A forgotten car in Pennsylvania:
When I got the first email, I was skeptical. A 1976 280Z with only 350 miles, hidden away for 44 years? True barn finds are becoming scarcer by the day so I had to see it for myself. What I discovered blew me away!
Beneath a thick layer of dust and grime I discovered one of the most perfectly preserved Datsun Z cars on the planet. This car has been sitting indoors since the original owner drove the car home from the dealership in 1976. He wanted to fix a small dent in the fender and upgrade the stereo, so he dissembled parts of the car that first week. But due to money troubles he never completed the task and it has been sitting ever since.
Restoring the interior:
The doors on this 280Z have not been opened in over four decades, so the interior still smelled like new! But there was a good layer of dust on every surface that needed to be dealt with before we could clean and condition the complete interior with AMMO Lather Interior Cleanser and AMMO Mousse Interior Conditioner.
Cleaning the exterior:
We next needed to get four decades of dirt off the car. I often talk about how to wash a car, but this is different. The challenge here was taking care to not damage the original paper stickers or risk leakage into the interior. Instead of using a power washer or water to start, we began with AMMO Frothe and an AMMO Aerator to gently remove the years of filth. With the bulk of the dirt gone, and confident in the integrity of the rubber seals, we could then move on to a steamer and a power washer for the details and stubborn areas.
Polishing 44 year old paint:
Being untouched for over four decades, the paint was in remarkable condition. There was dirt embedded in the surface, but the finish looked to be in excellent shape and free from scratches and defects. After measuring the paint depth to confirm it was all original, and taping off the rubber gaskets, we could set to work on the polishing. For the first application we used a light compound and a Rupes XX?? polisher to remove the surface grime and reveal the actual paint surface. After essentially exfoliating the paint, the finish was even better than expected!
The final touches:
After polishing the chrome bumpers, the previously removed interior and exterior parts were reinstalled. As the final step in our process, Dan and I applied a coat of AMMO Skin to the paint and AMMO Mud to the tires. Stephen Walker, the car’s new owner, then put the original hubcaps back on the car and gently reinstalled the car’s emblems. To get the full effect of this restoration, we rolled the reborn 280Z outside to see it in natural light. The megawatt gleam coming off the car was only matched by the smile on Stephen’s face.
View the complete process here: