Back in the late 1970s, at a time when the American muscle car craze was dying out, the eyes of the auto world were pinned to Japan, where carmakers started really taking things seriously. From the road to race tracks, there was literally no avoiding the good-quality Japanese machines that started being made back then.
One of the star names of the age – and one still appreciated to this day – is Datsun. The Nissan-owned brand, now just a shell of its former self, was responsible together with its parent company for the birth of the S130, a car that would sell depending on market under a variety of names: Datsun 280ZX, Nissan Fairlady Z and Nissan Fairlady 280Z.
The 280ZX was the first car sold by Datsun that featured the Nissan name alongside its own, and thanks to the way it was built, it was a major hit, at least to critics, as soon as it reached U.S. shores in 1979. So much so, in fact, that an Arizona-based company decided to launch a go-kart tribute to the car.
Back then, these mini 280ZXs went on a promotional tour to celebrate the launch of the real car, and they were quite appreciated. Not enough though to ensure their survival into the modern age, at least in usable condition.
The one you see in the gallery above has been kept in storage for the past 20 years, so that’s why it probably still looks good enough for someone to pay $1,250 for it at a recently concluded online auction.
The go-kart has all the original parts, including the fiberglass body over the 127cc engine. The powerplant, of Briggs & Stratton make, is linked to a chain-driven fixed-gear axle and it doesn’t currently run, When it did, it was rated at a tiny 3 hp at 3,600 rpm.