It seems so normal and common for cars to be co-branded with media — witness the “Transformers” movie for a fine example — but in 1977, it was highly unusual. In fact, video game culture that has influenced the old car hobby can look at this 1977 Datsun 280-Z ZZZap edition as being the godfather of them all. This vehicle, our Pick of the Day, is for sale on ClassicCars.com by a dealer near Grand Rapids, Michigan.
It all started with a 1977 arcade game produced by Midway called Datsun 280 ZZZAP. It originally was released in 1976 as Midnight Racer and then the co-branded ZZZAP version was released by Taito in 1977 in Japan before Midway released it in North America shortly after. A Special Decor Package inspired by the video game was introduced in the 1977 model year. Promotional material claimed, “The Z with more ZZZap!”
The basis was a 280-Z, which came with a 2,753cc OHC six with 149 horsepower and electronic fuel injection backed by a four-speed manual. The Special Decor Package included mandatory Sunburst Yellow paint with a black racing stripe along the hood, roof, and deck, plus longitudinal stripes on both sides; an additional gradated stripe in yellow/orange/red was placed on the hood and the front fenders. Other features included racing mirrors and rear window louvers. According to the Internet, 1,000 280-Zs were built with this package, but we cannot find supporting documentation to verify.
This particular 1977 280-Z with the Special Decor Package for sale on ClassicCars.com was originally sold new in Newburg, Oregon, then migrated to Wyoming, where it spent most of its life. Seller says the Nissan … er, Datsun has been driven only 2,500 miles in the past 20 years, which is supported by maintenance records. “Driving the 280-Z is a dream, with a tight 4-wheel independent suspension, power-assisted brakes, and rack and pinion steering,” adds the seller. “Highlights include rear window defogger, auxiliary gauges, Kenwood radio, Alpine speakers, and exterior racing stripe.”
This Datsun 280-Z ZZZap edition has only 73,125 miles on the odometer. Included in the sale are the original owner’s manual, service manual, original tool kit, unopened tire inflator canister and full factory exhaust including the original muffler. This limited-edition Z-car will cost you more than a quarter — more like $34,900. Maybe you can find the original arcade game for a nice pairing?
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.