The Nissan 280ZX was also sold under the name Datsun 280ZX. To prevent brand confusion, it was badged with the "By Nissan" subscript beside its Datsun emblem, therefore making it the first sports coupe line to bear this co-brand distinction.
Only 3,000 units of the limited edition Nissan 280ZX were produced in 1980. Of these 3,000 cars, 2,500 were designed to have the black and gold paint job, while the remaining 500 were painted red and black.
From 1984 to 1985, the Nissan 280ZX became an icon in American pop culture when it appeared in the Transformers series. Three early members of the Autobots-Bluestreak, Smokescreen, and Prowl-changed into three different models of the 280ZX when needed.
In the Trans-Am Series, the Nissan (Datsun) 280ZX was driven by the Bob Sharp Racing team. In fact, actor Paul Newman, who was also famous for his racing stints, drove a 280ZX. He even starred in many commercials to boost the sales of the vehicle line.
The Nissan 280ZX was the first vehicle to be tested by Nissan in a wind tunnel. As a result, this vehicle's body had an aerodynamically-based design, and it had an improved weight distribution and lower center of gravity compared to its predecessor.
Want to know the reason why some car enthusiasts think that the 280ZX had less powerful engine than the 1970 240Z? This was because when the L28 engine of the 280ZX was measured by Nissan, the company used the SAE net standard of power measurement which used lower power ratings than the previously used standard of power measurement.
In 1979, Datsun manufactured 1,000 limited edition units of the 280ZX-R. Some of the notable differences between this model and the base 280ZX was that the 280ZX-R was equipped with a high-downforce whale-tail spoiler and various body decals. It also boasted broad blue stripes that were set in Silver Mist paint and special badging.
The famous removable-panel T-top of the 280ZX was introduced in 1980. This feature was designed for those who want a convertible-like vehicle without the risk of rollovers. Because of this design's commercial success, half of all the manufactured ZXs were equipped with it by the end of the year.