Thursday, September 20, 2007

Well, I entered My Red Z into a Z Car Show last weekend. I didn't win anything, but I did get to see many, many beatiful Z Cars, new and old, and met quite a few Z Car owners, as well. It was a fun time. I also learned something interesting about My Red Z. If you look at the pic you will notice the smooth roofline is devoid of T-Tops (see pic).

Apparently, this is rare, as almost all 300 ZX's from Generation 4 (1990 to 1996) were made with T-Tops. I did some checking online and found that my car is one of only 92 produced in the same color, with similar options, and no T-Tops. That's kinda cool.

At the same time I found out "slicktops" like mine are rare, I also learned that they are very sought after by people who want to modify their Z's for racing, as the solid roof makes the chassis substantially stronger. Again, that's kinda cool.

How did I glean all this information? Easy. Several guys at the show tried to by My Red Z from me. I never once asked what they were willing to give me for her; she is not for sale. In fact, next year I am going to have her repainted. I am determined to at least place third in the 2008 show. Call it vanity if you like. My wife is already calling me obsessed because I have been polishing the dickens out of the car. That's ok, though. She's called me worse.

In any case, enjoy the pics. These are some of my favorites from the show (I have over 150 pics...I ain't posting them all). The first car pictured (first two pictures) actually won 1st place for the 300ZX 4th generation Modified category and also took home the coveted Best of Show Trophy. of course, the guy's got so much money in the car he is afraid to drive it anywhere (he actually admitted that to me). I have to wonder...where's the fun in that?

Ok, that's enough for now. I may post more at a later date. Hope y'all liked 'em!

Monday, August 6, 2007

16 years later...

I know this will seem silly, but that's ok. I'm a silly guy.

Back in 1991, when I was 18, I wanted one of these so bad I couldn't sleep at night. Of course, at 18, I could afford neither the car nor the insurance. To this day I remain convinced that poverty saved my life back then, because if I could have somehow managed to get my hands on a ZX I would have wrapped it around a tree, a telephone pole, another car, or possibly even launched it off a bridge.

Of that I am certain.

Now, we all know life goes on, and the world keeps turning no matter how badly you want something. And so over the years other things came in to fill the Z's place. Kids. Job. Wife, etc. So of course at 34, I had long forgotten about the dream car from my late teens. I'd seen a couple here and there, but they were still kinda pricey. And those that weren't expensive were in terrible shape.

To be sure, I have nothing against restored cars, but as I am only mechanically inclined enough to change my oil and maybe a tire or two, it was just too big a job for me. So I passed on several Z's. It was ok, it wasn't a priority.

Then my wife totaled her Hyundai, and we had to look for another car for her to drive. Something late model, with four doors, and preferably with a decent chunk of factory warranty still attached to it. While looking, I stopped by a dealership to look at a Corvette, just for kicks. They also had a 2004 Nissan 350 Z on the lot. Which was also nice, but I've always liked the 1990 to 1996 version better.

On the walk to look at some of the used cars, I saw this one:

There it sat, gleaming red in the late June sun, like a drop of blood on the pavement. I could feel the crimson seeping into my skin from 30 feet away, and I liked it. A lot.

I wanted it. Oh, boy. Did I want it. I think I tipped my hand to the salesman when the first words out of my mouth were "Holy Sh$t! Is that one for sale?"

"Of course it is," he answered.

"How much?" I asked. At which point my wife promptly shoved reality back into the situation by reminding both me and the salesman we were there to buy a car for her, not me.

Don (the salesman) obliged me anyway, and though he didn't realize it, slammed the door on the sale in a big way by saying "$9,999.00."

Too much. I knew it would be. I looked at it anyway, and I discovered that this car wasn't one of the former kiddie hot rod versions, mistreated and abused at every red light and stop sign in town. No, this particular bright red 300 Z had been loved. Very much, by the looks of it. The paint was immaculate, and the interior literally looked brand new. No stains, tears, cracks in the dash, or thin spots on the carpet, just a gorgeous, driver-oriented, new-looking interior.

This was the one I'd been looking for. If only it wasn't ten grand. *sigh*

My wife and I started looking at other vehicles and eventually left the Z at the dealership. Not for us. Alas.

The following week I kept in contact with Don, trying to see if I could wheedle the price of the Z down. Even he admitted the price was far too high, regardless of how good the car's condition was. Kelly Blue Book pegged it at about $6,800, but it seemed the dealership was going to hang on to that bright red beauty. I even did a Carfax report on it. 3 owners since new. The last couple who had it owned it from 1996 to 2007. In that time they put a total of 30K miles on it. That's less than 3,000 miles a year.

They babied it. And it showed. Now I wanted it even more.

A long week of car shopping later, Heather (that's my wife) and I were exhausted. We were sick of looking at cars; our feet hurt, we both had sunburns, and the dealerships wouldn't leave us alone (we had good credit and a nice down payment...they were practically drooling to sell us a car). We ended up back at the dealership where sat My Red Z, and decided to look and see if anything new had come in that Heather might like (mostly because we both really liked Don), but neither of us was very optimistic.

As it turns out, there was something there, after all. Don had just sold a 2007 Kia Spectra to an older couple, who traded in their 2005 black Kia Spectra. Now, when I say he just sold it, I mean Heather and I actually watched the older couple take their things out of the black Kia and put them in thier new one. I was able to talk to them and get the skinny on the car. It was in great shape, still had 40K miles worth of factory warranty, and doggone it, it was a pretty little car.

Heather loved it. So I asked Don how much.

"$7,800.00," he said. Sold.

Then I had a thought. I offered him $15,000 for both the Z and the Kia. He said we'd have a good shot at that, and went to talk to the manager.

We had a deal. Yipee!

So, mucho paperwork later, Heather and I drove our new vehicles home, where I looked up the Kelly price for the Kia. After I looked it up I didn't mind so much that I'd paid $500 over Kelly Blue Book for the Z.

The Kia booked at $10,700. :) Which means that we got $17,500 worth of car for $15,000. Not bad. Plus, Heather got something she likes, and I finally, after 16 years, got my 1991 300 ZX.

The best part? I'm old enough to be able to afford the insurance now. ;)