Datsun 240Z 260Z 280Z 280ZX, Nissan, Datsun, Fairlady …
1969 Datsun 240Z Canvas Art Print by Mark Rogan | …
The Datsun Z car’s impact on the marketplace was considerable. Despite its lack of pedigree, the 240Z offered brisk performance, excellent build quality, and the styling flair of a European GT for the price of a plebeian sedan. It absolutely brutalized the English sports cars of its era, particularly the and , and dealt the Opel GT and Porsche 914 a blow from which they never really recovered. Even with substantial dealer markup — something that greatly worried NMC USA — Datsun sold around 23,000 240Zs in the 1970 model year. Total U.S. Datsun sales swelled from 58,000 to over 104,000, indicating that the Z was bringing new customers to Datsun showrooms. For 1971, American Z sales nearly doubled, to over 33,000.
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The Z soon proved its mettle on the racetrack, as well as on the sales floor. Bob Sharp and Peter Brock campaigned the Datsun 240Z very successfully in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) road racing, where the Z car dominated the C-Production class for nine years in a row. Amateur racers could avail themselves of a host of performance and competition parts, both from Nissan and from a growing number of aftermarket suppliers. If the Datsun Z car did not quite rival the ubiquitous Ford and Chevy small blocks for tuneability, it was not for lack of trying.
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Midway through the year, new, federally mandated bumpers further swelled the Z’s burgeoning curb weight, prompting another enlargement of the U.S. car’s engine. This time, it grew to 2,753 cc (168 cu. in.) and Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection was substituted for carburetors. (Japanese and European cars remained at 2.6 liters) The new engine restored the renamed Datsun 280Z to nearly its original power levels — 149 hp (111 kW) — but the Z was now an embarrassing 180 kg (400 lb) heavier than the original 240Z. Not only was performance down, the extra weight added a ponderous quality to the handling and took its toll on the brakes, a problem not addressed until the subsequent generation.
1978 Datsun Cherry F-II 2/4-Door (F10 ..
That higher price bought progressively weaker performance. The original Z car was designed with American safety and emissions standards in mind, but Nissan had not anticipated the rapid tightening of those standards that took place in the mid-seventies. The Datsun 240Z’s power began to drop as emission controls were added, falling to 129 net horsepower (96 kW) by 1973. In 1974, Nissan enlarged the engines of 2.4-liter Z-cars to 2,565 cc (156 cu. in.), raising power to 139 hp (104 kW) and prompting a name change to Datsun 260Z.