mentioned “Kermit the frog in car form” twice, I figure this is as good a place as any to share that I learned recently that Jim Henson owned a Lotus painted in a shade of “Kermit green” with Kermit-style pupils on the headlamps.

https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/kermit-the-car-jim-hensons-beloved-green-lotus/

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
5 months ago
Reply to  Duke of Kent

As for today’s cars, I was intrigued by the firetruck, but it is both too big and too small. If it were a full-size American suburbs firetruck — not necessarily the cool ladder kind or the kind with the rear steering — but just a regular firetruck, that would be a lot of fun to bring to car meets and local parades. People would love it! On the other end of the spectrum, if it were one of those tiny kei Japanese firetrucks, that would be cool, too; it’d be fun for special occasions, but it wouldn’t be a pain to drive around normally. But that mess? I guess it’s a firetruck if you look hard enough, but it requires too much explanation, and if you have to explain what something is, then it’s not cool.

The Z is cool with no explanation required. It’s not my favorite generation, but it’s still a cool car, and it would be fun to give it the love it requires in order to get it to a more presentable form.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
5 months ago

It’s funny that the seller posts a picture of the Z with a 944. Back in ’84, my dad was choosing between a Z like this (t-tops, turbo, manual, 2-seat) and a 944. He went with the Z because there was an autoworker strike in Germany that was going to delay delivery of the 944.

So, like Dad, I’m choosing the Z. It’s spec’ed right and I’ve had an infatuation with these for some time.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
5 months ago

To announce my choice I’m going to fall back on an old grade school joke: What begins with F and ends in CK?

SegaF355Fan
SegaF355Fan
5 months ago

Forget the parsh. What’s that car in the right-side background of the rear 3/4 view of the Z? Is it a Mitsu Eclipse w/ the wrong wheels?

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago
Reply to  SegaF355Fan

Dodge Stealth or Mitsubishi 3000gt

Mark
Mark
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

By the side markers, I’d say Stealth. IIRC the headlight assemblies were slightly different, but it’s been 20 years since I’ve seen one in person.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark

I was leaning that way too.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago

Manual, t-tops, pop up headlights and turbo inline 6 vs whole ass 4 wheel drive firetruck. Is it the shitbox showdown world championship or something? There’s no wrong answer here.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Rusty S Trusty

Didn’t they go to a V6 by that bodystyle? I honestly can’t remember

AlterId
AlterId
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

I think the disco Z (1979-1982) was the last one with the inline-6 and this generation was the first V6.

Gilbert Wham
Gilbert Wham
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

V/I 6 notwithstanding, they’re not fuckin’ wrong….

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Probably. Didn’t even think about it.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

It adds to the charm

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Doctor, I’ve got this strange feeling of deja vu.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
5 months ago

Doctor, I’ve got this strange feeling of deja vu.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
5 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

And don’t call me Shirley!

Wait! @#$%!! I’m too early!

Last edited 5 months ago by StillNotATony
Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
5 months ago

Cotd

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
5 months ago

I gotta go with a correctly optioned 300ZX, even though the mini fire truck is pretty cool in its own right. The fire truck would make a great starting point for someone who wants a JDM overlanding rig without paying the premium for something like a Delica Starwagon.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
5 months ago

All day the 300, I haven’t seen one this nice and running for this price in a long time. The car is good enough to warrant fixing the seats.
Oh, and that cassette? It’s Ministry, Twelve Inch Singles. Bop Beep Bop Bop.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
5 months ago

I was going to jump for the fire truck, because who wouldn’t want a tiny fire truck, but the jacked up paint and trashed interior really ruined the fun. I guess it’s time to bust out my cassettes and have some 80’s sporty car fun then.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
5 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Same here
and I think I have some Huey Lewis and the News cassettes in a box somewhere

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
5 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Their early work was a little too new wave for my taste. But when Sports came out in ’83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. He’s been compared to Elvis Costello, but I think Huey has a far more bitter, cynical sense of humor.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
4 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

Huey Lewis also had an enormous supply of cheese that Elvis Costello didn’t. It’s overprocessed and overproduced, like the Velveeta of rock. Huey Lewis’s albums are each worth a listen or two, but damn do they get old fast.

The “new sheen of consummate professionalism” you mention sucks the fun out of everything. It doesn’t sound like it was done by real live human beings. The music has energy, but lacks joy, and moments that should be spontaneous sound contrived. He may or may not have a deeper sense of humor, but you really can’t tell beneath all that gloss.

Put “Sports” in the tape deck and press play, and I’m jumping out of that 300ZX at cruising speed.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
4 months ago

That’s a quote from American Psycho.

Last edited 4 months ago by MAX FRESH OFF
PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
4 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

So many pop culture references these days. It takes an archivist to keep up. 😉

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
4 months ago

Wait, how did you know I am an archivist?

