Nissan fairlady

Explore Nissan Z's 50-Year History as the 2023 Z Debuts

The 2023 Nissan Z has debuted giving the world a look at the heir to the Nissan sports car throne. The history of the Z began over 50 years ago and the impact of seven generations of Z design are shown off in the new, seventh-generation model.

The Z-Series began in the 1969, for the 1970 model year with the Fairlady Z in Japan and the Datsun 240Z in the US. These models were developed after three years of research and design to create a modern-styled, two-seater six-cylinder coupe for the North American market."

First Generation

Nissan Fairlady Z and Datsun 240Z, 260Z, 280Z (S30)

The Fairlady Z premiered in 1969 as the first generation of Z Cars in Japan. The "Z-Car" was manufactured for nine years selling roughly 520,000 units around the world, which was a record for sports cars within a single model.

Americans got their take on the model the same year, rebadged as the Datsun 240Z. It featured a 151-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-six engine. An upgraded version of the model, the 260Z, was released in 1974 and yet another take came in 1975 when the 280Z was introduced.

Second Generation

Nissan Fairlady 280ZX and Datsun 280ZX (S130/Z30)

The second-generation Z was launched nearly a decade later in the 1979 model year keeping the Datsun name for the U.S. market and retaining the Fairlady moniker in Japan. With new interior and exterior styling, the Datsun 280ZX attracted more luxury interest to meet the growing demands of the sports car customer. The 280ZX offered four wheel disc brakes, came in a Turbo model and was the first Z to be offered with a T-top. Its design, engineering and drive dynamics were extremely popular with critics and customers.

Third Generation

Nissan 300ZX (Z31)

By 1983, Nissan had started over again, reworking the Z in from a clean sheet. The third-generation 300ZX (Z31) was introduced to American markets the same year and manufactured through 1989. This version of the Z-Car brought standard air conditioning, leather upholstery and offered a more affordable option for sports car enthusiasts. However, the hottest new addition to this model was the newly designed turbocharged V6 engine, which played a big part in the model winning the 1985 All Japan Rally Championships.

Fourth Generation

Nissan 300ZX (Z32)

The fourth-generation Fairlady Z, known as the Nissan 300ZX, was released in 1989 with a completely new design with the only holdover from the previous model being the engine. This version of the car was wider and sleeker than the previous models with its wide, low-proportioned style, distinctive front end with slanted headlights and the short overhang that increased maneuverability and performance. T-tops were standard and a convertible option was available beginning in 1993.

Fifth Generation

Nissan 350Z (Z33)

The Nissan 350Z tee'd off production for the fifth generation of Nissan Z-Cars 2002, ending a six-year production hiatus in the U.S. The 350Z showed off a sleek redesign of the original 240Z. This car rejuvenated Nissan's market presence by offering the model a a modest starting price of $26,000. Adding to the allure, Nissan sold the model in a wide variety of trim levels and upgraded the engine in 2005 and 2007.He

Sixth Generation

Nissan 370Z (Z34)

The Nissan 370Z coupe remained one of the staples of the Nissan vehicle lineup when the next-gen car was introduced in 2008 as a 2009 model year vehicle. The sixth-generation Z was equipped with a 3.7-liter V6 engine and a seven-speed automatic transmission under the hood. A manual transmission was available. A roadster version of the car was made available for sale.

Seventh Generation

Nissan has introduced the new Z, a two-seater coupe that features design inspired by the heritage of the model, coupled with a powerful engine and modern amenities. For the new generation, Nissan has returned to the Z name, simply calling the new model the "Nissan Z". It is expected to arrive stateside in early 2022.


The Datsun/Nissan Z-car, introduced as the 240Z as the 1960s sputtered to a close, now ranks in the pantheon of great Japanese things, right up there alongside Nikon cameras, fatty tuna sushi, Katana swords, and Mothra. There wasn’t anything particularly new about the 240Z; it was built of ordinary and familiar parts. But it drove so well and was built so well that it elevated consumers’ expectations for all sports cars. It was a better Datsun—and Nissan—that would eventually inspire better Porsches, better Corvettes, and better Jaguars.

But Nissan didn’t have the spiritual fortitude to stick with the Z’s original mojo. The disco temptation was impossible to fight during the 1970s, and the Z became the ZX. Crushed velour upholstery, T-tops, and a flabby suspension came with it. Then Nissan changed its mind again. Here's the Japanese sports car, its antecedents, its gooey successors, and its eventual resurrection as a true sports car again.

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Nissan Z-car

"Z-car" redirects here. For other uses, see Z-car (disambiguation).

Motor vehicle

The Nissan Z-cars are a model series of sports cars that have been manufactured by Nissan Motors Ltd, in seven generations, since 1969.

The original Z was sold from October 1969 in Japan, as the Nissan Fairlady Z (Japanese: 日産・フェアレディZ, Hepburn: Nissan Fearedi Zetto), at Nissan Exhibition dealerships that previously sold the Nissan Bluebird. However, for export it was initially marketed as the Datsun 240Z. Since then, Nissan has manufactured six generations of Z-cars, with the most recent, the Nissan 370Z, in production since 2009.

Chief Japanese rivals include the Toyota Celica, Toyota Supra, Mitsubishi 3000GT and Mazda RX-7.

The earlier models of the Nissan Z were built at the Nissan Shatai plant in Hiratsuka until 2000, while the later models (350Z and 370Z) are built at Oppama (2002–2004) and Tochigi (2004–present). Enthusiasts praise the cars for their looks, reliability, performance, and affordability. Every Z car has been sold in Japan as the Fairlady Z and elsewhere under the names Nissan S30, Nissan S130, Nissan 300ZX, Nissan 350Z and Nissan 370Z. In May 2020, Nissan revealed plans to produce a new Z car.[1]


Nissan was a relatively small automaker when it entered the international market in the 1960s and partnered with Yamaha to design a new sports car prototype to update the Nissan Fairlady. It resulted in the prototype Yamaha YX-30 from 1961.[2] Nissan executives saw the prototype as a halo car that would improve their company's image in the minds of consumers. By 1964, Nissan realized that Yamaha's DOHC 2.0-liter engine was not meeting Nissan's expectations and the project was scrapped. Yamaha later finished a prototype and took their design to Toyota, resulting in the Toyota 2000GT.

Yutaka Katayama, the president of Nissan USA at the time, realized the importance of an affordable sports car internationally. Nissan had already produced for many decades the successful series of Fairlady roadsters that competed mainly with English and Italian roadsters, and product planners envisioned a new line of GT cars that would be stylish, innovative, fast, and relatively inexpensive through the use of interchangeable parts with other Nissan vehicles. Nissan also had the engineering background and product development experience with the recently acquired Prince Motor Company, which manufactured the Prince Skyline that was later renamed Nissan Skyline in 1966.

First generation: Nissan Fairlady Z and Datsun 240Z, 260Z, 280Z[edit]

Main article: Nissan S30

Sales of the Nissan Z-cars (internally also called S30 or Z29) started in October 1969 (for the 1970 model year), with separate versions for the Japanese and U.S. markets. The Japanese Fairlady Z featured a 2.0L SOHC L20A straight-six engine producing 130 hp (97 kW), while the US Datsun 240Z featured a 2.4L L24 inline-6 with twin HitachiSU-typecarburetors that produced 151 hp (113 kW) (SAE gross horsepower). A third Z, the Z432 (PS30) shared a performance version of the DOHC 2.0 L S20 engine with the Nissan Skyline 2000 GT-R.

