Cataloguer: S130 Nissan Fairlady Z

The S130 Fairlady Z is by no means an ugly car. In fact it was once considered the must-have car of its time. Yet nowadays it gets little to no love from the Z-car crowd, whose legion of newcomers much prefer the lighter, purer, and more O.G. S30 chassis. But just look at this photo from a Japanese S130 catalog! It’s got everything — a cool car, amazing lighting, a hot chick in a racing suit, and a damn puma

This is the actual cover, whose emphasis is clearly on the Z’s all-new feature not seen on the S30 — a T-top!

Some came with a striking two-tone color scheme, resembling an expensive, 1980s hi-fi stereo system and highlighted futuristic styling. We dont’ know what this paint job is called, but if the AE86’s two-tone is called “panda,” this should be called “Bluestreak.” UPDATE: The old school name for this scheme is called “Manhattan Color.”

Japanese photography and graphic design was (and still is) top-notch, but the beauty of these shots is further enhanced by the fact that none of them were retouched by Photoshop.

The Datsun 280ZX has already demonstrated that it can look cool, be cool and be owned by cool people. So why isn’t it revered, like the 240Z, as the embodiment of distilled sports car essence?

This might have something to do with it — even it is own brochure, Nissan equipped its flagship GT with an automatic transmission.

Nevertheless, that does seem like quite a sumptuous perch from which to experience the wind blowing through your hair.

[Images: gpx1152]

This post is filed under: Cataloguer, nissan.

33 Responses to Cataloguer: S130 Nissan Fairlady Z

  1. Ken says:

    If you look at the TV Commercials aired for these on youtube, it’s clearly obvious some of the spirited driving scenes were just fast forwarded x2 or x3 lol. Cheesy 80’s effect, somehow works.

  2. Nigel says:

    280’s and 300’s are awesome.
    The S30’s are getting expensive.

  3. Aaron says:

    I’m with the S30 crowd, take the girl and the jaguar away and the car is hideous…

  4. Joey says:

    I Love my S130! Yes in stock trim they look a little awkward, however with the right wheels and an airdam, they really look awesome. The t-tops are nice too.

  5. Dave says:

    280ZX was one of my favorite cars as a kid in the ’80s…even after the 300ZX came out. Sadly, it’s not one of the old favorites that still survive in my heart. I still like it, but probably would feel a bit embarrassed to drive one. Maybe give it another 10 years. The first-gen RX-7, a contemporary of the S130, has aged much much better.

  6. LTDScott says:

    I’ve seen several brochures where the transmission is in neutral, and this is no exception. I guess they’re trying not to block the dash, but I always found it weird.

  7. banpei says:

    I still love the S130. They appear to be very rare here in Europe, especially as they are considered less pure than the S30 and the Z31 outdid it in performance.

    BTW: the fact that back in the 70s they did not have any Photoshop doesn’t necessarily mean they were not retouched. Even better: back then you had very skilled persons who retouched photos by hand or in the lab and that’s very visible in the first picture. 😉

    • Toy_yoda says:

      Funny you should mention that! I was looking at the first picture and for some reason “TRON” crossed my mind. You can see the color of the car a little better than the lighting suggests you should; Oh well, they still have a Puma!

  8. Danny says:

    I think they don’t get the same love as the S30 because the S130 became laden with luxury bits and soft suspension, compared to the purposeful sporting characteristics of the original S30. Also, these old ads are great.. does anyone remember the Car and Driver cover featuring the 84 RX-7 GSL-SE? It was entitled “Mazda Muscle” and included a girl in 80’s workout gear curling a a barbell with rotors for weights, I have the magazine around here somewhere..

  9. ManiacZX says:

    When I was getting back to Zs and was looking for my Z31 to replace the first one I had, I kept coming across 280ZXs also and immediately dismissed them. I love my Z31 and don’t plan on ever letting it go but since then I’ve come to appreciate the styling of the 280ZX now too.

    It is the bridge between the S30 and the Z31 and is a part of the evolution of styling the Z car went through.

  10. Aaron says:

    I think my previous comment was a little harsh… I hadn’t finished my coffee. Allow me to add to my statement: Stock form with American bumpers hit this car hard with the ugly stick. Decent stance, nice wheels, and flares on a hardtop model look very acceptable. But the “hi-fi” look and hideous mag wheels coupled with t-tops make my eyes bleed.

    there, that’s better

  11. Lupus says:

    I really like S130. Here in Europe they are far more availeble then the S30. The S30 are gettig more and more expensiv, probobly thaks to Akio Asakura and Jun Kitami 😉 It’s the same story like with AE86 and it’s most recognizable drivers – K. Tsuchia & T.Fujiwara 😀
    Plus the 280ZX whas availible as turbo. From factory. And Bosch mechanical fuel injection.

    • John says:

      FYI, that Bosch injection is not “mechanical”, it’s electronic. And most of the late s30s had the same type of fuel injection.

      Which is why I’m a big fan of the ’77-78 models. Looks of an S30, guts of an S130. 🙂

  12. Toyotageek says:

    Uh-hum, regarding the feline….. calling the cat a puma is like calling the Z a Toyota. Definately not a puma. Without better resolution I can’t tell, but it is either a Jaguar (Panthera onca) or Leopard (Panthera pardus), of which melanism is a common trait in both species…

  13. shifty says:

    The really big turnoff is that these cars still need to pass smog – so no fun with triple Mikunis or other modifications.

  14. Carl Beck says:

    The 1979 280ZX set sales records for the Z here in the US, which so far haven’t been topped. The 79 280ZX was lighter and had a lower CD than the preceding 1978 280Z.

    Exceptionally low mileage, true #1 Condition examples of the 1980 10Th Anniversary Editions have sold for above $40K {yes I knew both the buyer and seller at the time}. Exceptionally low mileage, Condition #1 examples of the 82/83 280ZX Turbo’s have also changed hands among private collectors above $25K. You almost never see these cars advertised for sale, as they usually change hands privately.

    Condition is 90% of the value – and top condition examples of the more limited production models have been going up over the past 5 years. I say find a great example of the 82/83 280ZX Turbo that you can buy today – – drive it and enjoy it for the next decade – and you’ll make money on it.

  15. Koich says:

    This two tone color was referred in Japan as “Manhattan Color”. I don’t have the history on why it’s named that way, but was a common terminology between car guys back in the days.

  16. Kevin T says:

    To each their own taste…I’m not down for this one.

  17. Maxwell says:

    I own an 81 Turbo with 26k miles. To each their own taste for sure but I live South Beach were exotics are the norm and don’t get the thumbs up and crowds as my silver over black wtih t-tops. It’s still can run with cars of today and kids admiringly ask me if it’s an old Jaguar and by the way, “What’s a Datsun?”. I also get rock star valet treatment wherever I go. It is AWESOME!

  18. Kevin T says:

    On 2nd thought, maybe if you can get rid of the bumpers or run some clean CF bumpers, retain those JDM fender mirrors, slam it nicely on a set of SSR MKII’s, SSR MKIII’s, Work Equips, SSR Longchamps, say 15×8.5 FR and 15×9.5 or run some 16 inch Wats again with x8.5 and x9.5 in the rears, and swap it out to stick, I’d be down to drive/own one. Or maybe even doesn’t have to be so aggressive and just go x8/x9 variety and it would do nicely. Just dial in the right “stance” lolz, as they call it these days. And if I can have some hot chicks stand like that, with their knockers hanging out! I’d be down all day!

  19. Stevester says:

    I too never understood why the 280ZX never got the ‘love’ of the S30s. But then, I also never understood why the Porsche 944, 914, and the Ferrari 328 never got the ‘love’ either.

    I wouldn’t mind getting a 280ZX if a clean, one-owner sample were to present itself…

  20. THF says:

    You don’t have to sell me on this car. I own one. Love owning it, love working on it, love driving it. I get comments wherever I go. I don’t know why people say it gets no love from the z crowd. That’s not the experience I have. The only ones saying its ugly is the s30 crowd. Funny how they pop up whenever someone writes an s130 article to spew their hate. Go drive your s30 and STFU!

  21. srfairladyz says:

    I agree, I’ve always loved the S130. When you see it in person it resembles the S30 so much, but jam packed with over the top 80’s zappp! Now dont get me started on the Z31, another black sheep that I love and own. Especially the kouki. The 88-89 Z31 is literally half 80s starship and half 90s bubble. Not many hate the R35 for taking on those extra techno calories, so why hate on the S130 and Z31?!

  22. AY says:

    What do you mean they’re ugly. They look so cool but they aren’t many in Australia unfortunately.

  23. ylee says:

    I own an S30. I used to hate S130s. In the past few years, i have grown to love how the S130 looks when it is lowered on beautiful Japanese made oldskool kicks.

    just like these

    Be….A….U…TEE-FULL!! -Ace Ventura-

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