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Sports Cars & Luxury Vehicles
1971 Datsun 240Z
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The Nissan S30 (sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z, then later as the 260Z and 280Z) is the first generation of Z GT 3-door two-seat coupés, produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan from 1969 until 1978. The S30 was conceived of by Yutaka Katayama, the President of Nissan Motor Corporation U.S.A. and designed by a team led by Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan's Sports Car Styling Studio. Aiming to compete directly with established European sports cars, Datsun priced the new 240Z within $200 of the British MGB-GT in the United States, a five-year-old design that showed its age. The 240Z's styling, engineering, relatively low price, and impressive performance resonated with the public, received a positive response from both buyers and the motoring press, and immediately generated long waiting lists.
As a halo car, the 240Z broadened the acceptance of Japanese car-makers beyond their economy image. Datsun's growing dealer network—compared to limited production imported sports cars manufactured by Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat—ensured both easy purchase and ready maintenance.
All variants of the S30 have four-wheel independent suspension consisting of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Nissan Laurel C30) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard.
The 240Z used twin SU-style Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors. These were replaced on the 260Z with Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors beginning with model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, resulting in diminished overall performance. A Bosch-designed L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection was added to US market 280Zs in 1975 to compensate.
Continuing through the 1975–1978 model years, markets outside of the United States (and Japan, which only offered the 2-liter engine from 1974) still received the 260Z coupé and 2+2. The S30 240Z is unrelated to the later 240SX, which is sold as the Silvia in Japan.