Riley's Cars - 2008 350z GT | MOT Misery

Finally! I have my first car, I’ve had it for a few months and boy I have some stories to tell.

Some general things about it, “Midnight Black” paint.
It has a 1.2L I4, fuel injection, N/A making 93hp which is actually fairly nippy and for a first car its good enough to keep your foot in up to the speedlimit. It’s front wheel drive obviously, front transverse blah blah generic hatch stuff. Manual gearbox, 5 speed and its pretty close range too, its just a little noisy at 70mph, so I might get a longer final gear on it.

Here’s some pictures. Black on Black on Black, with the racing stripes on the side :wink:


Now some of you may know, I’m a race driver, I race cars, used to race karts etc. You might think that makes me an idiot on the road, which to some people that might be true but what it actually does it make me super aware of the consequences, other peoples driving and general knowledge of driving is a lot more than many people on the road already. The road is not a race track. Do not use it as one.

Anyway, I actually went to look at this car after a school karting race. I had to beg my dad to go, since we were already 3 hours out of our way from home, and it was another 4 on top of that. (When you live in the south of the UK the north is quite far)
I’d been looking for a while, tossing up between Toyota Aygos, Citroen DS3’s and Swifts. This Swift was a literal bargain, it was a catagory S which means the insurace wrote it off as too expensive to repair, S just meant it had structural damage. If you’re not familiar with the catagories just look them up, there’s like Cat N,D,S,C and A, B

The car had been repaired already (too an extent which we’ll find out later) and it only had 21k miles on it. They were asking £4000 for it, and they said £200 to deliver it. We haggled the guy down to £4k for everything and the next week it was in my driveway. Badass. 66 plate car for that money was great, I’ll hopefully take good car of it >.<

The garage that had repaired it weren’t being very specific about what they had done, just that it was repaired. They were super vague and it was a little anoyying, but it was well worth it, the garage did all sorts of CAT repairs to cars so thats a trade that I’ve learnt about, you can actually get some really good cars for cheap, and depending on the insurance company you have they might not even care that its a Catagory car.

The car had some nice options on it, it’s got cruise control and a special bumper that only comes on the new facelift of the swift but is on mine because of the repairing stuff. There was a large amount of structural damage around the front driver side, the subframe was bent in, and the lower bar around the bottom of the radiator had to be replaced (i can tell because its blue, not black). Both lights were fine though.

Some things I discovered though was that I could only hold about two (2) squirts of washer fluid before I ran out, this was due to a large hole in the bottle that was made in the impact, the subframe had crushed it, the frame also crushed part of the airbox, so the pipe arm bit was loose. All this stuff is fixed now. I got to do a bit of fibreglass work which was cool, I’ve never done it before so it was quite interesting. Was a pain in the ass to fix though, since it was tucked in behind the light, and to get the light out you had to take the front bumper off. Still, could be worse.

Other things that were broken was the rear left brake light (that was actually really easy to replace, the bulb was broken (also repaired) and the front right side bulb was gone too. There’s a slight dent on the rear left quarter by the fuel cap, but its not noticable unless you point it out and the strut for holding the bonnet up was missing the clip in point (it had lost half the clip so it wouldn’t stay in place) but that’s glued in now. Oh and also the A/C didn’t work for a little bit, it just needed gassing up so we did that too, not that important for English weather but you know :wink: It blows hot quite nicely.

It’s a fun car, its quite chuckable although there is a large amount of body roll because the car is rather tall, thats probably my only gripe about it. The boot is decently big, you could fit a few sports bags in there, the head room is good in the front, not so great but still comfortable enough in the rear (I’m 6ft and a tiny bit).

The fuel eco is great, its fantastic when you drive with the intention of being effecient. I average 49mpg and thats with ripping around, but on a normal day to school its about 68 (lets call it 69 yeah?) and that’s pretty good i’m almost certain. It took me a while to figure out how to use the buttons on the dash bit, for changing time etc but of course Youtube does it’s thing so that was fine.

I’m thinking of doing maybe an intake and exhaust and that’s about it. It’s fun enough already, just need a bit of noise but not obnoxious noise. I’ve also got a Citroen Saxo VTR lying in the garage, but I guess thats another thread. I’ll try add more story to this in the coming days.


