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280Z (Not Zx) Importing To Australia - Thoughts And Opinions

280Z import USA australia

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#1 ichigo-260Z

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 08:26 PM

Hi All,

 

I am looking to purchase a 240/260/280Z 2 seater. While preferably I would want a right hand drive car, I have been looking into the 280Z in the US market.

 

The 280Z seems to have some advantages over a Japanese or Australian 240 or 260Z. You seem to be able to pick up a relatively cheap one in good condition for $10-11K (USD) (plus import costs). It has the same/similar body (earlier models) as the Australian models, plus it comes with a fuel injected engine.

 

Obviously I would prefer (like most others on this forum) a right hand drive 240Z, but for the price and the condition of an import I am strongly considering a 280Z from the US. I doubt I will find a RHD 2 seater sub $18k in Australia.

 

Would anyone like to provide their thoughts and opinions on importing a 280Z?

Is it worth it?

 

I haven't found much information on 280Z imports into Australia on this forum or on Google.

 

 

BTW: I would be removing the ridiculously huge front and rear bumpers

 

Example of what I would be looking at purchasing (but without the large rear lip spoiler):

 

http://www.usatoaus....0&sidx=0&eidx=2

 

Thanks in advance for any help you might be able to provide.



#2 Cozza

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 08:55 PM

I can't offer any advice import wise but that is definitely an attractive price.
Will you be happy with a left hand drive? Or do a conversion?
If it were me, I'd look for one without the sun roof and as always, the least amount of rust as possible.

Good luck

#3 gilltech

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Posted 21 February 2016 - 09:52 PM

Well you'll have to look at the realistic costs of buying a 280Z against buying a local car, & whether you'll want to convert it to RHD & if so what will that cost, as against leaving it LHD which limits its appeal for resale down the track.
I think you'll find it's impractical & uneconomic to buy in the USA, by the time you get a car or three inspected, pay the exchange rate for the one you decide to buy, then get it transported to docks, then shipping & insurance costs, then pay GST at this end on the 'landed value' - which includes the car's cost or an assessed value, & also applied on the shipping & insurance costs; possibly inspection, quarantine & cleaning fees; then whatever costs you'll incur to get it on the road in whatever form LHD or RHD. Also, before a car is shipped you must get an import approval for it, so while that's under way you may incur storage charges at the USA end.
So do all your homework & crunch the numbers, might as well do both for a 240Z & a 280Z (you may find a 260Z but they were only sold there for one year).

[PS. IIRC there were two different impact type bumper systems used on the US market Zeds. So if looking to swap in the 240-style skinny bumpers check out the differences - a friend in NZ some years ago found it wasn't that simple for his LHD car, much to do with fixings in the chassis rails both ends, & even different panel shapes adjacent???, but I don't recall all the issues now. Others on this forum might know. You might have to make some structural alterations which in Australia would surely require an engineer's approval].

Edited by gilltech, 21 February 2016 - 10:21 PM.


#4 gav240z

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 09:44 AM

This 1 has been on eBay a while now.

http://www.ebay.com....n-/252293861531

 

Worth looking at if you're thinking about it, as import costs alone are likely to cost 7-8K AUD.



#5 dat2kman

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 09:48 AM

Aacar pictured is the only RHD 280Z in Australia.

There are some LHD ones, possibly 2 or 3.

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#6 Hokin

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 10:17 AM

If you're going to import a z due to costs and availability I would probably go with a 208ZX 2 seater due to rarity not to mention the US got them in abundance. They did come out in a turbo l28 version stock also.

 

Have a look at Hybridz.org for some of the US stuff. It is a wealth of knowledge.



#7 Bonkers

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 10:55 AM

I have a importer one house up from me which has 3  280's and a US 240 in his shed . I know he is looking around the 13-14 mark. But condition varies between them. I could get some photos and post if you want along with a contact number.

But removing bumpers for AU style bumpers wont work as 280Z's don't have the rear recesses for the bumpers. You may also have to get club rego for it.

