The Nissan S30, Fairlady Z or Datsun 240z is part of the legendary Japanese cars that marked the manufacturer’s history by being one of the most successful designs ever created by Nissan as its timeless shape was used and approved by the public for almost a decade.
The aimed goal for the Datsun was to compete with other light sports cars such as the Lancia Fulvia 1.6 HF, the Ford Escort RS 1600, the Triumph GT6, the MGB-GT or the Toyota 2000GT (which has now reached prices over £1M, and was also pricier at the time).
Yoshihiko Matsuo was the Chief Designer of the 6 men team who created the highly successful 2 seater sportscar under the command of Kazumi Yotsurnoto.
As for the little anecdote about the Datsun name origin, DAT was an automobile produced by the Kwaishinsha Motor Car Company which was founded in 1912 by Masujiro Hashimoto. The DAT refers to the first letter of the three original company investors, Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. After merging the company in 1926 and retaining the name “DAT Jidosha Seizo Company Limited”, they then went under reorganisation in 1930 and the Directors decided to name it DATSON (meaning son of DAT), and later updated to DATSUN. Finally, in 1934, the name changed to the one we know now, and the Nissan Motor Company Limited was born.
Now to the car… The 240z is a brilliant looking little coupe offering very modern engineering for its time and reasonably priced which surely contributed to its success. Add to that a very lightweight, sturdy construction and punchy 2.4L straight 6 engine producing 161hp, and you get yourself a killer combination for any kind of sporty driving you’d like to part in.
The 240z was later upgraded (1974) to the 260z and then the 280z being the last variant of the model which had a 9 year lifespan from 1969 to 1978. In recent years, interest really sparked over these cars which are now fetching anywhere from £5K for a project car to £25K + for a fully original or restored example. Tuners also took advantage of the great car shape to come up with amazing looking projects that are also highly efficient for drifting or racing, especially with 2JZ engine swaps or other bonkers creations.