On a recent upload on the platform, he stumbled upon two unique barn finds. He's big on American and European classics, but on this episode, he came across two Datsun hidden from plain sight in the upper midwestern United States, Iowa.
The Iowa barn that belongs to two gentlemen, introduced as Kevin and Don, had a couple of well-kept classics, including a 1940 Ford. Unfortunately, that wasn't what Kevin was there for. At the end of the collection, in a dark corner of what was once a thriving horse stable, a 1978 Datsun 280Z had been hibernating out of plain sight for more than 30 years.
That's not all. As a bonus (for $500), he also picked a Datsun 200SX parked behind the 280Z.
Priceless barn finds with an illustrious history
Forgive my excitement. Those who know the long, illustrious history of the Nissan Z understand why this find is such a big deal.
In the domestic market, the Nissan S30 was sold as the Nissan Fairlady Z, but on the international market, including the U.S. of A, it was marketed as the Datsun 240Z.
The car world went bonkers when Nissan reintroduced the Z back into the market two years ago. But all the hype about the new Nissan Z wouldn't have happened without the 1969 Datsun 240Z, its successors, the 260Z, and Kevin's Iowa barn find, the 280Z.
Yutaka Katayama, then U.S. President of Nissan Motor Corporation, birthed the 'Z'
"This right here is a Datsun 280 Z. 5-speed that's been sitting, as you can see, for a very, very long time. And right behind is a bonus that we got for 500 bucks, a Datsun. What the hell is this one? A Datsun 200." Kevin of Junkyard Digs said, comically displaying his ignorance.
To remind you. The Datsun 280Z was released by Nissan into the North American market in 1975 succeeding the Datsun 260Z. The 260Z had a 2.6-liter making 139 hp (140 ps) thanks to America's federal emissions regulation that reduced compression ratio and ignition timing. In other markets, the 260Z had an increased power output of 163 hp (165 ps).
The Datsun 280Z came with an increased 2.8-liter displacement, an increase that was also due to stringent emissions requirements in the U.S. The I6 L280E cast-iron block engine was mated to either a 4-speed or 5-speed manual or a 3-speed automatic and produced 170 hp (172 ps).
Both the Zs had been hibernating for more than three decades
The 1978 200SX, on the other hand, had a motorsport past (cool racing lines). It had a bit of rear-end damage. For $500, the 200SX looked structurally better than the 280Z. Kevin discovered electric mirrors, Cruise control, and some nifty seats.
A bit if 200SX history dictates the sensational rear-wheel drive Nissan Silvia was originally the 200SX (1975 to 2002). The 200SX is an S11 series that received several upgrades from 1977 on the interior, body-colored front grille with optional colors and parts. In the domestic market, it came with a 1.8-liter I4 engine (L18); in North America, it received a 2-liter I4 (L20B).
The 1978 Datsun 200SX 2-door fastback coupe packed a 2-liter I4 engine paired to a 5-speed manual making 97 hp (98 ps) and 102 lb-ft (138 Nm) of torque.
"This is 1978. We've got 170 horses, a five-speed, and a beer can of a car. That made them pretty damn awesome. However, unfortunately, in today's day and age. That means they are all rusted to hell," Kevin said about the condition of the 280Z.
Will they run?
The 200SX also had it's in-cabin electronics working. The headliner needed some TLC, and it cranked as well as the 280Z. He later discovered that the starter solenoid required some cleaning. After several start attempts (lapsing into the next day), fiddling, and cleaning the carburetor – the 200SX roared to life (and drove).
Are you Curious if the 1978 Datsun 280Z fired and ran? We'll let you enjoy some of that revival action in the video below.