This 300ZX Sold for Six Figures Because of Tom CruiseThe fully-restored, race-prepped 300ZX has ties to Paul Newman and Tom Cruise and sold for six figures.
- Words Iron & Air Staff
- Images Syd
The 1984 Nissan 300ZX race car once owned by actor, producer, stuntman, director, pilot, race car driver, Tom Cruise (whew), recently sold for a whopping $102,200.
So what’s so special about this 300ZX? Was it featured in the ’90s action flick Days of Thunder, where Cruise played cocky up-and-coming stock car racer Cole Trickle? Nope. Better than that.
Cruise has long been known as a car hound, initially getting into the game after teaming up with legendary actor, driver and race team boss Paul Newman in the ’86 film The Color of Money. Having become Cruise’s mentor during filming, Newman’s enthusiasm for autos also rubbed off on his co-star, so much so that Cruise eventually joined Newman’s Nissan team — Newman-Sharp Racing — in 1987. He even competed in the Showroom Stock class of the Sports Car Club of America, and Newman-Sharp provided the red, white and blue Nissan 300ZX seen here for Cruise to race.
At this time, Cruise was also hot off one of the most popular movies of the time, a little flick known as Top Gun. Not only would fans flocked to get a glimpse of Cruise racing, but it put a target on his back with fellow racers who wanted to “run door handle to door handle, just to say “they did it to Cruise,”” according to a historic magazine article included with memorabilia provided in the auction of the 300ZX.
As often happens with race cars, the 300ZX was sold several times over before ending up in a junkyard until 2004 when it was purchased by the seller who also commissioned a full refurbishment two years later. The 300ZX was stripped down to bare metal and given a period-correct red and blue Canon and Planters Peanuts livery complete with #70 to coincide with Cruise’s racing number.
The current iteration of Cruise’s 300ZX is powered by a 3.0-liter VG30E V6 modified with Jim Wolf Technologies camshafts, MSA headers and throttle body, and HKS exhaust and ignition system mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. Tokico springs and shocks keep the 300ZX planted while a race-ready roll cage and 3A racing seats with multi-point harnesses keep the driver in place. While much of the original Cruise-driven 300ZX has been restored or replaced, there’s still a cool-factor that makes this vehicle worthy of any car collection.
Just how worthy, you ask? Well, one estimate from the Hagerty Driver’s Club pegged the car’s value at around $35,000 sans Cruise’s connection to it. However, because it was owned by one of the highest box office-grossing stars of all time (that number would be in the $11 billion range…and counting.), it sold for six figures — the final sales price being $102,200.
Some might say that paying six figures for Tom Cruise’s Planters race car is nuts (double, double-entendre fully intended), but hey, that’s showbiz.