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Working in Japan on and off for 10 years in the 1990s allowed me to see some really different machinery compared to our UK market.Skylines? Who had heard of these besides me back in 1990,nobody.Soarers,Curren,Stagea,the list goes on and on.Prices were alot cheaper than UK,strong pound in he 1990s meant big buying power and it took me a lot of thought and a few years to gamble on buying one for export to take home.
I decided buy a car that has a UK equivalent,theory being dealers will be able to get parts and service it, plus insurance should not be a problem.I decided Nissan 300 ZX or the very new Toyota Supra Twin Turbo.The 300 ZX won,availability and price meant this was the best buy in Japan back in 1996/7.
I found a beautiful just over 2 year old black Fairlady (300 ZX) Twin turbo model with Targa roof.It was an Auto 4 speed,easier to find in Japan as the manuals are scarce/not so popular for every day driving in heavy traffic.One owner just 30,000 odd kilometres,most you will find are very low mileage, as a car is a luxury to be used at weekends or for leisure.To be able to buy a car,money is not enough in Tokyo,You also have to prove you own a parking space!Public transport is far far better and quicker than in UK but traffic is a nightmare compared with us,worse than London on a bad day! I love cars and would be lost without one but if I lived in Tokyo it would be pointless owning a car,I hope this doesn't happen in the UK.
Bought it,shipped it,paid taxes,registered it with not much trouble.It took a few months by ship and red tape to sort out,that but it was worth it,saved thousands on UK dealer prices and had an impressive motor with the best sound system ever (an aftermarket £1500+ unit the Japanese owner had fitted).One thing with the radio though was it had a very narrow band and could only pick up a few UK radio stations.I found out about a radio band expander,a "little magic box" smaller than a match box.I had this fitted and it worked well,cost £20 pound or so and a five minute job to fit.
It had Chrome alloy 17" wheels,Nakajima with new Toyo tyres,UK M regd now,a new model never sold in the UK,very slightly face lifted,different from UK model having a restyled rear bumper,more rounded and a proper rear wing rather than boot lip spoiler,looked the business.The glass Targa roof was a fab idea,turning it into a semi convertable and body losing none of its rigidity.Very easy to lift in and out,in two pieces and store in the deep boot,a useful liftback affair hatch revealed a quite reasonable storage space for this class of car.Rear seats not much good unless you are a dwarf,ok for young kids I guess.Front seats were Recaro style sports variety,black cloth with 300 ZX logos,very smart.Leather not popular in Japan,gets too hot and humid.
Handling very good to excellent,rear wheel drive about 300 BHP means fun in bucket loads.0-60 under 6 secs very good and top speed probably 150 MPH put this into junior supercar territory.Amazing ABS brakes,they have to be!The suspension was not too hard like an all out racer,quite comfortable for long journeys and a car you could live with every day.Mine had the cool "Z" car logo on the bonnet,much better than the Nissan logo you will find on a bog standard Bluebird and thats the trouble its only a Nissan after all,not that exotic.
If you are not bothered its not a Porsche then this could be for you,an able performer,great features,rocket ship fast and one of the best cars to come out of Japan.
Be careful of imports as there are alot of different models,some better/worse than others,it can get confusing.UK models best,otherwise stick to the Targa Twinturbo model or you could be disappointed.The non turbo is fine but much less powerful and not as much fun to drive,you may be left wanting something else.They did supply in Japan a two seat short wheel base version that might be interesting.Make sure the speed limiter has been removed as all Japanese cars are electronically limited to about 112 mph and that the Speedo has been converted to Mph from KM,also needs aftermarket foglight too for MOT.
It was fair on petrol at 18-22mpg,insurance group 20 so expensive to insure (less than the Twinturbo Supra though!) and Nissan would service it for me,they didn't comment on it being an import but this was well before the market was flooded with them a few years later.I had the car less than a year but put quite a few thousand miles on it without any trouble,very reliable,typical Japanese car.Everything worked and nothing caused me trouble either.Reason for selling,none really,got itchy feet and wanted to try out something else,silly aren't I.(really wanted a Supra).
Getting a bit old now,early cars from 1989 G registered,UK stopped selling them about 1995 M/N but you do see imports a bit younger than this towards end of 90s but not too common.Buy the best you can and avoid anything with a problem,it could cost a bit to fix.Aim for a car with full sevice history,few owners and sub 100,000 miles if possible,this may be difficult but not impossible as alot were imported from Japan with low miles and the UK home market model sold well.
Thanks for reading my review and I hope you found it interesting.If this has been useful to you and you take time to leave Your rating it will be appreciated and hope you will take a look at my other reviews sometime.I also leave reviews on the Ciao website about this and other items,many thanks!
I have a twin turbo 3.0 litre 300zx and i love it. lets start with the good points..
Advantages..the image of the machine is immaculate especially for the age as mine is a 1991. it still looks awesome you get heads turning no bother, even though some of them could be awful from the elderly as the sound of the twin turbo kicks in!! the machine is like a rocket does about 0-60 in around 5.5 seconds give or take..the power is incredible it does doughnuts for fun, as its rear wheeled drive makes it more infuriating! the steering well perfection engineering handles like a go-kart...the car still remains high tech with an electric seat on the drivers side and a turbo timer, it also has a mini disc player which i found hard to believe.. the detachable roof gives it a more desired look unless you live in Ireland like me!!!
Disadvantages..Although the car handles like a dream etc the problem I have especially as i live in Ireland, the car is wide probably to hold the 24 valve double trbo engine a problem for irish drivers..eventhough the car is convertible it is not electronically enhanced to remove the roof. the car is also tight for leg room although we expect this in such a terrorising sports car..another problem i had to change was the wheels although they are not bad the lambo wheels are much more suited in this case!!! i have had no major problems with the car apart from the brake pads going alot another thing to look out for if you like to get your moneys worth!!
the interior as crispy stated is off putting, leather would do the trick.
another problem with this car is the mamitainence costs yes they are high as this car is becoming rare more desireable and definatelly a future classic.
The beast drinks juice as you can imagine around 15 to the gallon but dont quote me on that!
Although it looks as if there are many disadvantages trust me they are nothing to the thrill and excitement you will experience if you do shell out a few grand..
I am being perfectly honest you will absolutely love it!!!
PRICE range :A1 3000 stg.. good 2330 stg.. fair 1400 stg
specifications...0-60 5.5 scds.. top speed 156mph... insurance group 20.. 6 cylinder.. 300 bph.. weight 1461 kg