Datsun 240Z Classics for Sale - Classics on Autotrader

Katayama was ecstatic. He knew exactly what the 240Z meant to Nissan in publicity, prestige, and profits and he saw it as a resounding vindication of every argument he’d ever had with the home office. On the eve of the Z car’s launch, he wrote an inspiring dedication in the in-house Datsun newsletter, declaring that the new car had a Japanese heart and an American soul. In many ways, that statement could have been a description of Katayama himself.

Datsun 240Z 260Z 280Z 280ZX, Nissan, Datsun, Fairlady …

Vintage car parts for Datsun 240Z / 260Z / 280Z / 280ZX 1969-1983

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.

1969 Datsun 240z Vin # 48 - Suncentral Z Club

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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.

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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.

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1969 Nissan Fairlady 240Z (S30) Pinterest

By 1967, Datsun was fourth among U.S. imports. Moreover, after years of begging the home office for products more suited to the American market, Katayama now had the highly competitive , a sporty little sedan modeled loosely on the BMW 1600. Thanks to the 510, by 1969, Datsun was selling nearly 60,000 cars a year in America.

Datsun 240z 1969 1978 Find this Pin and more on nissan Z by wildwood69.

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Moreover, shining the spotlight so strongly on Yutaka Katayama merely casts darker shadows over the bigger story, and over all the other key players in the story. He was – still is – a great man, but in the Hollywood version of the “Datsun 240Z Story” he has been promoted from a supporting cast role to top billing. He gets twinned with the Z when he could just as well be twinned with the hundreds of thousands of little sedans and pickups that sold in the USA market.

1977 Datsun 280Z | Gateway Classic Cars | 875-ORD

Well done for minimising the Goertz content, but it might be better not to mention him at all apart from pointing out that Nissan had NOT employed him as a Designer / Stylist, but rather as an advisor for modernising their full-size clay modelling and styling studio techniques. He certainly did not design the CSP311 Silvia coupe, as this was largely finished – from the pen of Kazuo Kimura – before Goertz had even pitched up at Nissan ( apparently Goertz merely suggested that the rear pillars could be angled slightly differently…). And the CSP311 was based on the chassis and running gear of the SP311 Fairlady, not the “311 Bluebird”.