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.


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.

1 comment:

Jinawi Sirait said...

Nissan’s sports vehicles always been successful on the Japan market and not just. So may be the Nissan Fairlady Z (name used in Japan) starting the first 12 months of introduction in 1970 till our times. The Fairlady Z was sold around the US marketplace as Datsuns until 1984. The 1st model from your Z-Cars series was the 240Z. Next Machine presented the 260Z, 280Z, 280ZX, 300ZX and previous one is 350Z. The Datsuns 240Z was unveiled in 1969 and the US industry was introduced 1970 simply by Yutaka Katayama, president of Nissan Engines USA procedures. The “Z” letter through the name identifies the shift of the engine: the initial model -- the 240Z used a 2 . 4l engine; 350Z uses a a few. 5 liters engine.