OK, so it’s not a Swift Sport (which turned out to be the last-ever normally-aspirated hot hatch of any kind), but even with a sub-100-bhp engine it should still be fun and thrifty enough for your needs. If the adage that a slow car driven fast is more fun than a fast car driven slowly is true, then you have certainly made the right decision - most performance cars are so fast that you have to deliberately restrain yourself when driving them on the road.

Anyway, congratulations on buying your first car! I’m glad it’s a manual, normally aspirated example - just as a pure driver’s car should be (although cars with such a setup are sadly a dying breed, obsoleted as they are by customers’ desire for raw pace and theoretically lower emissions) - and the Swift has traces of that in its DNA.


Of course! i forgot to mention that, honestly who could seriously drive an auto

So, the car is going great! Travelled to silverstone in it (about 2:30h) and everything was fine, as it should be really, no high temps or anything. Cruising at the speed limit obviously :wink:

I have started to notice some strange things, like the suspension is quite stiff, but the roll bars are not, so when going over small tarmac changes and things on a corner it can throw the rear up and you kinda point in a slightly different direction. A bit unnerving especially since i’m used to feeling that on the wheel, but alas, power steering.

The idea hopefully is to keep this for a year, maybe another 2 until I can get something RWD, or some sort of 2.0L. There’s a really nice 350Z in a garage down the road for only £4995, I reckon I’ll try convince my dad to buy that as his car, since we already have a Nissan Navara, a Mitsobushi outlander (which we are planning to sell) and my car, the swift. So a sporty car makes sense.

I’m not sure what I would get, whether I stick with the swifts, and go to a swift sport (quite cheap actually) so I can do a few mods to it, because for this model there is absoloutely none. Or if I do some research for something else. Anyway, fun. I’ve put about 1500 miles on it probably since i got it.


General stuff!
Rear tyres were a bit flat, probably 24PSI so got them all up to around 30PSI again before heading 4:30h up to the “north” of England for a little scholarship thing. I drove the first leg of it, up to Birmingham basically and the mpg was great actually.
It was around 70mpg, but I was doing the speed limit so that’s probably why it wasn’t 30. The car warms up in about 3 minutes which is great for drivig to school (which is about 12 mins from my house) and the a/c is about the same.

I’ve got some more longer journies coming up, on my own too. I’m going to be tutoring some people on a track day soonish so I’ll write something about driving up then probably. I had to top up the washer fluid a couple days ago, oil is all good too. It doesn’t burn through it like my freinds Mini so that’s nice.

I need to check if the car has a middle seat, because it looks like it could but I don’t actually know if it does because the belts and stuff could be under the seat and I haven’t ripped it out to see. I don’t really take anyone anywhere anyway but it would be nice to know. I was also thinking about swapping the rear tyres and the front tyres around, not because of wear but because the rears are 195, and the fronts are 185 and a little more grip at the front would be good. Saying that, the back end is quite light already and sometimes going over bumps it can jump a little.

Oh yes, and I hit 25k Miles last week, I got the car with about 21k, so in the last 3-4 months of driving I’ve done 4k miles or so, which is quite impressive I think. The gearbox is feeling great still, it feels a bit weird sometimes when it’s been parked for a while and you try to get into reverse, it just doesn’t go in, you have to go into first then back to reverse (which is strange because generally when I park i’ve been going in first and then go to neutral and engine off) so yeah.

I’ll edit this post with some pictures later of stuff. I think in the summer I’m going to go down to a spot to take some pictures with some friends so that’ll be nice.


"it feels a bit weird sometimes when it's been parked for a while and you try to get into reverse, it just doesn't go in"

I used to have this problem on my car, which was partly due to the hydraulic system but mostly due to the transmission oil. I was able to fix my reverse (and make gear changes in general) much better with a transmission oil change. However, my car is 30+ years old, yours is 4.

I’d double check your car’s recommended maintenance schedule and see when the transmission fluid change is supposed to be due. With how low the mileage is on your car, and how old it is, I’d assume it sat for extended periods of time (possibly due to the accident it was involved in). Whether you’re close to the service interval or not, it may be a good idea to look into a fluid change as (afaik) getting into reverse should be smooth and effortless.

Just my two cents.

Little hatches like these are cool, it’s too bad we don’t get many in the US.


