The Spartan II. The fanciest 300ZX … in the world.

Comments 4008
Download PDF

If you read that title in Jeremy Clarkson’s voice, you’re on the right website.

My friend Mario, an avid Z31 300ZX enthusiast and owner, sent this crazy thing across my desk…

Photo of Spartan Nissan 300ZX Kit Car ad on Hemmings.com

Immediately, I was able to see the Z31 greenhouse as a core component of the styling of this neo-classic car. The words that came to my mind when I saw this Spartan II were not very positive. It’s a level of garishness on par with quarter vinyl tops and Continental kits. It reminds me of everything wrong with aftermarket dealer installed options, as if someone ordered a brand new Nissan sports coupe and demanded a vinyl roof, gold badges, Vogue wheels and tires, an E&G grille, and then went down to Auto Zone and grabbed some faux fender vents, just for good measure.

Spartan Nissan 300ZX Kit Car rear three quarter view in grass

And yet… I find myself liking it. The shape reminds me somewhat of the bustleback Cadillac Seville of the early 1980s, which is certainly a love-it-or-hate-it design. So Mario and I did some digging.

We found a few different Spartan IIs for sale, and a link to the old Spartan Motorcar Co. website from archive.org. Mechanically and internally, this car is little more than a 300ZX 2+2 with fancy bodywork and whitewalls.

Spartan Nissan 300ZX 3.0L VG30 Engine Photo

Yep, that’s a 300ZX alright.

The company was based in Pinxton, Derbyshire, United Kingdom. They folded in 1995 after 22 years in business, producing kit cars on platforms like the Triumph Herald and the Ford Fiesta Mk2. Bodies were comprised of aluminum and fiberglass.

I think my favorite thing about this car is that it is instantly recognizable what it really is once you open the door. The really cool digital instrument panel is still present, as is the steering wheel that contains far too many buttons. It’s a 300ZX with a redwood-sized portion of faux wood paneling, and it’s perfectly fitting. Spartan even kept the t-tops, for when you have the urge for open air cruising in this large two door.

Spartan Nissan 300ZX interior digital instrument cluster

I have a secret love of this instrument panel.

Spartan Nissan 300ZX Interior photo

More wood equals more luxury, right?

 

And large it is. According to Spartan’s brochure, this thing is 204.2 inches long. That’s bigger than a current BMW 7-series at 199.8 inches. Unfortunately, all that extra length still means you have to squeeze four people into the cabin of a 1980s 300ZX, assuming you can find three other willing passengers. What do you think? Would you buy it? Would you be SEEN in it? Are you as crazy as I am, and maybe you even LIKE it?

 

Spartan Nissan 300ZX Interior Leather Seats Image

You have to admit, those seats look pretty comfortable.

For the curious, here is a link to the original ad on Hemmings.com: http://www.hemmings.com/classifieds/dealer/spartan/series_2/1312423.html

Ray Saez, Jr.

Ray is a lifelong auto enthusiast. His father worked on the dealership side of the industry for many years, and his passion for fast, fun, and unique cars has been passed on. Particularly fond of American cars and trucks, Ray is an avid General Motors fan. When not writing, he can be found with his dogs, or at a local car show.

View all contributions by Ray Saez, Jr.

Website: http://autowaffle.com

Comments

  1. Ronald DiMonda says:

    Your information regarding the Spartan Neo-Classic Automobile is incorrect. They were no made in the UK! They were hand made in San Marcos, California. Here is the true history of the Spartan,

    Automotive designer Ron Sparks designed the Spartan for luxury auto builder Ned Lamoureaux. The luxury automobiles from the 1930’s influenced Ron Sparks’s design.

    This Spartan is not a kit car. They were hand built in San Marcos, CA, at it’s own factory.
    The Spartans were created using a Nissan 280ZX and 300 ZX chassis. Thereby utilizing the luxury sport car components that are the popular ZX cars such as:

    – High performance but fuel efficient 6 cylinder turbo engine
    – 4-speed automatic transmission
    – Analogue & Digital gauges
    – Power windows
    – Power steering
    – 4 wheel Power disc brakes
    – Power door locks
    – Climate controlled heat and air conditioning
    – Opera windows and T-tops
    – Bucket seats and back seat
    – Authentic wire wheels

    This is perhaps the finest example of a true neo-classic car ever built.
    The Spartan was the culmination of many years experience of coach building and the passion of Mr. Ron Sparks of San Marcos, California. Ron Sparks had been involved with hand built custom cars in the southern California area for year when he met Mr. Alain Clenet in 1975. Sparks worked with Clenet in producing some of the first Clenet cars to be sold.

    After a short time Mr. Sparks became frustrated with the lack of quality control and started his own company call Sparks Class Motor Works and built the Sparks roadster and the Sparks Phaeton Dual cowl limo. The dual cowl limo had all of the fine appointments like Connolly leather, diamond jeweled clocks, car phone with an intercom for the driver to talk to the passenger, Hand rubbed walnut dash and a list that goes on and on. Ron Sparks decided to produce a neo-classic car that could be afforded by the middle class worker on his way up that wanted to make a statement. Ron used the Nissan 280ZX as the platform for his creation that he would later call the Spartan.

    The Spartan was one of the most successful neo-classic ever built. Ron Sparks built approx. 300 Spartans & Spartan II, the Spartan II was built on the Nissan 300zx [the replacement for the 280zx] Initially all Spartans were sold through Nissan [then Datsun] Dealerships for about $50,000.

    Only 9 Spartan II were produced by hand at the factory in 1990, the last year of production. Most of which were purchased by celebrities such as: Eddie Murphy, Larry Holms and Joan Collins, as well as Tony Dorset of the Dallas Cowboys.

Subscribe via RSS

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner