Thursday, January 22, 2015

Design Classic: Datsun 240Z

It was the sensation of late-1969.  The Nissan S30 model, known as the Datsun 240Z in the the USA, triggered an intense "I gotta have one" reaction for those of us in a sports car frame of mind.  Sadly for me, 240Zs were priced a bit higher than I felt I could afford, so I settled on a Porsche 914 in 1971.  But I really, really wanted a Z.

Background on it and related models can be linked here.  A June 1970 Car & Driver magazine road test can be found here.

240Z styling was taut, sleek, and targeted to the expectations of the sports car market.  It had a long hood, following the tradition of classic prewar sports cars as well as what was found on desirable postwar types such XK120 and E-Type Jaguars.  As a result, the driver's head was aft of center and the entire passenger compartment and trunk occupied only 60 percent of the car's length.  The roofline dropped off to the rear, terminating at a vertical Kammback.  In true postwar sports car fashion, the fenderline featured a kickup towards the rear, hinting at the existence of a rear fender.   Along the sides was a horizontal character line at doorhandle level.   Headlamps were semi-sunken into the front fenders, but laterally; this allowed for a fenderline ridge that blended into the hood ensemble.  The grille was small, horizontal bars angled away from the sun (lack of reflection reducing visual prominence) and set into a simple opening.

Gallery

Datsun 240Z advertisement - ca. 1970-71

Datsun 240Z publicity image - ca. 1970-71


1970 Datsun 240Z - Motostalgia auction photos

Seen from 45 years later, the 240Z seems rather small and narrow, but that might be because current sports cars such as Porsches and Ferarris are quite wide.  In its day, the Z seemed properly proportioned.  And oh, so desirable.

No comments: