1976 Datsun 280Z Gets First Wash in 44 Years – Looks Incredible

An auto enthusiast buys a new car and then puts it in a garage after falling on hard times. That was 44 years ago. The car was a brand new 1976 Datsun 280Z with only 350 miles on the odometer. Just recently, that Datsun changed hands and received it’s first cleaning, washing off decades of dirt that had settled on the car. The detailer chronicled the clean up on his YouTube channel for all to see. The results look incredible!

Detailing expert called in to refresh the Datsun

A light blue 1976 Datsun 280 Z sports car sits on the grass after its restoration
1976 Datsun 280Z | Ammo NYC via Youtube

YouTuber Larry Kosilla has a channel called, Ammo NYC. On the channel, he chronicles the development of his professional detailing organization. Over the years, the quality of his work has garnered the attention of collectors who will call him for special projects. Consequently, when this Datsun 280Z changed hands recently, the new owner called on Mr. Kosilla for some detailing help.

Mr. Kosilla arrived in the Hershey, Pennsylvania area to discover a light blue, presumably sky blue or light blue metallic, 1976 Datsun 280z. The car had been moved to a larger bay, but still had the layers of dirt on it from sitting in the old garage. The car seemed in great condition, aside from the dirt. It even had the original tag on the sun visor with the vehicle’s starting instructions and other paper labels put on at the factory, which traditionally deteriorat with usage. The factory markings remain visible on the engine, and even the gas struts for the rear hatch work flawlessly. 

That’s when Mr. Kosilla got to work on the Datsun. He vacuumed the interior and then grabbed a microfiber towel, a brush, and an interior lathering chemical. The lather was sprayed, a brush worked in the solution into the grain of the interior materials, and the cloth was used to wipe it all down afterward.

Multiple passes were necessary to get the shine back

There was mostly loose dirt on the exterior of the classic Datsun 280Z. But, even after a wash, it was necessary for Mr. Kosilla to go back and make another pass of cleaning. After becoming confident that the window seals had not lost their integrity, a pass with the pressure washer was called upon. Then an additional pass was done with a foam cleaner. Next, a compound polish removed the years of embedded grime from the paint. To finish off the paint, a buffing polish finished the restoration of the original glossy finish.

There is something strangely satisfying about seeing this Datsun 280Z get cleaned up. The interior, exterior, and even the engine bay cleaning are covered in the video. It is posted below for your viewing pleasure. 

The end result is stunning. The blue paint came back to glisten, all the chrome shines, and the interior looks brand new. Overall, it is a remarkable comeback after 44 years of neglect. 

The 1976 Datsun 280Z 

The interior of a recently restored 1976 Datsun 280Z.
1976 Datsun 280Z | Ammo NYC via Youtube

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The Datsun Z car series has been a popular platform for people looking for muscle car performance from Japanese manufacturers. One was even resto-modded recently by Gas Monkey Garage for the television show Fast-N-Loud. Our friends at Hagerty say of the 280Z, 

“Any Z is a mechanically simple and robust car with good parts availability and a lot of fun to drive. Bodies that are especially rust-prone are the Z cars Achilles heel, but high production numbers mean that there are still plenty of rust-free examples available. All of these factors help keep Datsun 280Z values in the affordable range and make the car a great candidate for an entry-level collectible car.

Hagerty has valued the classic 1976 Datsun 280 cars at anywhere from $5,400 in fair condition to over $60,000 in concourse quality. The car in the video went on to recently win awards. So, it is safe to say that its condition probably warrants the higher end of the scale in value. But, it could always be priceless to its owner.