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Nissan Fairlady Z
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Datsun 240Z
Datsun 260Z
Datsun 280Z
Production 1969–1978
Assembly Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan
Predecessor Datsun Sports
Successor Nissan 280ZX
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 2.4 L L24
2.6 L L26
2.8 L L28 SOHC I6
Transmission(s) 3-speed automatic (1971 on)
4-speed manual
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 90.7 in (2,304 mm)(2 seater)
Length 162.8 in (4,135 mm)(2 seater)
Width 64.1 in (1,628 mm)
Curb weight 2,355 lb (1,068 kg)
Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo
North American-spec Datsun 240Z
Datsun 260Z 2+2 (European nomenclature)

The Nissan S30 (sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z and later as the 260Z and 280Z) was the first generation of Z sporty 2 seater and 2+2 coupes produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan from 1969 to 1978. It was designed by a team led by Mr. Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan's Sports Car Styling Studio. HLS30 was the designation of the left-hand drive model and HS30 for the right-hand drive model.

The Fairlady Z was introduced in late 1969 as a 1970 model, with the L20A 2.0 litre straight-6 SOHC engine, rear wheel drive, and a stylish coupe body. The engine, based on the Datsun 510's 4-cylinder, produced 150 hp (112 kW) and came with a 5-speed manual transmission (240Z models received the L24 2.4 litre engine and a 4-speed manual). A less common 3-speed automatic transmission was optional from 1971 on, and had a "Nissan Full Automatic" badge. A 4-wheel independent suspension consisted of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Datsun Laurel C30) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard.

The 1970 240Z was introduced to the American market by Yutaka Katayama, president of Nissan Motors USA operations, widely known as Mr. K. The early 1970 model 240Z had a chrome "240Z" badge on the B-pillar quarter panel. Two vents were included in the rear hatch below the glass molding. In mid-1971 the B-pillar side badges were restyled with the letter Z vent, and the vents were eliminated from the hatch. Design changes for the U.S. model occurred throughout production and are described Design and Manufacturing Changes to the U.S. Spec.

The 240Z and 260Z used twin Hitachi one-barrel side-draft SU-like carburetors. The carburetors were changed beginning with model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, but the earlier carburetors were far superior for performance. Fuel injection (L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, designed by Bosch) was added for the 280Z in 1975 for the US. This was primarily in order to cope with the difficulty faced in getting enough power using carburetors while still meeting US emissions regulations.

Due to its relatively low price compared to other foreign sports cars of the time (Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, etc.), it became popular in the United States and was a major success for the Nissan Motor Corporation, which at the time sold cars in North America under the name Datsun. The 240Z also broadened the image of Japanese car-makers beyond their econobox success. The Z was very successful in racing in the 1970s: Connecticut's Bob Sharp as well as Bob Bondurant (Brock Racing Enterprises-BRE) racing team with John Morton driving a Datsun 510 number 46 were particularly successful. Clearwater Florida (and later Maryland) racer Don Kearney had much success with the Z car between 1970 and 1978. The Z is also credited as a catalyst for the import performance parts industry. To keep Zcar interest alive, Nissan had a 1998 program where they purchased original 240Zs, professionally restored them, and sold them at dealerships for $24,000.



In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number two on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s. Unfortunately, the steel used in the body rusted quite early; outside of salt-free locations like Arizona, few 240Zs remained on the road longer than a decade.



  • Engine: 2,393 cc (146.0 cu in) L24 I-6, cast-iron block, alloy head, seven-bearing crankshaft, single overhead cam, 9.0:1 compression; Maximum recommended engine speed 7000 rpm.
    • Bore: 83.0 mm (3.27 in)
    • Stroke: 73.7 mm (2.90 in)
  • Fuel system: Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HJG 46W 1.75 in (44.4 mm) SU-type carburetors
  • Power: 151 hp (113 kW) at 5600 rpm (SAE gross)
  • Torque: 146 ft·lbf (198 N·m) at 4400 rpm (SAE gross)
  • Transmission: Four-speed manual, five-speed manual, or three-speed automatic (after September 1970)
  • Final drive ratios:
    • Four-speed manual transmission: 3.364:1 (37:11)
    • Five-speed manual transmission: 3.90:1 (39:10) (not available in US)
    • Three-speed automatic transmission: 3.545:1 (39:11).
  • Brakes:
    • Front: 10.7 in (271.8 mm) discs
    • Rear: 9.0 in (228.6 mm) x 1.6 in (40.6 mm) drums
  • Suspension:
  • Steering: Rack and pinion, 2.7 turns lock to lock
  • Wheels: 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175 SR 14 tires
  • Wheelbase: 90.7 in (2303.8 mm)
  • Length: 162.8 in (4135.1 mm)
  • Width: 64.1 in (1628.1 mm)
  • Dry weight: 2,355 lb (1,068 kg)
  • 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)