In Japan, the Z was still known as the Fairlady to keep the car in line with the previous generation Datsun Sports roadster. Japanese domestic market (JDM) versions had the Fairlady Z badge on the lower fenders with the 432 badge above (the 432 designation was 4 valves, 3 carburetors, and 2 camshafts). However, Yutaka Katayama ensured the American version had all Nissan, Fairlady Z, and 432 badging replaced with "Datsun" and prevented all dealer shipments until they were replaced.[3]

The 240Z was released in America on October 22, 1969. Combining good looks, and powerful performance, it sold over 45,000 units through the '71 model year and over 50,000 and 40,000 in 1972 and 1973, respectively.

The 260Z was released in 1974. Engine displacement increased to 2.6 L, and Nissan introduced a 2+2 model option with a 30 cm (1 foot) stretched wheelbase and length. Engine power increased to 154 hp (115 kW), except for most areas of the U.S., where power decreased to 139 hp (104 kW) (SAE net horsepower) due to new camshafts, carburetors, and lower compression, that were introduced to comply with new US emissions regulations.

The 280Z was released in 1975 for North America only (not to be confused with the second-generation 280ZX) and featured a further engine displacement increase, to 2.8 L. A major change was the introduction of Boschfuel injection, replacing the previous SU carburetors. This resulted in a power increase to 170 hp (127 kW) (SAE gross horsepower), offsetting increased weight from added luxury features and an enlarged bumper that met US Federal regulations. Export markets outside North America however kept receiving the Datsun 260Z, until the introduction of the Datsun 280ZX in late 1978.

Second generation: Nissan Fairlady 280ZX (S130/Z30)[edit]

Main article: Nissan S130

Nissan/Datsun 280ZX (S130)

Known as the Datsun/Nissan 280ZX in export markets, the car continued to use the "Fairlady" moniker in the Japanese domestic market where 2-litre inline-six engines were also available and were first introduced in 1978. That same year, main rival Toyota introduced the Supra as its answer to the new Fairlady, although it also continued to produce the Celica that it was based on.

The only thing left unchanged from the previous 280Z was the 5-speed manual transmission and 2.8-liter L28 inline-6 engine, while the entire car overall was made more luxurious to meet growing consumer demands. Major changes for this new generation of Z-cars include t-tops, introduced in 1980, and a turbocharged model introduced in 1981, complementing the naturally aspirated (NA) 2-seater and NA 2+2 models. Coupled to either a 3-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission, the turbocharged model was capable of 180 bhp (130 kW) and 203 lbf⋅ft (275 N⋅m) of torque, over the 135 bhp (101 kW) and 144 lbf⋅ft (195 N⋅m) of the NA engine.

Notable models include the 10th Anniversary Edition, featuring gold emblems, gold alloy wheels, and two-toned paint in either gold/red and black, with luxury features such as leather seats, headlamp washers, and automatic climate control.

The 280ZX was wildly popular, being hailed as Motor Trend's Import Car of the Year for 1979 and going on to set a Z-car sales record of 86,007 units in its first year.[4] While on the one hand, it received praise for taking the Z-car to further levels of comfort and performance, many enthusiasts also lamented the further emphasis on luxury over driving fun. This would continue with the third generation of Z-car, with a clean-sheet redesign that would take the Z-car to further heights.

Third generation: Nissan 300ZX (Z31, First Model)[edit]

Main article: Nissan 300ZX

The Z-car was completely redesigned in 1984, and introduced Nissan's new series of 3.0-liter V6 engine, dubbed the VG series. The same engine was used in the Electramotive (later to become NPTI) GTP ZX-Turbo that dominated the IMSA GTP races in 1988 and 1989. These were available in both VG30E naturally aspirated and VG30ET turbocharged forms producing 160 and 200 bhp (120 and 150 kW) respectively, although some VG30ET powered Z-cars exported outside of the U.S. produced 228 bhp (170 kW) due to a longer cam duration and less emission restrictions. These were showcased in sleek new wedge-shaped styling and given a new name, the 300ZX. Like its predecessor, it proved to be wildly popular and was the second-best selling Z-car in history[5] selling over 70,000 units due in part not only to its new styling but also to even more added luxury features and high performance. When the 300ZX Turbo was released in Japan, it offered the highest HP available in a Japanese standard production car at the time.[6]

Much like the 280ZX that preceded it, the first-gen 300ZX was thought by enthusiasts as more GT than a true sports car. It had improved handling, acceleration, and more refinement than any previous model Z-car.

Nissan made various changes and claimed improvements to the Z31 model through its entire production. In 1983, Nissan first offered the 300ZX in Japan. It was introduced in the US one year later. All US-market 1984 model Nissan vehicles carried both Datsun and Nissan nameplates. Along with the arrival of their new flagship sports coupe, Nissan launched an aggressive marketing campaign to promote the brand name change from Datsun to Nissan. The 1984 Models can technically be considered the only year of the "Datsun 300ZX". The 1984 300ZX 50th Anniversary Edition was released in celebration of the company's 50th anniversary year. It was based on the standard 300ZX Turbo, but was outfitted with every luxury feature available, a unique black interior with "bodysonic" leather seats in addition to widened fender flares, requisite badging, rear quarter panel flares, and sixteen-inch (406 mm) wheels (400 mm).[7]

For the 1985 model year, Nissan dropped the Datsun name brand for good, but the car dealers were still known as Datsun dealers. Paul Newman raced in the 1985 GT1 Challenge and won. This was Newman's fourth national championship. Minor changes were made to the 300ZX including a water-cooled turbocharger and smoked taillights.

The 1986 model saw wider flared wheel wells as well as body-color bumpers, and the rear quarter panels were designed specifically to accommodate factory ground effect style side skirts. 1986 turbo models were equipped with an ordinary hood, markedly losing the turbo "scoop" on the driver's side.

In order to keep up with quickly aging aesthetics, another slight redesign happened in 1987, consisting of new rounded, restyled and longer front and rear bumpers, new headlights, and new tail lights. The black trim on turbo models was now a charcoal instead of gloss black, and 1987 Turbo models came with special "smoked" turbo-finned wheels. All 1987 model year turbo cars also received an upgraded manual transmission, larger and more powerful brakes, and turbo cars produced from 4/87 and later came equipped with a clutch-type limited-slip differential.

For the 1988 models, there were again a few small changes. The turbocharger was switched from the Garrett T3 turbo to a lower-inertia T25 turbo, and the engine from 7.8:1 to an 8.3:1 compression ratio in order to reduce turbocharger spool time and provide an instant boost at any usable RPM. The interior aluminum accents and chrome door handles that adorned the earlier cars were dropped in favor of matching color parts. Another special edition, the "Shiro Special" (SS), was released in 1988. It was only available in pearl white (shiro meaning "white" in Japanese). The SS package consisted of analog gauges and climate controls with a black interior, stiffer sway bars, stiffer springs, non-adjustable suspension, special seats (Recaro), a viscous-coupling limited slip differential, and a special front lower lip spoiler. This package had no options; all 88SS cars are identical.[8]

The 1989 Models are identical to 1988 models, though somewhat rare because of Nissan winding-down production early in preparation for the second generation 300ZX.

