It looks like the era of inexpensive Japanese sports cars from the 1980s is coming to an end. Amid the plethora of classic European race cars and grand touring machines rolling through various auctions held during Monterey Car Week, a wedge-tastic 1980 Datsun 280ZX fetched nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Wait, what?

Specifically, the hammer closed at $231,000 for this 43-year-old two-seater, one of many Datsuns and Nissans from the Mike and Debbie collection sold last week through Mecum Auctions. We've seen the 280's iconic predecessor bring beaucoup bucks in recent years – a 1970 Z432R fetched over $800,000 at a Japanese auction in 2020, and a 1971 240Z landed at $310,000 later that year through Bring A Trailer. In fact, a Fairlady Z432 just sold from this same collection through Mecum for $297,000.

Gallery: 1980 Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary

Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions / Daniel Hatchett

But we aren't talking about the OG Datsun sports car fetching a quarter mill. We're talking about the 280ZX, though admittedly, this particular car checks all the boxes for collectors. It's a 10th Anniversary model, of which only 3,000 were made according to the auction description. Of those, only 500 were red with black, and this one reportedly stayed tucked away for pretty much its entire life. The listing states a whopping 28 miles on the odometer, and it's original right down to the Goodyear Wingfoot tires on 14-inch wheels. The only changes are with the battery, and for reasons unknown, the radiator.

The ultra-low mileage essentially makes this classic ZX a time capsule, though it's a bittersweet time capsule for enthusiasts. Fitted with a red leather interior, t-tops, and a five-speed manual transmission, this is the 280ZX for drivers seeking out canyons to carve. It's also well-optioned with power windows, a power driver's seat, a factory AM/FM cassette stereo, and lest we forget the 2.8-liter inline-six engine good for 135 horsepower. A smaller I6 would have a very limited run in the Z31 300ZX, but for all intents and purposes, the 280 was the last to Z to use an inline-six.

We have no idea if $231,000 is a record for a 280ZX at auction. A photo showing the original window sticker reveals a manufacturer's suggested price of $13,990 in 1980, and a quick internet search shows many examples selling between $10,000 and $20,000 right now. We suspect those prices might tick upward once the dust from Monterey Car Week settles.

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