It might be best just to spend the money on a finished project . It will never lose money like so many other cars and with its 50th birthday just around the corner. Well there's no telling what the price may go up to.      



#8 gav240z

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 11:01 AM

It might be best just to spend the money on a finished project . It will never lose money like so many other cars and with its 50th birthday just around the corner. Well there's no telling what the price may go up to.      

 

Honestly 280z's rust just like 240z's and 260z's. They may not be as rusted now as 240z's are but there is still a lot around in the US and North American markets. If you import a rust bucket and it's LHD you'll need to weigh up restoration costs vs what it's worth. At least with a RHD 2 seater AU delivered it will hold more value and the money you spend on importing the car can be spent on rust repairs instead.

 

I looked at importing a US 240z at 1 point, car looked good in photos but the seller was an absolute *insert appropriate term here* and I had the car independently inspected which revealed quite a hard front end smack and pretty average repair work at best. A paint depth gauge seemed to indicate quite a bit of bog all over too! So when I factored in purchase price + import fees etc.. It suddenly looked like a lemon.

 

Just be careful importing an old sports car that has had a hard life and maybe not so great repairs. I'd put your money toward a local example if it was my first S30z endeavor. As someone once said to me "photos hide a lot of shit".



#9 PB260Z

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 12:21 PM

Hi,

 

The car would have to be rather special, rare or unique to justify not only the cost but also the hassle. By hassle I don't just mean finding and importing it. Getting it RHD and approved for Rego in Aus will cost $$ and even then that will only be valid for your home state.

 

As a few have already said: work out what the total and realistic costs of a registered import would be then spend that on a local car that you can inspect.

 

Just my thoughts

 

Cheers

 

PB



#10 road rider

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 05:03 PM

Some good advice above, all of it relevant.

I looked into importing a 280ZX 2 seater from New Zealand recently and the cost get it here, duties etc came in around $6K.
If you put the car onto club plates it works out quite a bit cheaper as compared to full reg, stamp duty and compliancing(just the fee comes in at $1200)

If you are really keen on importing maybe keep an eye on NZ and Japan. Both markets are RHD.

If you do go down the importing path drop me a pm and I will let you know what importer I was going to use.

Cheers and good luck.

#11 Cozza

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 07:23 PM

If you are really keen on importing maybe keep an eye on NZ and Japan. Both markets are RHD.


I think the benefit of importing any vehicle from the states is that you would be looking at a car from a dry state with minimal rust.
I would assume the climate in NZ and Japan to put their cars in the same condition as ours here.

#12 gilltech

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 07:35 PM

"a importer one house up from me which has 3 280's and a US 240 in his shed . I know he is looking around the 13-14 mark"
That sounds realistic, the way the exchange rate is heading it'll get worse. Then you still have to get it on the road, in LHD or RHD, with whatever repairs & sorting out the car needs along the way.
So better to source one already here, hopefully with known Aus history, ideally a well sorted enthusiast's car.

Japan, dunno, I think they're worth too much over there now aren't they?
NZ is a distinct possibility for the right car, but the Aus/NZ$ exchange rate doesn't help much at present.
A number of JDM Z cars were imported into NZ several decades ago now as used Jap cars, 'grey' imports they would be called here. Many I saw had rust issues. Many also had the JDM 2L engine so owners typically swapped in a 2.8 out of some crashed or rusty parted-out 280ZX 2+2 which were once very abundant imports in NZ at the time. NZ has got a spread of Zeds from all over the planet, RHD sold new, but RHD & more than a few LHD imported used, some no doubt converted to RHD since. So like anywhere you'd want to check out a car's provenance before parting with $$$. A NZ car sold new or used should have registration records dating back to the first owner/operator on-road & date.

Edited by gilltech, 22 February 2016 - 07:55 PM.


#13 ichigo-260Z

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 08:01 PM

Wow! I’m really amazed at the quality responses I’ve received, thank you to all.

