May 21, 2015 @ 03:05 PM

Legends and Legacies: Datsun 240Z

Read how Datsun took over the American sports car market with this legendary coupe hatchback. By Jerrica Leong


(image source: carscoops.com)
Read how Datsun took over the American sports car market with this legendary coupe hatchback. By Jerrica Leong
 
When it comes to legends, Nissan has two. Not only did the Skyline (or now known as the GTR) became a sensation when it was launched, Nissan also launched the Z-line that became one of the most iconic cars in video games and the car modifying world. Everybody wanted their cars to look like a Z-line coupe, there were even car kits selling out of car mod utopia that we know as Sunway.

The popularity of the Z-line started with the 240Z, then known as the Datsun 240Z. Datsun’s intention was to beat out American sports cars like the Austin Healey 3000 and the E-Type Jaguar that were all aging and had days that were numbered. Their goals were achieved when the 240Z became an instant hit. That was no surprised since Datsun had enlisted the help of Albrecht Goertz, the creator of the BMW 507, to breath in svelte European lines for the car after all. In fact, till this day enthusiasts couldn’t believe that the 240Z’s originates from the east.

There were many other factors that made 240Z popular with the Americans. Some sources even claim that the Americans were taken by the well-balanced muscular lines and the smooth yet punchy straight six-engine. But to be fair, the 240Z has a complete package of talents that none of its competitors could compete with. 

(image source: car.mitula.us)
Power came from a straight six-engine that gives the 240Z a power output of 151bhp from 2393cc. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox that powers the strut-and-wishbone rear end. Yes, the 240Z is a rear wheel drive. The car shoots from 0-100kph in 8.2seconds and has a top speed of 201kph. The 240Z also features all-independent suspension to give the car superb cornering abilities.

But what enthusiasts enjoy most is the sound the 240Z makes during the drive. The gruff growl from the straight six is pure machismo and enjoyment. So there’s speed and sound to enjoy at a reasonable price, this makes the 240Z the winner between its competitors. Datsun had cemented themselves as sports car creator with the 240Z. You can say that the 240Z was one of the sports cars that helped the Japs cement themselves as sports car makers.

Datsun sold a total of 150,076 units of the 240Z before the car made way for the 260Z that had an automatic transmission which was then replaced by the 280Z. Both generations did not do their predecessor justice that saw the enthusiasm for the Z-cars ebb away. The Z-line cars exited the American market after that but continued to be sold in Japan as the Fairlady Z. That is one name that we’re more familiar with yes?

(image source: hpiracing.com)

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