The Nissan 280ZX (internal model code "S130", also sold as the Datsun 280ZX and Nissan Fairlady Z, depending on the market) was a sports coupé produced from 1978 to 1983. It was the second generation Z-car, replacing the Datsun 260Z/280Z in late 1978. The 280ZX was the first time where the "By Nissan" subscript was badged alongside the Datsun logo, along with the Nissan trucks. The 280ZX was Motor Trends Import Car of the Year for 1979. The 280ZX was replaced by the Nissan 300ZX in 1984.
A turbocharged model (using the L28ET engine rated at 180 bhp (134 kW; 182 PS)) at 5,600 rpm and 203 ft•lbs (275n•m) of torque at 2,800 rpm was introduced to the US export market in 1981. At the same time the Japanese domestic market received L20ET (2 L turbo) in both manual and automatic transmissions. Nissan's concerns about reliability of their own five-speed transmission when combined with the additional torque of the 2.8 L turbo engine, meant no manual transmission was offered with the L28ET engine in the 1981 model year. Other export markets (Europe and Australia) continued to receive only the normally aspirated 2.8 L engine with manual or automatic transmission. This engine was considered too powerful to receive type approval by Japan's Ministry of Transportation, who would only allow turbochargers to be installed in sub 2 litre-engined cars, and it was therefore never sold in its homeland.
Datsun 280ZX Turbo
The turbocharged 280ZX used a single Garrett AiResearch TB03 with an internal wastegate, and no intercooler. Nissan's design philosophy at the time led to boost being limited to a sedate 6.8psi (0.47 bar), despite the lowered compression of the turbo engine (7.4:1 with dished, cast aluminum pistons). Additional changes over the naturally aspirated engine included a higher volume oil pump, an oil cooler on automatic models, and Nissan's Electronic Concentrated Control System (ECCS).
At the time of release into the US market, the 280ZX Turbo was the fastest Japanese import in the American market.
The turbocharged 280ZX with a three-speed automatic delivered 0-60 mph times of 7.4 seconds (Car & Driver, 1981), and a very respectable quarter mile time of 16.6 seconds, at a top speed of 130 mph (210 km/h).
One criticism of the early 280ZX was a reduction in spring rates, giving a softer ride, and making the car rather difficult to drive hard through corners without transient oversteer, which was a feature of trailing-arm rear suspensions. The release of the turbocharged model in 1981 saw the introduction of a revised rear suspension, which Nissan continued to use in the 1982 and 1983 Turbo, as well as the non-turbo from mid-1982 onward.
Car and Driver had another complaint of the 280ZX Turbo. In a 1981 comparison of several performance cars, they decided that while the acceleration was on par with other sports cars of the era, the braking system was prone to fading away completely before a lap could be completed on their test track.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012