Early Datsun-Nissan Z Cars
First in a Series –
In This Issue – The 240 and 260Z
The Nissan Z-cars are a series of sports cars that have been manufactured by Nissan, in seven generations since 1969.
The original Z was sold in October 1969 in Japan, as the Nissan Fairlady Z. It was shown first at Nissan Exhibition dealerships that previously sold the Nissan Bluebird. For export it was marketed as the Datsun 240Z. The 240Z was sold in the US beginning in December 1969 as a 1970 model. It was available through 1973. The 260Z replaced the 240 in 1974 and was a one-year only car. In our next issue, we discuss the 208Z and 280 ZX.
Nissan has manufactured six generations of Z-cars, with the most recent, the Nissan Z. The well known Nissan 370Z, was in production since 2009.
The Z-cars are praised for their looks, reliability, performance, and affordability. While every Z car has been sold in Japan as the Fairlady Z, elsewhere it was sold under the names: Datsun 240-280, Nissan 280 ZX, Nissan S30, Nissan S130, Nissan 300ZX, Nissan 350Z, Nissan 370Z and lately, just Nissan Z.
The 240Z and 260Z
In Print Media
Nissan created Press Materials, Brochures, and Print Advertising specifically for each market where the car was sold. US materials focused on the sporting nature and the affordability of the car.
Z Car Brochures and Studies
- Z Car Print Advertisements
In Road Tests
We have two introductory road tests of the Datsun 24Z. In both cases, it was obvious that Nissan had the market gauged perfectly. It was an was an exciting and reasonably priced sports car at a time when US brands were struggling with emissions and other issues.
1970 Datsun 240Z Road Test – Car & Driver magazine, June 1970.
1970 Datsun 240Z Road Test – Road and Track magazine, April 1970.
We will continue to search for More 240, 260 and 280Z road tests, and bring you up to date as we discover them.
For More Info
The Z was very successful in SCCA racing in the 1970s: Bob Sharp Racing and Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE) were the most prominent. BRE took the 240Z to the SCCA C Production national title in 1970 and 1971. The Z and Datsun 510 are credited as catalyst for the US Japanese import performance parts industry:
“The (BRE) 240Z had suddenly gone from non-starter to the fastest C Production car on the grid. First-place points for the final few races came rolling in like dollar signs on a Vegas slot machine, guaranteeing a starting position at Road Atlanta for the Runoffs.”
Learn About the 240Z’s I-6 Engine – Click HERE!
The 1970 Datsun 240Z Introductory Brochure
The Datsun 240Z reached our shores in Late November 1969. Contrary to many stories, the car and the brochure was never intended to be called “Fair Lady” here as it was in Japan and no late night decal or logo changes were necessary. In fact, Nissan was likely relieved to not label it Fair Lady – in case it failed in the U.S. market.
See the entire 240Z Brochure HERE – 1970 240Z Brochure
Nissan Documented the Specifications of their Models in English Language Service Manuals.
Recognizing the importance of trusted repair and service of this new model in the U.S. Nissan delivered well written service manuals to the their state-side dealerships. (A typical manual cover page is shown at right).
You can see these technical manuals HERE:
PLEASE NOTE: These files are from poor quality microfilm and the image quality is less than perfect, but they are usable for servicing your 240Z.