Rides from the Readers: 1975 Datsun 280Z

Frank Miller

Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, tips@hagerty.com. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.

Today’s featured vehicle is a 1975 Datsun 280Z. This model year was friendly to the Z car; the 260 Z of the early ’70s struggled under new emissions regulations, and, in 1975, the 280Z’s fuel-injected inline-six finally proved a realistic solution. Naturally, the 280Z was forced to adopt the chunky plastic bumpers of its era as well. Inside, the 280Z had much in common with its 240 forbearer—a notable exception being its factory-installed air conditioning system, which replaced the dealer-installed unit.

This particular 280Z belongs to Frank Miller, who bought it after completing his first year as a school psychologist. Miller immediately planned a cross-country trek to fill his summer and, when he took delivery of the Z in June of 1975, struck south from southwest Virginia to Florida. From there, he wound through the Florida panhandle and across to Louisiana, Texas, and California.

For Miller, the novelty of driving has never worn off. “The love I hold for my Z and the profound privilege of settling down in the pilot’s seat, putting some great classic tunes on the CD player, and leaning back—well, there’s a special love that only those of us who truly love cars can relate to,” he writes. “The purring of the exhaust, one hand on the wheel, the other shifting the gears as needed, the countryside whirring by … there’s nothing else that comes close.”

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