You’d be right in saying it sat for a while, I’ve no idea how long, probably around 6months to a year. Anoyyingly due to the way I bought the car I don’t actually have the logbook / V5 for the car. So I can’t check what was “fixed” or maintaned on the car, I’ve been trying to get hold of it for ages but I’ve had no luck. Took me ages to tax it myself too because it was still taxed in the other persons name, and I couldn’t contact them to cancel it, that’s also the reason why I can’t get the history of the car.

The transmission thing does make sense, it’s usually very smooth (much smoother than some of my freinds cars) it’s just the odd thing (detailed explanation - Trying to push it in and it doesn’t go, something is blocking it is what it feels like. It’s not like I can put it into gear and then the car doesn’t move) , maybe 20% of the time. I’ll have a look and maybe you’ll save me a big bill haha :stuck_out_tongue:

Cleaned the car, little bit of polish and hey presto the car isn’t brown anymore.

On this above image I’ll point out a few things. The top white part that holds the bonnet strut arm thing was broken and kept falling out, so we glued that back in. Also the intake pipe was cracked so that was patched too. Not much else to see really. The whole section was bent after it’s crash so they pulled it back out, but it’s not perfect so there’s around a 2cm gap around the bonnet, and it doesn’t line up at all at the bottom.


Been a small while, but I’ve had the chance to collect some stories.

Not too long ago I went to Wales with some (socially distanced) friends for a bit of a drive, we all met at some services in Somerset, and then went upwards and across the bridge into Wales. We went up to the black mountains area, stopped and took some photos had a walk, The area was really nice, and it had some great roads, it was a little damp and windy but that’s Wales.

Pictured here is (from the right) Toyota Celica Mk7 (newer facelift) with a 6spd Manual, It’s got a few aftermarket bits on it like the spoiler, wheels and front bumper but it looks fairly standard still. It’s also got a 4" exhaust on it so following it is quite anoyying (spoiler this happened a lot)

Then my friends Mini One, not much done to this either, it’s got some nice BBS rims but apparently you could get them from the factory so that was nice, it’s also had a chrome trim delete and it makes it look a lot better in my opinion.

My car next, Suzuki Swift 1.2, I’ve said this all before so I won’t got into it, but I do need to get some new tyres for it, having three mismatched tyres is not nice to drive on, some other things that were iffy was that having just normal lights on doesn’t make the green light appear on the dash, only fullbeam does, the fuel gauge has about 1/4 of a tank above full for some reason but this just means that empty is very much empty. I was very glad that I had cruise control, the amount of speed cameras as you go by Cardiff is a bit ridiculous.

Finally the Mercedes in the background is an A class coupe in the special silvery colour that Merc do (I can’t rememeber what it’s called) But it’s by far the nicest car of the lot, with interior rbg leds and huge touch screens, and it’s very practical. There’s a surprising amount of space in the back.

From the Black mountains we headed onwards to Elan Valley, which was really really pretty, but there wasn’t anywhere to stop to take photos really.

It’s also no surprise that I got stuck behind a group of cows for 10mins on the way back, a fairly common occurence in Somerset but still, these ones are roaming about so it took a while.

In total we did about 300miles, bit more maybe. Only stopped for fuel once in some tiny village, and the fuel pump decided it didn’t like my car, and wouldn’t put in more than half a seconds worth of fuel before going click.
It was an enjoyable experience, I’m planning a European roadtrip of sorts for the far future (when I get a better car than this) But I’ll explain that one another time.


Still going with this, I am still planning on upgrading to a Nissan 350z at some point, but there’s a lot of issues with that.

  1. Price
    The 350s have shot up in price to nearly double what they were a year ago, for the specific 2006 GT year and trim I would like to have it’s gone from around £4500 to nearly £9000. This is pretty weird considering that 370z are from around £9000 to £15000 on average. I really don’t have the money to stump that so I’ll have to wait, which is fine because I was also waiting for insurance to come down a bit, so maybe in the next two years I’ll be able to get my hands on one and be able to drive it.

  2. Upgrades
    There seems to be nothing worth “upgrading” to, the swift is still holding value pretty well, I haven’t dumped that many miles on it, only 13k since I got it. There’s nothing I can do to it mods wise and I don’t really want to just swap it for a Swift Sport. If I sold it I would have enough money for a (not inflated price) 350z and I’m not really aware of any cars which I could get (that would be “better”)

To add to that, I do really like it, it’s good on fuel, punchy enough and looks good. It’s nicely practical, can take people places and the sound system is great.