Fourth generation: Nissan 300ZX (Z32, Second Model)[edit]

Main article: Nissan 300ZX

The only thing unchanged from the previous generation 300ZX is the 3.0-liter V6 engine, now with dual overhead camshafts (DOHC), variable valve timing (VVT) and producing a rated 222 hp (166 kW) and 198 lb⋅ft (268 N⋅m) naturally aspirated. The turbo variant was upgraded with twin Garrett turbochargers and dual intercoolers. This produced 300 hp (220 kW) with 283 lb⋅ft (384 N⋅m) of torque.[9] 0-60 times of 5.0-6.0 seconds were reported[citation needed], and it had a governed top speed of 155 mph (249 km/h).

Upon its release, the 300ZX, won Motor Trend's "Import Car of the Year" in 1990 as well as "One of the Top Ten Performance Cars". Automobile Magazine honored the 300ZX/300ZX Turbo as its "Design of the Year" and added it to their "All Stars" list. Road & Track named the 300ZX Turbo "One of the Ten Best Cars in the World", and Car and Driver added it to their 10Best for the seven years in which it was in production in America. American Z-car sales reached 1 million in 1990.

Nissan utilized the Cray-II supercomputer to completely design the new 300ZX with a form of CAD software. This made the 300ZX one of the first production cars to be developed in a CAD program. In return, it featured a whole host of technological advancements. On the twin turbo models, four-wheel steering was available under the name Super HICAS(High Capacity Actively Controlled Steering). The twin turbochargers, intercoolers, and requisite plumbing left for a cramped engine bay; however, everything fit perfectly.

Like previous generations Nissan offered a 2+2 model with the Z32. In 1993, a convertible version was introduced for the first time in the Z-car's history, as a response to aftermarket conversions. All 300ZXs now featured T-tops as standard, yet there were some rare hardtops (known as "slicktops") produced as well.

The 300ZX was doomed to the same fate of many Japanese sports cars of the time. The mid-'90s trend toward SUVs and the rising Yen:Dollar ratio were both influential in ending North American 300ZX sales in 1996 at over 80,000 units sold (production for other markets continued until 2000). Probably the biggest killer of the 300ZX was its ever-inflating price;[10] at its release it was priced at about $30,000, but in its final year this price had increased to around $50,000. This left many people questioning its value, and despite a final Commemorative Edition of the final 300 units shipped to America (complete with decals and certificates of authenticity), the Z-Car was on hiatus. In Japan, however, the 300ZX lived on for a few more years with a face-lift including a new front fascia, tail lights, headlights, rear spoiler, and a few other minor changes.

Nissan 240Z Concept (1999)[edit]

In the U.S., the Z-car went on hiatus from 1997 to 2002, as Nissan focused more on SUVs and was also in some financial trouble. To keep Z-car interest alive, Nissan launched a restoration program in 1998 for which they purchased original 240Zs, professionally restored them, and re-sold them at dealerships for about $24,000.

Nissan next launched a concept car at the 1999 North American International Auto Show, the 240Z Concept. Clearly a throwback to the original, it was a bright orange two-seater with classic swept-back styling. In addition, it was fully functional, with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder KA24DE engine from the 240SX featuring 200 bhp (150 kW) and 180 lb⋅ft (244 N⋅m) of torque. The designers used an original 240Z to provide inspiration and the concept was created in only 12 weeks.[11]

The running concept, featuring a 4-cylinder engine compared to the Z-car's traditional 6-cylinder engine, was eventually thought less than a worthy successor to the line.[12][13]

Fifth generation: Nissan 350Z (Z33)[edit]

Main article: Nissan 350Z

In 1999, the French company Renault bought 44.4% of Nissan and Carlos Ghosn became its chief operating officer, but it would not be until 2001 when Ghosn became CEO that he would tell reporters: "We will build the Z. And we will make it profitable."[14]

On January 8, 2001, Nissan introduced the Z Concept. Much like the previous Z concept, it debuted at the North American International Auto Show and was painted bright orange. The squat, long-hood/short-deck styling resulted from a competition between Nissan's Japanese, European, and American design studios, with the La Jolla, California studio's design being chosen in March 2000. The product planners hoped to avoid the price problems that plagued the last few years of the 300ZX with a target MSRP of $30,000 while using the Porsche Boxster as a benchmark.[15]

In the summer of 2002, the 350Z was released to wide acclaim. It employed a slightly improved version of the 3.5-liter VQ35DE DOHC V6 engine found in multiple Nissan cars at the time, including the Skyline and Pathfinder. Released on July 2002 in Japan at reorganized Nissan Japanese dealerships called Nissan Blue Stage, and August 20, 2002 in the U.S., the 350Z coupé was available in 5 trim packages: '350Z' (Base), 'Enthusiast', 'Performance', 'Touring', and 'Track' editions. In Europe, only the 'Track' trim was available, although it was badged and marketed as '350Z'. This engine initially produced 287 bhp (214 kW) and 274 lb⋅ft (371 N⋅m) torque, but in 2005 was increased to 300 bhp (220 kW) and 260 lb⋅ft (353 N⋅m). Prices started at $26,000 US, well below the $30,000 mark initially set forth by Nissan. Coupled to either a 6-speed manual gearbox or 5-speed automatic (the automatic lost 13 bhp (9.7 kW) in comparison), it was initially available only as a 2-seater hardtop. A convertible model was later introduced in 2004.

The 350Z was available in a selection of seven trim packages, depending on the year: "Base", "Enthusiast", "Performance", "Touring", "Grand Touring", "Track" and "Nismo". The base model 350Z, in comparison to the more expensive packages, did not have a limited-slip differential or a traction control system. Touring and Grand Touring models both featured leather seats, Bose entertainment systems, optional satellite navigation, VDC (vehicle dynamic control), and other user conveniences, while the Grand Touring models also added Rays Engineering forged wheels and the Brembo braking system found on the Track and Nismo models. In 2007, Nissan dropped the "Track" version in favor of the "Nismo" edition, but retained the Brembo brakes, Rays Engineering wheels, and simple interior, but added a larger exhaust and aggressive body kit. The second Nismo edition, released in 2007, included revised camshafts, a Nismo sport tuned exhaust, custom Rays Engineering 18-inch (460 mm) wheels (19 in or 480 mm in rear), front and rear spoilers and rear diffuser, and a Brembo braking system with four-piston front and two-piston rear calipers (with 12.8 in or 330 mm front and 12.7 in or 320 mm rear rotors).

The 2005 35th Anniversary Edition and 2006 350Z were equipped with manual transmissions received a newly revised engine, which increased the redline to 7,000 rpm and increased power to 300 hp (220 kW).

2007-2008 models came with the 3.5L VQ35HR engine with dual intakes and a 7,500 rpm redline, which produced a power output of 306 hp (228 kW), and featured a more linear powerband in addition to the increased torque at lower revolutions. It is widely believed that this model year (2007–08) is the most desired among enthusiasts due to the car featuring a revised transmission (CD009) which solved all previous issues and the new engine architecture (VQ35HR) which provided an overall faster car.

Sixth generation: Nissan 370Z (Z34)[edit]

Main article: Nissan 370Z

On December 30, 2008 the 370Z was introduced as a 2009 model. In June 2009, the second generation 2009 Nismo 370Z debuted.[16] This was followed by the introduction of the 2010 370Z Roadster in late summer of 2009.[17]

The 370Z (Z34) is powered by Nissan's 3.7 liter V6 engine, the VQ37VHR. The power output ranges from 333 to 355 PS (245 to 261 kW; 328 to 350 hp), with peak torque of 37 to 38 kg⋅m (363 to 373 N⋅m; 268 to 275 lbf⋅ft), depending on market and variant. The 370Z has an official 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) time of 5.1 seconds. However, the car has also been tested by Motor Trend Magazine, which reported a 4.7 second 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) with 1-foot (0.3 m) of roll out. Quarter mile times range from 13.1 and 13.6 seconds,[18] thus making the 370Z the fastest production Z. The 370Z is available with either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The six-speed manual is the first production car manual gearbox to feature a system that Nissan refers to as SynchroRev Match, which automatically blips the throttle to match engine and transmission speed during downshifts, thus achieving the same effect as the heel-and-toe downshift technique.

