Cars & Bids Bargain of the Week: 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo

The new Nissan Z is finally here, and it’s full of references to Z-cars past. And like many other classic Japanese sports cars, these vintage Nissans are becoming increasingly valuable. But not all of them command Skyline GT-R-level prices quite yet. That even includes a contemporary Nissan with more than a light Skyline touch. And this week, one of those cars is on Cars & Bids: a 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo.

With Skyline GT-R tech, the Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo revived the Z into a Corvette and Porsche killer

A white 1992 Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo
1992 Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo | Nissan
Spec1990-1996 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo
Engine3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6
Power300 hp (manual)
280 hp (automatic)
Torque283 lb-ft
TransmissionFive-speed manual
Four-speed automatic
0-60 mph time5.5 seconds (manual)
5.9 seconds (automatic)

In the 1960s, the Datsun 240Z, the original Z-car, was a genuine sports car bargain. But as time went on and it got more luxurious and heavier, the original performance spark was lost. And by the time Nissan launched the 280SX, the Z had become more GT than a sports car. Even its successor, the original Nissan 300ZX, didn’t have enough performance mojo, MotorTrend says.

All of that changed in 1989, though, with the arrival of the Z32 Nissan 300ZX. With renowned sports cars like the Porsche 944 and C4 Corvette as benchmarks, expectations were high for the Z32. But the RWD Nissan knocked them out of the park, Hagerty reports. And that was just the base model. The ‘real’ salvo came a few months later when Nissan launched the 1990 Z32 300ZX Twin Turbo.

Officially called ‘Nissan 300ZX Turbo,’ it wasn’t just the equal of the 944, Corvette, and Mk4 Supra. It won MotorTrend’s 1990 Import Car of the Year and only lost out in comparison tests to the original Acura NSX. And that wasn’t just because it was fast in a straight line. Car and Driver says the Z32 300ZX Twin Turbo “handled better than almost any other new car” at the time. It still feels contemporary today, MT reports.

The Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo’s performance and prowess come in part from its tech. As standard, the base 300ZX has fully independent suspension and four-wheel ventilated disc brakes. The Twin Turbo has electronically adjustable dampers and the same rear-wheel steering system as the Skyline GT-R on top of that. Plus, even the automatic models have limited-slip differentials.

There’s a 1990 Z32 300ZX up on Cars & Bids

A red 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo parked by a stone wall
1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo | Cars & Bids

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The Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo wasn’t just a fun sports car, though. It had the necessary tech and accouterments for daily commuting, too. And the 1990 manual-equipped example currently listed on Cars & Bids has most of those features.

Although it doesn’t have power-adjustable seats, this Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo does have power doors, windows, and locks. It also has cruise control, automatic climate control, a Bose audio system, and fog lights. Plus, like every Z32 Twin Turbo, it has a T-top roof.

The black interior of a red 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo seen through its open roof
1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo interior | Cars & Bids

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While it has a few stone chips and scratches, this 1990 300ZX Twin Turbo only has about 31,600 miles on the clock. And apart from an aftermarket Sony head unit, it’s basically stock. Also, shortly before the seller obtained this car, the previous owner replaced the V6’s timing belt. And the seller recently replaced the radio antenna and had a mechanic perform a multipoint inspection.

A Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo like this won’t be a bargain for much longer

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As of this writing, this 1990 Z32 Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo is listed on Cars & Bids for $20,000 with three days left in the auction. That’s noticeably lower than the market value for even a good-condition Twin Turbo.

A low-mileage, excellent-condition 300ZX like this typically costs closer to $40K, Hagerty reports. At least, it does today. The Z32 Nissan 300ZX is one of several Japanese collector cars appreciating in value. Considering its performance and tech, combined with 1990s nostalgia, that makes some sense. Plus, even without mods, the Twin Turbo model is quick enough for modern traffic.

So, if you’ve been looking for a Z32 bargain, this one might be worth bidding on before it’s too late.

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