The Nissan Z is the sports car line of Nissan. It started as an upgraded version of the Datsun line and has since then expanded to include iconic vehicles such as the 240Z, 300ZX, 350Z, and the current model the 370Z. Nissan Z’s are currently the record holders for being the best selling sports car series of all time with over 2 million cars sold.
The Nissan Z tale begins in the 1960’s when they were trying to develop a new sports car prototype with Yamaha. After some time together Nissan decided they wanted more than the Yamaha DOHC 2.0-liter engine could provide and scrapped the idea. Yamaha then took the Engine to Toyota, which would soon after result in the Toyota 2000GT. This just spiked the need for Nissan’s own sports car.
Prototype work began in 1966, and finally production of the new Nissan Z car started on October 1969, making 2 separate versions- one for the japanese market, and one for the US market. The Japanese version was released under the name Nissan Fairlady Z , the US as the Datsun 240Z which came equipped with a 2.4L inline-6 engine boasting a whole 151 HP (actually kind of alot in those days). The 240Z sold over 45,000 units through ’71 and over 50,000 and 40,000 in 1972 and 1973. The 240Z was quickly becoming one of the fastest selling sports cars in the US market.
In 1974 the 260Z was released and featured an increased engine displacement of 2.6L. Though with the new displacement the 260Z lost overall horsepower due to parts being replaced with lighter less durable part to meet now more restricted emissions regulations in the US.
Only a year later Nissan released the 280Z (which is different from the 2nd generation 280ZX) in the US and added even more engine displacement. This version also brought the introduction to the Bosch fuel injection, which replaced the original carburetors. This change brought a power increase to 170 HP.
Stay tuned next week for the introduction of the second and third generations of the Nissan Z lines…