Seventh generation: Nissan Z (Z34)[edit]

Main article: Nissan Z (Z34)

The seventh-generation Nissan Z was first hinted at in 2018, when Alfonso Abaisa, Senior Vice President for Global Design at Nissan, confirmed to Australian automotive magazine WhichCar that a successor to the Nissan 370Z was being developed.[19] On March 19, 2020, Nissan filed a trademark for two new logos: one was its new corporate logo, while the other was a new version of the Z-car logo, further confirming the existence of a new Z-car. Then, on May 28, 2020, as part of its global restructuring plan, named "Nissan Next", Nissan's official YouTube channel released a one minute, twelve-second video showcasing its updated vehicle lineup, including the new Z-car; this video also confirmed the claim that the new Z-car would have retro styling, with its overall shape and circular running lights referencing the 240Z.[20] On September 15, 2020, Nissan revealed the prototype version called the "Nissan Z Proto".[21] The prototype is 4,382 mm (172.5 in) long, which is 142 mm (5.6 in) longer than the current Nissan Z car, the 370Z, and no wider. The production 2022 Nissan Z was revealed on August 17, 2021 in New York City.[22] Debuting as a 2023 model, the Nissan Z is the brand's first Z car without a number in the model name (which in the past had reflected the displacement of the engine). [23]


The first two generations, S30 (240Z/260Z/280Z) and S130 (280ZX) of Z-car were powered by a straight-six engine, (part of the L-series of Nissan engines, which powered most of their vehicles until the early 1980s) with a displacement of 2.4 L in the first incarnation, and increasing to 2.6 L and 2.8 L in the 260Z, and the 280Z and ZX, respectively.

The second generation S130, introduced in 1979 was a complete redesign, retaining only the L28 engine and other driveline components. A turbo option was introduced in 1981, bringing performance surpassing that of the original 240Z.

The third generation, the 300ZX, switched to a 3.0 L V6. There were two generations of the 300ZX: the Z31 from 1984 to 1989, and the Z32 from 1990 to 1996. Both the Z31 and Z32 came in either non-turbo or turbo trims. During the '90s, the cars price continued to elevate and sales continued to fall. Even a major design change in 1998 couldn't save it, and production finally ended in 1999.

While the model names were based on the engine capacity for the US markets, with the 240Z having a 2.4-litre L24 engine and the 260Z having a 2.6-litre L26 engine and so on to the 300ZX 3.0-litre V6, due to Japanese taxation laws relating to engine capacity, some second and third generation (S130 and Z31) Fairlady Z cars were produced for the Japanese domestic market fitted with 2.0L engines. The S130 was available with an L20ET inline 6, while the Z31 had either a RB20DET inline 6 or a VG20ET V6.

In the 2003 model year, Nissan reentered the US sports-car market with the 350Z, powered by the 3.5 L VQ35DE V6 producing 291 PS (214 kW; 287 hp), and styled in an attempt to create a more modern interpretation of the 240Z's lines. It had a new six-speed manual gearbox, and is capable of over 155 mph (249 km/h). The 350Z's engine was updated twice; in 2005 to the VQ35DE RevUp, producing 304 PS (224 kW; 300 hp), and in 2007 to the VQ35HR, producing 315 PS (232 kW; 311 hp).

The 370Z features a 3.7L VQ37VHR V6 producing 333–355 PS (245–261 kW; 328–350 hp). This engine shares much of its architecture with the VQ35HR, the primary differences being the introduction of Nissan's VVEL (Variable Valve Event and Lift) and an increase in overall displacement. Due to the similarities between the two engines, many OEM and aftermarket parts are interchangeable.

The seventh generation Z is powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0L VR30DDTT V6 producing 406 PS (299 kW; 400 hp) and 350 lb-ft of torque mated to a six speed manual transmission complete with an Exedy clutch or a nine-speed automatic Jatco transmission. [24]


The 280ZX proved successful in various classes of racing, particularly in the US. Significant results include:

Xanavi Nissan 350Z GT at the 2006 British International Motor Show

The first generation Zs (240Z/260Z/280Z) proved to be very successful in many forms of racing. The S30s won many SCCA/IMSA championships and even became quite successful in rally and baja races.

The 1983 Electramotive 280ZX Turbo produced over 700 hp (522 kW), and reached a terminal speed of 140 mph (230 km/h) in the standing quarter mile.

The most notable driver to be associated with the car was actor Paul Newman, who raced with the Bob Sharp Racing team. He also helped to promote the car, even by starring in a series of commercials.

In 1984 to 1985 showroom stock racing, the 300ZX captured wins on numerous occasions. The car scored its only Trans Am win in 1986 at Lime Rock by Paul Newman for Bob Sharp Racing.[25]

From 1985 to 1987, the Electramotive-developed GTP ZX-Turbo was raced in the IMSA GT Championship's GTP class and also the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, badged as a Fairlady Z, using a Lola T810 chassis and a VG30ET engine. Following development through 1987, the car would become dominant in IMSA GT in 1988. Additional factory endorsement, combined with a new chassis, transmission and more reliable Goodyear tires contributed to the team's success. The SOHC VG30ET was making upwards of 1,000 hp (700 kW), with a power band that extended from 4000 to 9000 rpm on a single turbo.[26] From 1990 to 1995, Steve Millen drove the twin-turbo 300ZX for Clayton Cunningham Racing. The car dominated the IMSA in its GTO, then later GTS categories due to its newly designed chassis and engine. Millen would rank as the #1 Factory Driver for Nissan for 7 years and earn two IMSA GTS Driving Championships and two IMSA GTS Manufacturer's Championships. Among enthusiasts and the team themselves, the biggest triumph for the race Z32 was the victory in the 24 Hours of Daytona. In the same year at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 300ZX ranked first in the GTS-1 class and 5th overall. In an attempt to level the playing field in the GTS-1 class by reducing the allowable horsepower, the IMSA declared the twin turbo VG engine ineligible.[27] The 1995 GTS 300ZX car would debut with the V8Nissan VH engine at Daytona[28] and would place first in the GTS-1 class at the 12 Hours of Sebring and Mosehead Grand Prix in Halifax.[29]

The JUN-BLITZ Bonneville Z32 holds the E/BMS class land speed record of 419.84 km/h (260.88 mph) set at the 1995 Bonneville Speed Trial. The vehicle was built as a partnership between JUN Auto and BLITZ. This record remains unbroken. In 1990, JUN's first Z32 went 339.2 km/h at their Yatabe test course and hit 373 km/h after some tuning at Bonneville.[30]

The 350Z replaced the Skyline GT-R and Silvia as the car for Nissan's factory and customer teams in the JGTC/Super GT's GT500 class and GT300 class respectively. The GT500 cars used were heavily modified and featured a longer nose and tail (requiring the production of the Type-E homologation special), carbon fiber bodywork, and a tube chassis. In 2004, Nismo won the GT500 championship. Until the 2007 season, the car was powered by a VQ30DETT V6. In order to increase competitiveness, however, a new 4.5L V8 powerplant has been developed. The 350Z, with slightly more pedestrian modifications also competes in the GT300 class (having started there even before the Skyline GT-Rs were replaced) by teams such as Endless Sports and Mola. In 2003 Hasemi Sports won the GT300 championship with the 350Z. In 2008 season, the 350Zs were all replaced by Nissan GT-Rs in the GT500 class, but they have continued to be used in the GT300 class as the GT-Rs exceed the horsepower limits which make it impossible to participate. Thus, two 350Zs competed in the series and MOLA won both Drivers' and Teams' championships in the GT300 class. Two years later, Hasemi Sports won the 2010 GT300 title again before its team's withdrawal of the series in the following season,[31] as another 350Z team MOLA also moved up to GT500 class earlier in the preseason time, it marked the first full absence of Nissan vehicles in GT300 class since the establishment of JGTC in 1994.