Fairlady ZG

The Japan-only HS30-H Nissan Fairlady ZG 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 Fairlady ZG was available in three colours: Grande Prix Red, Grande Prix White and Grande Prix Maroon. The "G" in Fairlady ZG stands for "Grande." Although the ZG was not sold in the USA and was never sold outside Japan, in order for it to be eligible for competition in the U.S., 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

Packaging the S20 160 hp (119 kW) engine from the GT-R created a go-fast Fairlady. The 432 referred to 4 valves per cylinder, 3 carburetors, and 2 cams. Approximately 420 were built. Some were used by Police in Japan.[1]

Fairlady Z432R

A Japan-only model Fairlady Z equipped with the twin cam 2.0 L inline 6 cylinder "S20" engine shared with the KPGC10 Skyline GT-R was released in the JDM Market for homologation purposes (the car was a rally car). The Z432R was orange with black steel wheels and a low luster black hood. Z432R had lighter front guards, doors, and bonnet, as well as further engine enhancements compared to the Z432.


Nissan/Datsun 260Z
Datsun 260 Z purple vr.jpg
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Fairlady Z
Production 1974-1978 (1974 in U.S.)
Assembly Japan
Predecessor Datsun Sports
Successor Nissan 280Z
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 2.6 L L26 SOHC I6
Transmission(s) 4-speed Manual
3-speed Automatic
Wheelbase 90.7 in (2,304 mm)
Length 162.8 in (4,135 mm)
Width 64.1 in (1,628 mm)
Curb weight 2,355 lb (1,068 kg)

The engine was enlarged with a longer stroke to 2.6 L for the 260Z in 1974. A 2+2 seating option added with an extra 11.9 in of wheelbase. This engine was sold in the United States for the 1974 model year only, but was available in other countries until 1979. In the US, federal emissions regulations forced a reduction in ignition timing and compression ratio, resulting in a lower power output (140 hp) for the first half of the 260Z's destined for the US, despite the additional displacement, whereas in other countries the power output actually increased to 165 bhp. A 3-speed automatic transmission was an option to the standard 4-speed manual.

There were two models of the 260Z sold in the U.S. The first half had lower power due to Emissions regulations. A more powerful version was available during the second half of production destined to the U.S. market. Some regard the first half of 260Z's as the least desirable of the two models, because of the reduced performance. This has resulted in lower prices on average for the early model 260Z.[citation needed]

The 260Z also claimed a few improvements over the 240Z. The climate controls were more sensibly laid out and easier to work. There was additional stiffness in the chassis due to a redesign of the chassis rails which were larger and extended further back than in the 240Z. The American model also featured heavier, safer, impact-absorbing bumpers.

Cosmetic changes included a redesigned dashboard and console, seat trim, and door panels for the interior, as well as redesigned rear tail lights and the front blinkers were relocated to inside the grill.


  • Engine: 2.6 L (~159 cu in) L26 I6, cast-iron block, alloy head, seven-bearing crankshaft, single overhead camshaft
    • Displacement: 156.6 cu in (2565 cc)
    • Bore: 83.0 mm (3.27 in)
    • Stroke: 79.0 mm (3.11 in)
    • Compression Ratio: 8.3:1 (93 oct)
  • Fuel System: Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HMB 46 W 1.75 in (44.4 mm) SU-type carburetors
  • Power: 162 hp (121 kW) at 5600 rpm
  • Torque: 157 ft·lbf (213 N·m) at 4400 rpm
  • Transmission: Four-speed manual or three-speed automatic
  • Brakes:
    • Front: 10.7 in (271.8 mm) discs front
    • Rear: 9.0 in (228.6 mm) X 1.6 in (40.6 mm) drums rear, servo assisted
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar
    • Rear: Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers
  • Steering: Rack and Pinion, 2.7 turns lock to lock
  • Wheels/ Tires: 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175 SR 14 tyres
  • Top Speed: 127 mph (204 km/h)
  • 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h): 8.0 sec
  • Fuel consumption: 20 mpg-US (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) to 28 mpg-US (8.4 L/100 km; 34 mpg-imp)
  • Engine oil (sump): 9.0 Imp pints (5.1 liters/10.7 US pints)


Nissan/Datsun 280Z (2+2)
1978 280Z 2+2.jpg
Manufacturer Nissan
Also called Nissan Fairlady Z
Production 1975-1978 (USA)
Predecessor Datsun Sports
Successor Nissan 280ZX
Class Sports car
Body style(s) 3-door hatchback
Layout FR layout
Engine(s) 2.8 L L28E SOHC I6
Transmission(s) 4-speed manual
3-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 90.7 in (2,304 mm)
Length 162.8 in (4,135 mm)
Width 64.1 in (1,628 mm)
Curb weight 2,875 lb (1,304 kg)

For the 280Z, engine size was again increased, this time to 2.8 L, by enlarging the bore of the L26 engine to create the L28, and a reliable Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was added. A 5-speed manual transmission was added as an option on US models in 1977.

All 280Zs received larger, heavier bumpers commonly known as "park benches" to meet strict safety standards (U.S. markets only). 1977 models 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 1977-78 an optional 5-speed manual transmission was available which included a "5-speed" emblem on the left bottom edge of the rear hatch.

In 1977 and 1978, Datsun offered two special edition models. The "Zap" edition was offered in 1977 as a "Special Decor Package" with bright yellow paint and 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 Gran Prix. The Black Pearl edition (produced in 1978) came with Black Pearl paint and a "Special Appearance Package" (SAP), which consisted of dual racing mirrors, rear window louvers, and a unique red and silver stripe. It is estimated that between 750-1,500 of these cars were produced.

After 1975, other non-USA markets continued to receive the 260Z and the 280Z 2+2—the two-door, four-seat model.

The USA 280Z, although relatively heavy and smog-controlled in stock form due to government regulations, was and is easily modified, with performance equaling much newer sports cars.[citation needed] For instance, simply removing the heavy front bumper and adding a front spoiler corrects the otherwise jittery high-speed handling of the stock version. Further, a great variety of aftermarket parts are available to, in effect, bring the 280Z back in line with the ethic of the early Z-cars, such as free-flowing exhaust/header kits and the installation of a 280ZX turbo. The 280Z was a remarkable confluence of (1) a lightweight sports-car body and suspension relatively unchanged (sans bumpers) since 1970, and (2) a powerful and efficient engine similar in type to other great sports cars of various manufacture (approx. 3 litre, 12 Valve, straight six w/single overhead cam; e.g. Toyota Supra, BMW 3.0cs).

The S30 series Z car was replaced in 1979 by the S130 Nissan 280ZX.

Engine conversions

The most common conversion is to replace the 2.4 or 2.6 liter engine with the L28 2.8 liter engine from the later model 280Z/280ZX. Turbo 280ZX L28s can be retrofitted into earlier cars using the later wiring harness and associated parts.

The S30s are popular for Skyline RB25DET swaps, with numerous kits available.

The S30 has also proven to be a popular and affordable basis for V8 and other engine conversions, usually a Chevrolet Small-Block engine or Ford. Several vendors make kits and informational books to allow the conversion to be done as a nearly bolt-in process.

1999 240Z Concept

In 1999, Nissan Motors displayed a 240Z Concept, the basis of the Nissan 350Z

240Z Restoration Program

From 1996 to 2002 Nissan did not offer the Z car line except in Japan where they sold the 300ZX (Z32) until 2000 as the Fairlady Z. In 1998 Nissan launched a program to bring back the Z car line. They began to purchase original 240Zs and restore them to factory specifications and sell them to dealerships for $24,000. This was in efforts to keep Z-interest alive. Furthermore, in 1999 a 240Z concept car was shown to the public. It was clearly a tribute to the original 240Z.


  • Datsun Z: From Fairlady to 280Z, Brian Long, Motorbooks International 1998 (ISBN 1-901295-02-8)

External links


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