 

First things first, if I did import a LHD car, I wouldn’t do a conversion. I believe it’s legal to drive a >30 year old car with LHD on the roads. So there’s a bit of money not spent there. I realise the resale value of a LHD car is limited, but I would foresee that I would have this car for a quite a while, and probably wouldn’t bother me.

 

 

 

So if looking to swap in the 240-style skinny bumpers check out the differences - a friend in NZ some years ago found it wasn't that simple for his LHD car, much to do with fixings in the chassis rails both ends, & even different panel shapes adjacent

 

I wasn’t aware that you needed import approval, thanks “gilltech” I shall look into that – and likewise swapping the skinny bumpers like a 240Z.

 

 

This 1 has been on eBay a while now.

http://www.ebay.com....n-/252293861531

 

“gav240z” I spotted that one on eBay today actually and have made some enquiries.

 

 

 

I would probably go with a 208ZX 2 seater due to rarity not to mention the US got them in abundance

 

A suggestion was made to get a 280ZX instead, but I just love the look of the 240Z style body. Getting towards the 1980’s style cars, they just seem to get too boxy and too much going on with the styling – keep it simple.

 

 

 

I have a importer one house up from me which has 3  280's and a US 240 in his shed .

 

“Bonkers” I will send you a PM.

 

 

 

If you are really keen on importing maybe keep an eye on NZ and Japan. Both markets are RHD.

 

“Road rider” I had never thought of NZ – only looking at the Japanese markets. Probably would make more sense.

 

 

 

So better to source one already here, hopefully with known Aus history, ideally a well sorted enthusiast's car.

 

"Gilltech" - I think this sums it up pretty well. I think the price looks attractive and the pictures look good, but up close they could be a lemon.

 

I will have a look on NZ car sales websites, but ultimately, I think with this advice I will purchase within Aus.



#14 PB260Z

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 08:52 PM

Yes you can register ilder LHD cars with minimal dramas.
Carpark boom gates and drive through lanes can be a challenge, and don't get me started about trying to overtake anyone.

Cheers

PB

Edited by PB260Z, 22 February 2016 - 08:52 PM.


#15 CroS13

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 11:38 PM

Common Pete, you wouldn't leave the Zed parked in a Westfield's carpark with all the other common peasants would you? 

But yes, i foresee drive through's being a problem, any kind of toll booth or pay station....

Pm YoYo, he is the only one recently who imported a zed that i can recall, it might have been a year or 2 ago, but he got his zed from Japan.

 

 I think all up it cost him low to mid 20's landed, and driven out the compliance shop. His car looks pretty good too. But i dare say the quality of unrestored Zeds  in Japan would be as bad if not worse than here, but it might be worth a shot.

Rudi.



#16 gilltech

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Posted 22 February 2016 - 11:39 PM

Both my Mustangs have been LHD & I have never been tempted to convert either of them to RHD. One gets used to LHD & learns to work around any shortcomings such as sight lines for overtaking etc. Easy enough for weekend & hobby use.
However, sitting LHD in a Mustang fastback there is a massive blind spot across the area of the right rear pillar, so one has to be super careful & position the car at a different angle at intersections & half climb across the passenger side if one is to have any safe field of vision at all before pulling out. I suspect a LHD Zed would be much the same. So really not that great for daily use.

Yes if you import remember the Aus GST tax across the car's cost or value, shipping & insurance, there's another 10% on top right there.
But there are some good Zed cars in NZ, don't get me wrong. In NZ, vehicle safety checks are mandatory every 6 months in order for said vehicle to be registered for the road, not just at resale like here.
But in any case a road registered vehicle is the best starting point, as unless you really know your Zeds inside out a parked-up barn find or project car may well be the way it is for one or more good reasons!
So, find a really good car & pay what is required. It's not like it's going to depreciate!

Edited by gilltech, 22 February 2016 - 11:42 PM.






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