The Z33 is also popular in import drag racing; one fielded by Performance Motorsport in the NHRA Sports Compact series, with twin turbo claims to put out over 1,700 bhp (1,268 kW; 1,724 PS) and achieved 8.33 quarter mile time with its best speed of 176.72 mph (284.40 km/h).[citation needed] Another Z33 built by Injected Performance holds the record as the highest horsepower, street legal Z33 and highest horsepower single turbo VQ35DE with a quarter mile time of 8.80 with a speed of 163 mph (262 km/h). This car was also featured on the March 2008 cover of Turbo Magazine. Lazcano Racing's 370Z is powered by a Nissan VG30DETT engine and has recorded a 1/4 mile time of 6.0 at over 226MPH.


ZCON is an annual Z-Car convention that is held around the United States of America each year (since 1988). It is considered the largest annual gathering of Z car clubs and enthusiasts in America, sponsored by Nissan. The convention is put together each year by a host club and supported by the ZCCA (Z Car Club Association).


  1. ^"NISSAN NEXT: From A to Z". Nissan. Retrieved 18 June 2020.
  2. ^"Prototyper utan framtid". Klassiker. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  3. ^"The Odometer"(PDF). The Official Newsletter of the Z Car Club of Colorado Established 1983. 2009.
  4. ^"Datsun 280ZX - HowStuffWorks". HowStuffWorks.
  5. ^"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2007-05-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ - About
  7. ^AE info
  8. ^The SS page
  9. ^TwinTurbo.NET: Nissan 300ZX forum
  10. ^"Is the sun setting on Nissan's legendary Z car?". NYDailyNews.
  11. ^Nissan Z Concept Goes 'Back to Basics'
  12. ^Concept: The Nissan Z
  13. ^"New Cars, Used Cars, Car Reviews -".
  14. ^ - First Drives - 2003 Nissan 350Z (12/2001)Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^2003 Nissan Z - First Drive Review / Japanese Performance / High Performance / Hot Lists / Reviews / Car and Driver - Car And Driver
  16. ^"All-New 2009 Nissan NISMO 370Z Offers Racing-Inspired Performance and Style". Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. 2008-04-07. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  17. ^"All-New 2010 Nissan 370Z Roadster Adds Open-Air Excitement; Features Power Auto-Lock Top Design". Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. 2008-04-07. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2009-07-09.
  18. ^Jason Udy (2017). "2017 NISSAN 370Z COUPE FIRST TEST REVIEW".
  19. ^"Nissan Officially Confirms New Z Car Is Being Developed". Retrieved 2020-09-04.
  20. ^"NISSAN NEXT: From A to Z". YouTube. May 28, 2020. Retrieved September 3, 2020.
  21. ^Ramey, Jay (2020-09-15). "Nissan Z Proto Points the Way to a New Sports Car by Looking Back". Autoweek.
  22. ^
  23. ^Nishimoto, Alex (2021-08-18). "Nissan Z Expert Review". MotorTrend. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  24. ^Golden, Conner (2021-08-18). "2023 Nissan Z First Look: No Numbers, Just Twin Turbos". MotorTrend. Retrieved 2021-08-20.
  25. ^Matt Stone, Preston Lerner (2014-03-15). Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman. Motorbooks, 2014. ISBN .
  26. ^RedZ31 Dyno Charts. "Electromotive VG30ET Power Band". Retrieved 2007-06-20.
  27. ^Konik, Michael (1995). "On the Edge". Cigar Aficionado Online. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  28. ^STILLEN. "Racing Heritage 2". Archived from the original on February 10, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  29. ^WSPR Racing. "IMSA 1995". Archived from the original on December 30, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  30. ^Tanaka Industrial Co., Ltd. (1997–2005). "JUN Demonstration Cars". Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  31. ^Hasemi Motor Sport/ハセミモータースポーツ. "Hasemi Motor Sport/ハセミモータースポーツ". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fairlady Z.

Nissan S30

Japanese sports car produced 1969 to 1978

Main article: Nissan Z-car

Motor vehicle

The Nissan S30 (sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z, then later as the 260Z and 280Z) is the first generation of ZGT 3-door two-seat coupés, produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan from 1969 to 1978. One of the most successful sports car lines ever produced, the trend-setting S30 was designed by a team led by Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan's Sports Car Styling Studio.[1]

Seeking to compete head-to-head with established European sports cars, Datsun priced the new 240Z within $200 of the British MGB-GT in the United States, a five-year-old design that showed its age. The 240Z's sleek styling, modern engineering, relatively low price, and impressive performance struck a major chord with the public. Positive response from both buyers and the motoring press was immediate, and dealers soon had long waiting lists for the "Z".

As a "halo" car, the 240Z broadened the acceptance of Japanese car-makers beyond their econobox image. Datsun's growing dealer network—compared to limited production imported sports cars manufactured by Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat—ensured both easy purchase and ready maintenance.

All variants of the S30 have four-wheel independent suspension consisting of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Nissan Laurel C30) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard.

The 240Z used twin SU-style Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors. These were replaced on the 260Z with Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors beginning with model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, resulting in diminished overall performance. A Bosch-designed L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection was added to US market 280Zs in 1975 to compensate.

Continuing through the 1975–1978 model years, markets outside of the United States (and Japan, which only offered the 2-liter engine from 1974) still received the 260Z coupé and 2+2. The S30 240Z is unrelated to the later 240SX, which is sold as the Silvia in Japan.

Fairlady Z[edit]

Motor vehicle

Nissan Fairlady Z
1977 Nissan Fairlady Z.jpg

1977 Nissan Fairlady Z (S31)

Also calledNissan Fairlady Z
Body style3-door coupé
  • 1990 cc S20DOHC24vI6 (PS30)
  • 1998 cc L20 I6 (S30/GS30)
  • 2393 cc L24 I6 (HS30)
  • 2,305 mm (90.7 in) (2-seater)
  • 2,605 mm (102.6 in) (2+2)
  • 4,115 mm (162.0 in)
  • 4,305 mm (169.5 in) (240ZG)
  • 4,425 mm (174.2 in) (2+2)
  • 1,630 mm (64.2 in)
  • 1,690 mm (66.5 in) (240ZG)
  • 1,650 mm (65.0 in) (2+2)
Height1,285–1,305 mm (50.6–51.4 in)
Curb weight975–1,205 kg (2,150–2,657 lb)
SuccessorNissan Fairlady Z (S130)

The Fairlady Z was introduced in late 1969 as a 1970 model, with the L20 2.0-litre straight-six SOHC engine, rear-wheel drive, and a stylish coupe body. The engine, based on the Datsun 510's four-cylinder, produced 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) JIS and came with a four- or a five-speed manual transmission. For 1973, power of the carburetted engine dropped to 125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp) to meet stricter regulations.[2] In Japan, the Fairlady was exclusive to Nissan Japanese dealerships called Nissan Bluebird Stores. Japanese buyers could also get the L24-engined Fairlady 240Z model (HS30), although the larger engine placed it in a considerably higher tax category. The Japanese-spec 2.4-litre engine produces a claimed 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) JIS at 5600 rpm but was discontinued in 1973 as sales had dropped considerably as a result of the fuel crisis, and so until the August 1978 introduction of the Fairlady 280Z only two-liter Fairladys were available.