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

Eh, I’ve mellowed over the years. Stuff I couldn’t stand as crass commercial pop in the 70s & up, I can enjoy singing along with just for fun & nostalgia now.
>just listened to Klaatu’s Sir Bodsworth Rugglesby the lll for the first time since my childhood—and about to key up Steppenwolf’s Black Pit.
(Not great strides in music: just fun memories)

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
5 months ago

I can’t find the poll for some reason, but I’m going with the 300zx. It looks like a solid 20 footer that would make a fun daily driver. That is well worth $3500 to me.

I am also intrigued by the fire truck. I like weird vehicles and a RHD Japanese firetruck certainly qualifies as weird. I have concerns about this vehicle, though. I don’t like that the interior is disassembled. It could be hard to get it back together without having seen it in a full assembled state. Also, who knows if the full interior is actually included? I would have no way to know if parts are missing. I also don’t like that the seller does not currently hold the title. I don’t have a reason to believe the seller won’t pay off the truck and send me the title, but I could see a lot of ways where this transaction ends poorly. It is very difficult (? impossible) to register or obtain title to a vehicle in my state if you only have a bill of sale. If the seller of the truck reassembled the interior and had the title in hand, this would be a more difficult decision. I think I would still opt for the 300zx, though.

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
5 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

the article is “doubled” keep scrolling, somewhere in the middle is the poll

Taco Shackleford
Taco Shackleford
5 months ago

2 articles for the price of 1! It’s a shame we only get one poll though.

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago

Aint got no use for a half-sized fire truck.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

In my best used car salesman persona: “May I interest you in a Full size fire truck then?”
⚆ᗝ⚆

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

I mean…

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Ah! I can see that you’re a man of discerning taste! I have several full size fire trucks in my inventory. Do you have a monthly payment in mind? I will do my best to work with you on the monthly payment amount. We finance!!

I really, really need a sale right now as Christmas is very near and I have 27 children to buy presents for. ᭥(º෴º)????

So, let’s discuss the monthly payment you are most comfortable with, shall we?

Last edited 5 months ago by Shooting Brake
Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Unfortunately, student loans have come back in force, so I don’t have a lot of discretionary income… What can you do for $1500 a month?

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Well Sir, today is your lucky day!
I have a Beautiful 2003 KME Pumper Tanker 1250/2500 (T1371) equipped with these features:
Detroit Diesel
Automatic
Ladder Rack
A/C
Total Seating: 4
SCBA Equipped Seating: 3
Diesel
Automatic
Ladder Rack
A/C
Total Seating: 4
SCBA Equipped Seating: 3

Generator
Hydraulic Generator
Light tower

Pump & Tank
Waterous 1250 GPM Pump
2500 Gallon Poly Tank

Miles: 42,000
Height: 12′
Width: 8’6″
Length: 34’6″

It can be yours for $1612.20 a month for 120 months with 10K down!

THIS ONE WON’T LAST!!!

Last edited 5 months ago by Shooting Brake
Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Welp. You just lost a sale. I told you $1500 a month, not over $1600!

Harrumph, good sir! HARRUMPH!

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

But……………. my children aren’t going to have a Christmas if I don’t make this sale ༼ ༎ຶ ෴ ༎ຶ༽

Tell ya what I can do, ’cause I can tell that you’re a good guy , I’m gonna let you have it for $1575.00 a month! It’s a Win – Win situation as now my kids can have a Christmas and you get a beautiful fire truck. ٩( θ‿θ )۶

Wadda say?

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

I’m gonna need floor mats. In every conceivable position. And detailing

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

Are you kiddin’ me? My manager is already going to kill me when he finds out that I practically gave away this BEAUTIFUL truck!

How ’bout if I throw in, at NO ADDITIONAL COST, a bottle of Mothers Carnauba wax and a package of Kirkland micro cloth towels?

(◔ヘ◔) Think of the children……

without a Christmas…. (ಥ _ʖಥ)

Mr. Asa
Mr. Asa
5 months ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Sirrah, your manager is not my problem. Additionally, while sad, your children are not my problem.

My problem is a crooked salesguy trying to go almost $100 over my budget!

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
5 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Asa

I’m just tryin’ to make a livin’.

Good day “sir ” ٩(●ö●)۶

Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
5 months ago

Nope, sorry, not reassembling the whole-a** interior of the fire truck just so I can reverse through my local Starbucks drive-thru. We’ll take the ZX.

Also, it appears the AI chatbot from Chevrolet of Watsonville has hijacked Tucker’s computer.

Tacofan
Tacofan
5 months ago

May want to edit all the cut and paste repeat paragraphs but the Z car is the easy choice. I have no urge to cosplay a firefighter.

PlugInPA
PlugInPA
5 months ago

The 300ZX has different New York plates in its front and back views, and is located in Connecticut. Seems shady.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
5 months ago

Didn’t even read the article. Fire truck, all day and twice on Sunday.

IT’S A FIRE TRUCK, PEOPLE!!!

1 2 3
93
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x