The only things I’m having issues with right now is the touchscreen display, It’s not standard but it’s been a great help, until it goes wrong. Every now and then it’ll turn off completely and restart itself, it’ll remember the route that it had going and things after so its not too bad. Sometimes when turning the car on it remembers the last location it was instead of current, so the petrol station or something and then you have to wait like 2mins for it to catch itself back up. Another issue with it is that if you take a wrong turn on a route, it has what seems like a 50% chance to just freeze the map, but the gps speed still works just fine, as does all the radio stuff etc. if you then refresh the map screen its just black. not really ideal.

I would also like a slightly longer 5th gear, doing 3500rpm on the motorway is fine and you can’t really hear it because of wind / music but I’m sure i could get maybe nearer to 60mpg instead of 45. (uk) It drops very rapidly after that.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens to 350 prices and then maybe I’ll start to talk about a summer roadtrip in the future :stuck_out_tongue:

Been a little while, but I’ve finally sold the swift to somebody who’s going to use it well. I ended up selling for a little more than I bought it for which is great, the car had about 48,000miles in the end.
The rear left body panel had started to rust, I presume from a bad respray job by the garage who originally repaired it so it was time to go. That and I recently aquired a new car which I’ll write about soon.


And so the new car. I said I was looking for a 2006 350z simply for the updated interior and a few less engine issues.

I looked at quite a few cars online, one being in Scotland which is 8 hours away from me. I suggested to my family that we should go on a short break up there for something different and then I could disappear for a bit and look at the car. It was a super nice 2006 with some simple mods on, suspension, wheels and exhaust in a brighter flat blue. The listing ended up disappearing on the journey up so I was a bit disappointed, in all fairness I probably should of messaged the seller but I still wasn’t sure if it was “the one” if you like.

In the end I found a 350 not only 15 minutes away from me, but in a dark blue and from 2008 in the GT spec (Heated leather seats, cruise control, brembo brakes and nice factory rays) completely stock. The catch? 133,000 miles. The price was oh so good though, I couldn’t give this one up.

The garage said it had a few things that needed repaired that they would do at no extra cost, this was in January. Me and my dad went and viewed the car and noticed that the passenger side window was leaking as well, so we asked for that to be fixed.
My dad took it for a test drive (since I’ve only driven the Swift and Racecars) and he said it was pretty good, no weird noises and the suspension felt sound.
Looking through the service history we saw that the clutch hadn’t been done in quite a while, so we asked about that but the garage said it would be fine so didn’t do anything about it at that point.

In total the fix list was - New radiator, New discs and pads, passengerside door / window seal. They had a few cars they needed to move first before they got to this so they were saying around mid January to pick it up (we had a deposit on it).

Mid January came and went, no phone calls about it no nothing, so towards the end of January I phoned them and they said that the radiators they had ordered (all 6 of them) were wrong, so they had to send them back and get new ones. Other than that the car hadn’t been touched. Bit annoyying but it is what it is.

February also came and went with multiple excuses, the main mechanic got covid and was off for two weeks+, the second mechanic wasn’t experianced enough to do any work on the car and I was starting to think I should just go and pick it up myself and do the work.

The car is finally delivered on the 12th March, practically a 2 month wait. It was worth it though.

There was however some outstanding issues still.
The check engine light was on :))))

I drove it to a car meet that weekend with some friends and the car worked perfectly, and I got a taste for just how expensive it would be to keep filling this thing up every 300 miles. The Swifts fuel tank was 40L, this is 75L. I also get half the mpg of the swift (about 24 as it sits) so. Double the cost for the same distance.

Back at home I had a closer look at the engine bay and noticed that the intake pipes on both sides were split at the top joining the manifold. This meant the air was bypassing the sensor by the airbox and throwing a fault code because of it thinking it wasn’t getting enough air when actually it was.
Garage said they could order some new ones for me that were a bit more robust, so I said that’s all good and got it sorted. Those pipes took 3 weeks to arrive because they came from America, so finally had them fitted this week.


Nice new silicone ones.

I also managed to get a flat tyre in this time, (took the tyre somewhere else) and they said that either someone slashed it or i ran over quite a large bramble, which isn’t entirely impossible when I look down my lane.