1974 Nissan Fairlady Z 2+2 (GS30)

When export models changed over to the larger 2.6-liter 260Z in 1974, only 2-liter models remained available to Japanese buyers. A Fairlady 260Z had been planned for release, but the impact of the oil crisis stopped the model, although the 260Z was available in Okinawa (which drove on the right side of the road until 1978). The Fairlady Z received all the changes as applied to the export models, including the addition of a long-wheelbase 2+2 model. Introduced in January 1974, this received the GS30 chassis code. In 1975 the L20 engine gained fuel injection to meet new emissions standards (A-S30, A-GS30) and once again provided 130 PS (96 kW; 128 hp) JIS.[3] At the end of July 1976 the car received the NAPS system, including an EGR system, to meet the stricter yet emissions standards in effect for this year, bringing with it a change in model codes to S31 (C-S31/C-GS31).[4] At the same time, the more luxurious Fairlady Z-T model was introduced[4] - this was strictly an equipment level and did not include a T-bar roof, which was first seen on the succeeding generation Fairlady.

Fairlady ZG[edit]

1972 Nissan Fairlady 240ZG in Grand Prix Maroon

The Japan-only HS30-H Nissan Fairlady 240ZG was released in Japan in October 1971 to homologate the 240Z for Group 4 racing. Differences between the Fairlady ZG and an export-market Datsun 240Z include an extended fiberglass "aero-dyna" nose, wider over-fenders riveted to the body, a rear spoiler, acrylic glass headlight covers and fender-mounted rear-view mirrors. The ZG's better aerodynamics allowed it to reach a top speed of 210 km/h (130 mph), five more than the regular Fairlady 240Z (automatics' top speeds were another 5 km/h lower).[5]

The Fairlady ZG was available in three colours: Grand Prix Red, Grand Prix White, and Grand Prix Maroon. The "G" in Fairlady ZG stands for "Grande." Although the ZG was not sold in the US and was never sold outside Japan, in order for it to be eligible for competition in the US, Nissan sold the nose kit as a dealer's option which is known as the "G-nose". With the nose added, these 240Zs are often referred to as 240ZGs outside of Japan.

Fairlady Z432[edit]

Packaging the 160 PS (118 kW; 158 hp) S20 engine (originally designed by the former Prince engineers) from the Skyline GT-R created a faster Fairlady. "Z432" referred to 4 valves per cylinder, 3 Mikuni carburetors, and 2 camshafts. The model code is PS30. Approximately 420 were built.[6] Some Z432s were used by the police in Japan.

Fairlady Z432R[edit]

A Japan-only model Fairlady Z equipped with the twin cam 2.0 L inline six-cylinder "S20" engine shared with the KPGC10 Skyline GT-R was released in the Japanese domestic market (JDM) for homologation purposes (to enable its use as a rally car). The Z432R were all painted orange with black aluminum wheels and a low luster black hood. Z432R had lighter front guards, doors, and bonnet, as well as further engine enhancements over the Z432.

In January 2020 a 1970 Z432R sold at auction in Japan for a record A$1.17 million, about US$837,000.[7]


Motor vehicle

The 1970 240Z was introduced to the American market by Yutaka Katayama, president of Nissan Motors USA operations, widely known as "Mister K". The early cars from 1969 to mid-1971 had some subtle differences compared to late-71 to 1973 cars. The most visible difference is; these early cars had a chrome 240Z badge on the sail pillar, and two horizontal vents in the rear hatch below the glass molding providing flow through ventilation. In mid-1971, there were production changes, including exterior and interior colors, was restyling of the sail pillar emblems were with just the letter Z placed in a circular vented emblem, and the vents were eliminated from the hatch panel of the car, due to complains of exhaust being circulated into the car. Design changes for the US model 240Z occurred throughout production but were not always reflected in the JDM Fairlady if they were specific to federal requirements, including interior modifications for the 1972 model year and a change in the location of the bumper over-riders, as well as the addition of some emission control devices and the adoption of a new style of emissions reducing carburetors for the 1973 model year.

1971 240Z interior with the rare blue upholstery

The 1970 models were introduced in October 1969, received the L24 2.4-liter engine with a manual choke and a four-speed manual. A less common three-speed automatic transmission was optional from 1971 on, and had a "Nissan full automatic" badge. Most export markets received the car as the "240Z", with slightly differing specifications depending on the various market needs.

In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number two on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s.


  • Engine: 2,393 cc (2.4 L; 146.0 cu in) L24inline-six, cast iron block, alloy head, two valves per cylinder, seven-bearingcrankshaft, Direct Acting OHC, compression ratio 9.0:1; Maximum recommended engine speed 7,000 rpm.[9]
    • Bore X stroke: 83 mm × 73.7 mm (3.27 in × 2.90 in)
  • Fuel system: Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HJG 46W 1.75 in (44 mm) SU-typecarburetors[9]
  • Power: 151 hp (153 PS; 113 kW) at 5,600 rpm (SAE gross), 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp) DIN at 5,600 rpm[10]
  • Torque: 146 lb⋅ft (198 N⋅m) at 4,400 rpm (SAE gross), 19.5 kg⋅m (191 N⋅m; 141 lb⋅ft) at 4,800 rpm (DIN)[10]
  • Transmission: Four-speed manual, five-speed manual, or three-speed automatic (after September 1970)
  • Final drive ratios:
  • Brakes:
    • Front: 10.7 in (272 mm) discs
    • Rear: 9.0 in (229 mm) x 1.6 in (41 mm) drums
  • Suspension:
  • Steering: Rack and pinion,[9] 2.7 turns lock to lock
  • Wheels: 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175SR14 tires
  • Top speed: 125 mph (201 km/h)
  • 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h): 8.0 s
  • Typical fuel consumption: 21 mpg‑US (11 L/100 km; 25 mpg‑imp)

World Rally Championship - round victories[edit]

In 1973, a 240Z, in the hands of Shekhar Mehta, won the 21st East African Safari Rally.[9]

  • 1970-71 Datsun 240Z Series I (US Model) in color code 907 racing green

  • 1971.5-72 Datsun 240Z Series II (US Model) in color code 113 green metallic

  • 1971 East African Safari rally car


Motor vehicle

Datsun 260Z
Datsun 260Z am Strassenrand.jpg

Datsun 260Z 2-seater

  • 1974-1978 (Global)
  • 1974 (US)
Body style
Engine2.6 L L26I6
  • 2,305 mm (90.7 in)
  • 2,605 mm (102.6 in) (2+2)
Width1,626 mm (64.0 in)[11]
Height1,285 mm (50.6 in)[11]
Curb weight
PredecessorDatsun 240Z
SuccessorDatsun 280Z

The 260Z was sold in the United States for the 1974 model year only, but was available in other countries until 1978 (aside from Japan, where this model was never regularly available except for in Okinawa). The engine was enlarged to 2.6 L by lengthening its stroke bringing with it the new model code RS30. In the US, federal emissions regulations forced a reduction in ignition timing and compression ratio, resulting in a lower power output of 139 hp (104 kW) SAE net for the 260Z despite the additional displacement, whereas in other countries the power output increased to 165 hp (123 kW). There was also a 1974.5 model sold through the second half of 1974 in the US that had the full 165 hp with the addition of the larger 5 mph safety bumpers, that would become the standard for the 280Z.

