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CATEGORIES (articles) > Donor vehicle information > Datsun/Nissan > Datsun/Nissan 240Z Overview

Datsun/Nissan 240Z Overview

1974 Datsun 260Z
1970 Nissan Fairlady Z (HS30)

The S30 Nissan/Datsun 240Z (known in Japan as the Fairlady Z and later in other markets as the 260Z and 280Z) are sports cars produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan in the 1970s. HLS30 was the designation of the left-hand drive model and HS30 for the right-hand drive model. The 240Z was introduced in 1969 with a 2.4 liter straight-6 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 (USA model received a 4 speed manual). A 4 wheel independent suspension consisted of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Nissan 1800) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes & rear drums were standard.

Production began in 1969, 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 "240" 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 in white, and the vents were eliminated from the hatch. Design changes for the US model occurred throughout production and are described Design and Manufacturing Changes to the U.S. Spec

The 240Z and 260Z used twin one-barrel carburetors. The carburetors were changed for model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, and 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. 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 and Porsche), it became hugely popular in the U.S. and was the first 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 1970's (Bob Bondurant and his BRE racing team, with John Morton driving car number 46, was particularly successful). The Z is also credited as a catalyst for the current import performance parts industry.

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


  • Engine: 2.4 L (2393 cc/146 in³) I6, cast-iron block, alloy head, seven-bearing crankshaft, single overhead cam, 9.0:1 compression
    • Bore: 83.0 mm (3.3 in)
    • Stroke: 73.7 mm (2.9 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)
  • Transmisson: Four-speed manual or three-speed automatic (after September 1970)
  • Brakes:
    • Front: 10.7 in (271.8 mm) discs
    • Rear: 9.0 in (228.6 mm) by 1.6 in (40.6 mm) drums
  • Suspension:
    • Front: Independent with MacPherson struts, lower links, 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: 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175 SR 14 tires
  • Wheelbase: 90.7 in (2304 mm)
  • Length: 162.8 in (4135 mm)
  • Width: 64.1 in (1628 mm)
  • Dry weight: 2355 lb (1068 kg)
  • Top speed: 125 mph (200 km/h)
  • 0-60 mph (97 km/h): 8.0 s
  • Typical fuel consumption: 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)


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) despite the additional displacement, whereas in other countries the power output actually increased to 161 hp. A 3-speed automatic transmission was an option to the standard 4-speed manual.

Some USA residents regard the late model 260Z as the least desirable of the line, because of the reduced performance. This has resulted in lower prices on average for the late model 260Z.

The 260Z also claimed a few improvements over the 240Z. The climate controls were more sensibly laid out, and easier to work, and 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/Centre console, seat trim, door panels, and redesigned rear tail lights.


Datsun 280Z
1978 280Z 2+2
1978 280Z 2+2

Engine size was up again, to 2.8 L, by increasing the bore of the L26 engine for the 280Z in late 1975, and fuel injection was added. Heavier impact absorbing bumpers were added in 1975 (USA markets only). A 5-speed manual transmission was added as an option for the USA in 1977.

In 1978, Datsun offered a special edition "Black Pearl" 280Z with all options standard. It sported black pearl paint and a unique stripe-kit. It is estimated that somewhere between 850-1500 cars were produced.

Other non USA markets continued to receive the 260Z with the L26. Also, 280Z 2+2--the two-door, four-seat model.

The 280Z, although quite heavy and smog-controlled in stock form due to government regulations, was and is easily modified, with performance equaling much newer sports cars. 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. 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 those in current sports and GT models of various manufacture (electronically fuel-injected, approx. 3-litre, straight six w/overhead cam; e.g. Lexus SC300, BMW Z3 3.0)

The S30/S31 series Z car was replaced in 1979 by the S130 Nissan 280ZX260zEngine 2.6 L Cast-iron block, alloy head Seven-bearing Bore 83.0mm (3.27 in)Stroke 79.0mm (3.11 in)Capacity 2565cc Valves Single over head camshaftCompression Ratio 8.3:1 Fuel System Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HMB 46W 1.75in SU-type carburetors Max power 162bhp at 5600rpm Max Torque 152lb ft at 4400rmp Transmission 5 speedFront Brakes 10.7in discs frontRear Brakes 9 X 1.6in drums rear, servo assistedFront Suspension Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar Rear Suspension Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers Steering Rack and Pinion, 2.7 turns lock to lockWheels/ Tires 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175 SR 14 tyresWheelbase 90.7inLength 162.8in Width 64.1in Dry Weight 2425lb Top Speed 127mph0 - 60 mph 8.0secMPG 20-28mpg

In Popular Media

The Japanese manga Wangan Midnight features a S30 which is nicknamed The Devil Z and is driven by the manga's protagonist Akio Asakura.

CATEGORIES (articles) > Donor vehicle information > Datsun/Nissan > Datsun/Nissan 240Z Overview

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