Eitherway, the car is now faultless and runs really nicely and I can’t wait to drive it a bit more, I’ve put 1000 miles on it so far.

As far as plans go, I want to keep it looking stock and nothing crazy on the power side, headers, exhaust and intakes will be it, “easily” removable bits. If I was going to track it / drift it I would of bought a 03 shitter for half the price.

I’ve bought some headlight restoring kit thing so I’ll spend some time doing that later this week probably. Towards the end of summer I want to get the car on a ramp and have a look underneath as I want to underseal/coat it (and do the exhaust etc at the same time) - No, it won’t sound like a trumpet.

That’s all for this one.


This is a huge step up from the Swift, and going from a sub-100bhp FWD supermini to a RWD sports coupe with over three times the power is a brave move - but I can commend you for that. The Z33 is credited for returning the Z-car to prominence after a (very) brief hiatus, and rightly so - sharp looks, agile handling and a gutsy engine make it a tempting used buy today. Besides, unlike the latest Z, it has a normally aspirated engine under its bonnet - a rarity in today’s performance car market - and who doesn’t love that?

Given that you passed your driving test in a car with a manual transmission, it would be inevitable that the Zed would be so equipped - besides, it feels better with three pedals anyway.

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Indeed it’s a large step, so I’m being much more careful driving now than I was in the Swift. It is a manual yes, I don’t think I could drive an auto without it being a modern DCT, even then It would be in whatever manual mode I could have it in.

It’s the best 350z I could have, it could be slightly rarer if it was a 2009, since supposedly they only made 500 in Europe and 0 in the US.
It has the 313hp engine, the car is GT spec in a great colour and I enjoy driving it immensely. Now I just need something a little better on fuel and I can beat a little bit :eyes:

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According to my calculations, 300hp is the ideal ratio for a frisky city car with an average weight of 1200 - 1300kg. 2700 lbs.
133,000 miles is really a catch, as the problem is that the higher the mileage, then the more wear and tear on parts, and their life expectancy nobody has not been cancelled.
I don’t know how to repair a car and I don’t know if I would, but the fact remains that something may have to be repaired.
I found out that for example Nissan GTR Egoist wasn’t able to make many sharpen starts, because driveshaft and LSD worm gear differentials couldn’t handle the load and electronics would notify the driver that the car was switched into comfort mode to cool down the parts and stop moving. Incidentally, the Egoist GTR was the only series production car to have 2 driveshafts, one of which communicated to the front wheels.
And so I suspect there may be some compromises here too.
But given the fact that you use the car carefully and elasticly, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Congratulations on your grand purchase!

By the way, the pictures are straight out of a computer game - did you was special trying on that purpose?

Actually, as far as I know, those pictures were taken in real life.

By the way, the Z33 is indeed frisky even by today’s standards, but it’s not a city car or supermini like the Swift was. And considering its mileage, its mechanicals have generally held up well.


133,000 sounds low to me, granted I’m a mechanic who keeps a very strict service interval for his cars. On the other hand, I don’t baby them at all in terms of driving. My 2006 Honda Accord has ~230,000 miles at the time of writing this and I drive it every day. I used to daily a 1994 Honda Civic with 273,000 miles. It definitely had some issues, but the engine and transmission had very few of them.

Of course my Accord has the J30A5, which doesn’t have any major issues (just make sure you do the timing belt when you’re supposed to), whereas the VQ35s were known to have some oiling issues (this might just be the later transverse engines, not sure about the longitudinal ones like in the Z. I did see it a lot with Maximas, Muranos, and Quests). But with proper maintenance, it should absolutely be fine.

Considering this is the UK, anything over 100k miles tends to be “high milage”. As everything is a bit more compact in distance it tends to generally be harsher on the cars than just motorway cruising for 200k. Still, I want to check it over and make sure I know what I’m in for before I actually go to get the car rust proofed and other things.

In similarly sized Poland anything above 200kkm (~125k miles) was considered high mileage by most… until we started successfully fighting reversing odometers. IDK how’s the situation with that in the UK.

Anyway, that’s a cool purchase, even if I’m not a fan of the model it’s still a really good sports car AFAIK, and you’ve got it in a really nice colour and, seemingly, good condition. Have fun :wink:


damn, me bois getting a fine car and not trashing it around

good padawan