A four-speed or 5 speed (non US) manual remained standard equipment, with a three-speed automatic transmission optional.

early 1974 Datsun 260Z 2-seater (US)

A 2+2 model built on a 300 mm (11.8 in) longer wheelbase was introduced, with larger opening quarter panel windows and a slightly notched roofline. The 2+2 looked largely identical inside (aside from the rear seat and its associated seat belt reels), but did receive a carpeted transmission tunnel rather than the quilted vinyl material used on the two-seater.[13] The rear side windows on the 2+2 were push-out units, to add ventilation for rear seat occupants.[13]

The 260Z claimed a few updates and improvements over the 240Z. The climate controls were more sensibly laid out and easier to work, and those cars with air conditioning now had the A/C system integrated into the main climate control panel. There was also additional stiffness in the chassis due to a redesign of the chassis rails which were larger and extended further back than previous models. A rear sway bar was added as well. The 260Z debuted a redesigned dashboard and console, as well as new seat trim, and door panels for the interior. The tail lights were updated, moving the back up lights from the main tail light housing to the back panel. Early 1974 US 260Z models had bumpers that resembled those of the earlier 240Z, though increased slightly in size, pushed away from the body somewhat, and wearing black rubber bumper guards rather that the previous chrome bumper guards with rubber strips. These early cars still had the front turn signals located below the bumpers. Late 1974 U.S. 260Z models (often referred to as 1974.5 models) carried the heavier bumpers that would remain on the 1975-76 model years of the 280Z so as to be in compliance with United States bumper legislation in 1973. These late cars had the front turn signals relocated to the outer edges of the front grill, above the bumper.


  • Engine: 2.6 L (160 cu in) L26 I6, cast-iron block, alloy head, two valve per cylinder, seven-bearing crankshaft, single overhead camshaft[9]
    • Displacement: 2,565 cc (156.5 cu in)
    • Bore: 83.0 mm (3.27 in)
    • Stroke: 79.0 mm (3.11 in)
    • Compression ratio: 8.8:1[14]
  • Fuel system: Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HMB 46W[9] 1.75 in (44 mm) SU-type carburetors
  • Power: 162 hp (121 kW) at 5,600 rpm (SAE gross); 139 hp (104 kW) at 5,200 rpm (SAE net)[14]
  • Torque: 157 lb⋅ft (213 N⋅m) at 4,400 rpm (SAE gross); 137 lb⋅ft (186 N⋅m) at 4,400 rpm (SAE net)
  • Transmission: five-speed or four-speed manual or three-speed automatic
  • Brakes:
    • Front: 10.7 inches (272 mm) discs front[9]
    • Rear: 9.0 inches (229 mm) X 1.6 inches (41 mm) drums rear, servo assisted
      • Total swept area: 393.7 sq in (2,540 cm2)[9]
  • Suspension:
  • Steering: rack and pinion, 2.8 turns lock to lock[9]
  • Wheels/ tires: 5.5 by 14 in (140 by 360 mm) pressed steel wheels with 195VR14 radial tyres[9]
  • Top speed: 127 mph (204 km/h)[9]
  • 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h): 8.0 sec[citation needed]
  • Fuel consumption: 20 to 28 mpg‑US (11.8 to 8.4 L/100 km; 24 to 34 mpg‑imp)
  • Engine oil (sump): 5.1 L (1.1 imp gal; 1.3 US gal)
  • Tare weight: 1,295 kg (2,855 lb) (2+2 Automatic)[14]


Motor vehicle

1978 Datsun 280Z 2+2 in color code 611 wine red metallic

Nissan released the Datsun 280Z model for the North American market in the 1975 model year. In a further effort to keep the S30 models sporting in the face of increasingly stringent U.S. emission and safety requirements, engine size was again increased, this time to 2.8 liters. The L26 engine was bored out 3 mm (0.12 in) to create the L28, and a Bosch L-Jetronicfuel injection system was added. Canadian versions were uniquely equipped without the anti-smog components mandatory in the States. The model code is HS30, the same as for the original 240Z.

The 1975 and 1976 models continued to be fitted with the U.S. federally-required 5 mph (8 km/h) impact absorbing bumpers that had been introduced for the mid-1974 model year of the 260Z. These bumpers were smooth surfaced, and blended into smooth black rubber extensions as they met the body of the car. The 1977 and 1978 models received bumpers with recessed channels added that blended into corrugated- or accordion-style black rubber extension trim. Also new for the 1977 model year, 280Zs no longer received the full-size spare tire, and instead had a "space saver" spare and a larger fuel tank. This resulted in a raised rear deck area made of fiberboard, reducing cargo space. In late 1976 and for most 1977–78 models, an optional five-speed manual transmission was available alongside the four-speed manual and the three-speed automatic options. It included a "5-speed" emblem on the left bottom edge of the rear hatch. For 1977 there was also an update from the charcoal painted hubcap style (with a chrome Z floating in the amber center emblems) to a hubcap that resembled an alloy wheel, bearing a center cap with a chrome Z floating in a black circle.

In 1977 and 1978 respectively, Datsun offered two special edition models. The "Zap" edition was offered in 1977 as a "special decor package". Zap cars were finished in "sunshine yellow" paint, and sported black stripes down the center and sides, with yellow, red, and orange chevrons at the front ends of the stripes. An estimated 1,000 "Zap Z" cars were offered in 1977. The "Zap Z" model was also used as the pace car in the 1977 Long Beach Grand Prix. The Black Pearl edition (produced in 1978) came with black pearlescent paint and a "special appearance package" (SAP), which consisted of dual racing mirrors, rear window louvers, and unique red and silver striping. It has been estimated that each United States dealer was allocated one Black Pearl edition to sell, though due to high demand some dealers reportedly received additional allocation. It is estimated 750 to 1,500 of these cars were ultimately produced, however the exact number remains unknown.

Both the two-seater and 2+2 280Z coupes remained available throughout the 1975–1978 model year run. The S30 series was replaced for 1979 by the Nissan S130.


  • Engine: L28E I6, cast-iron block, alloy head, seven-bearing crankshaft, single overhead camshaft
    • Displacement: 2.8 L (168.0 cu in; 2,753 cc)
    • Bore: 86.1 mm (3.39 in)
    • Stroke: 79.0 mm (3.11 in)
    • Fuel system: electric fuel pump, Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection
    • Compression ratio: 8.3:1
    • Power: 170 hp (127 kW) at 5,600 rpm (SAE gross)
    • Torque: 163 lb⋅ft (221 N⋅m) at 4,400 rpm
    • Transmission: four-speed manual, five-speed manual, three-speed automatic
    • Final drive ratio: 3.55:1


Bob Sharp Racing 1970 Datsun 240Z

The Z was very successful in SCCA racing in the 1970s: Bob Sharp Racing out of Wilton, Connecticut with Sharp, Elliot Forbes-Robinson and later Paul Newman driving; and Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) in the western US with John Morton driving a #46 240Z to the SCCA C Production national title in 1970 and 1971. Other drivers, such as Clearwater Florida (and later Maryland) racer Don Kearney had much success with the Z-car between 1970 and 1978. The Z and Datsun 510 are credited as catalyst for the US Japanese import performance parts industry. Nissan also supported and was associated with Bob Bondurant's race driving school from its inception.

In 2013 Nissan claimed its 97th SCCA national championship victory with Greg Ira at the wheel of his orange #2 RevTech 240Z.[15] On his way to his championship Ira set several road course records in SCCA's E Production class, beginning in 2006, including:

Ira was awarded SCCA's prestigious Kimberly Cup in 2008.[18] Previous Kimberly Cup recipients include Bob Holbert, Roger Penske, Mark Donohue, and Peter Revson.

On September 27, 2015, Greg Ira won his second (and Nissan's 98th) SCCA National Championship, in his EP2 Revtech/ 240Z, at Daytona International Speedway.[19]

Relaunch attempts[edit]

From 1997 to 2002 Nissan did not offer the Z-car line outside of Japan, where the Fairlady Z (Z32) remained available until 2000. In 1998, Nissan launched a program to bring back the Z-car line by first purchasing original 240Zs, then restoring them to factory specifications, and finally selling them to dealerships for $24,000. This was an effort to keep Z-car interest alive. Nissan over-estimated the market for the cars and low demand (and the high price) meant that less than fifty cars were re-manufactured and sold. Furthermore, in 1999, a concept car was shown to the public in a plan to return to the fundamentals that made the 240Z a market success.

See also[edit]



  1. ^Buckley, Martin; Rees, Chris (1998). The World Encyclopedia of Cars. Hermes House. ISBN .
  2. ^自動車ガイドブック: Japanese motor vehicles guide book 1973/1974 (in Japanese), 20, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1973-10-30, p. 99
  3. ^自動車ガイドブック [Automobile Guide Book 1975~76] (in Japanese), 22, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1975-10-31, p. 122, 0602-509072-2228
  4. ^ ab自動車ガイドブック [Automobile Guide Book 1976/1977] (in Japanese), 23, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1976-10-20, p. 86, 0053-760023-3400
  5. ^自動車ガイドブック: Japanese motor vehicles guide book 1972—73 (in Japanese), 19, Japan: Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association, 1972-10-23, p. 95
  6. ^Zurschmeide, Jeff (June 2015). "1970 Nissan Fairlady Z 432". Sports Car Market. Vol. 27 no. 6. p. 75.
  7. ^Turner, Mandy (20 January 2020). "Old Datsun sells for $1.1 million, breaks auction records in Japan". Pty Limited. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  8. ^ abcd"Datsun specifications » 1969 Datsun 240Z". Carfolio. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  9. ^ abcdefghijklmnoNorthey, Tom, ed. (1974). "Datsun". World of Automobiles. 5. London: Orbis. p. 498.
  10. ^ abIsakson, Börje (ed.), Alla Bilar -74 [All Cars 1974] (in Swedish), Stockholm, Sweden: Specialtidningsförlaget AB, p. 72, ISBN 
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  12. ^ ab"Datsun specifications » 1973 Datsun 260Z 2+2". Carfolio. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
  13. ^ abWakefield, p. 59
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  15. ^"The Sports Car Club of America - Ira Declared EP National Champion At Runoffs". Archived from the original on November 9, 2014.
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  • Datsun Z: From Fairlady to 280Z, Brian Long, Motorbooks International 1998 (ISBN 1-901295-02-8)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Datsun S30.

Fairlady nissan

Origin of the Fairlady name

The Fairlady pedigree is intimately connected with the development of the sports car in Japan. In 1961, the then president of Nissan, Katsuji Kawamata, was in the US when he chanced to hear of the Broadway musical "My Fair Lady", which was enjoying a long run. At the time, Nissan was planning to launch an improved version of the Datsun sports car (SPL213) in North America, and the President thought it would be a good idea to name the car "Fairlady" in the hope that it would prove to be similarly popular.
The Fairlady’s predecessor, the Datsun Sports (S211), had indeed been popular when exhibited two years earlier, in 1959, Los Angeles Imported Car Show. Exports to the US had just started, so the new name given to this improved version helped with the promotion, and as a result there was a surge in sales.
The SPL213 - the first-generation Fairlady, with a 1,189cc engine (60PS) - was launched in 1961. The SP310, often mistaken as the first-generation model, was actually introduced in the following year; it had a 1,488cc engine (71PS) and cost 850,000 yen. The Fairlady Z with a closed body was launched in 1969.

Development of the Datsun Sports S211 was completed in the summer of 1958, and it was launched in June 1959. It comprised the chassis of the Datsun 211 (988cc, 34PS engine) with an open 4-seater body made from FRP. The top speed was 115km/h.

1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432

The first-generation Fairlady Z, launched in November 1969 (announced in October) was available in the high-power 432 model equipped with the same 6-cylinder in line DOHC 24-valve S20engine (160PS) as the Skyline GT-R (PGC10). The name ’432’ refers to 4 valves, 3 carburetors and 2 camshafts. Magnesium wheels were fitted as standard. Announced in October, launched in November (S30, HS30 also).

1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 4321969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432

In Detail

engineS20 Inline-6
displacement1989 cc / 121.4 in³
power119.3 kw / 160 bhp @ 7000 rpm
specific output80.44 bhp per litre
bhp/weight153.85 bhp per tonne
torque177 nm / 130.5 ft lbs @ 5600 rpm
front tires6.95H-14
rear tires6.95H-14
front brakesDiscs
f brake sizemm / in
rear brakesDrums
r brake sizemm / in
front wheelsF 35.6 x 14.0 cm / 14 x 5.5 in
rear wheelsR 35.6 x 14.0 cm / 14 x 5.5 in
f suspensionMacPherson Struts
r suspensionMacPherson Struts
curb weight1040 kg / 2293 lbs
wheelbase2305 mm / 90.7 in
front track1355 mm / 53.3 in
rear track1345 mm / 53.0 in
length4115 mm / 162.0 in
width1630 mm / 64.2 in
height1290 mm / 50.8 in
transmission5-Speed Manual
gear ratios:1

Auction Sales History

1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1972 Nissan Fairlady Z 432 – sold for $152,500
Imported From Japan. Rare And Sought-after 432 Variant Restored Using Authentic And Original Parts. Upgraded Aluminum Radiator. Added Air Conditioning. Original Factory Colors. Tool Kit Included. Excellent Running Condition Cover And Feature Vehicle For JDM Magazine. First Registered In Japan In 1972. Titled In U.S. As ‘1972 Nissan Fairlady Z432’. Auction Source: ‘Rolling Sculpture’ 2015 NYC by Keno Brothers

1969 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
1970 Nissan Fairlady Z 432 PS30-00092 – sold for $253,000
This car was imported from Japan in 2013 and had been acquired, incredibly, from its first and only owner. At the time, the Nissan was still registered on its original Shinagawa license plates from September 1970. Save for one repaint in its original color, it has never been taken apart, and it remains in remarkably original condition throughout. Everything continues to function as it did when it left the factory, including the original radio, clock, and heater. Additionally, the car includes its original Nissan tool roll, spare tire, and foot-well flashlight, and it also features the optional rear spoiler and desirable factory magnesium wheels. Auction Source: 2015 Amelia Island by RM Sotheby’s



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