Welcome back to another week of #ThrowbackThursday. So which car are we looking at this week? Well, it isn’t just a car, but a trio of them. This trio is the Z trio, from the 240Z, to the 260Z and the 280Z. These three cars share the same platform, codenamed S30.
Fans of Wangan Midnight would definitely recall the Devil Z being the star of the show. The sleek lines, coupled with the signature blue, really made a statement. Those older guys, will recall the East African Rally 240Z being quite successful as well. Back in the day, Datsun priced the 240Z well within the reach of masses, and coupled with it’s modern looks, the 240Z quickly became very popular. Production for the 240Z was initially planned for 2,000 units a month, but due to it’s success, it had to be increased to 11,000 units a month.
The 240Z was a combination of good looks and good performance, which is why it sold over 45,000 units in in 1971, and over 90,000 units from 1972 till 1973.
Powering the venerable 240Z back then was the Nissan L24 2.4L inline-6 engine. The L24 was able to produce about 151 hp and 198 NM of torque, which was decently impressive back then. Being a sports car, the 240Z had its powered transferred solely to the rear wheels. Transmission choices included a 5 speed manual, 4 speed manual, and a 3 speed automatic. The 3 speed automatic was less common, and was only introduced after 1971 as an option. The 240Z was able to propel from zerotohundred in a mere 8 seconds, and maxxed out at 201 km/h. Another breakthrough was the suspension set up, which features fully independent front and rear struts.
Four years after the introduction of the 240Z, Nissan axed it and replaced the 240Z with the 260Z. The 260Z had the same engine as the 240Z, but bored out to 2.6L for slightly better power output, and got renamed to L26. The L26 made about 162 hp and 213 NM of torque, step up from the L24 it replaces. That however, did not improve performance much, as the 260Z has grown some 302 mm at the wheelbase. This was because the 260Z added a new 2+2 seating option, allowing for more passengers to be carried. Size aside, the 260Z has several improvements over the predecessor, like having a rear anti roll bar, a stiffer chassis, redesigned tail lights and a redesigned interior.
However, the 260Z was relatively short-lived, at least in the US, as the replacement 280Z was introduced in 1975. Like the 260Z before that, the 280Z also had a bored up engine from the 260Z. This time, the 2.6L engine was bored till 2.8L, creating the L28. The arrival of the Nissan 280Z also meant that the Z finally gets a fuel injection system, courtesy of Bosch. Those improvements meant that the 280Z now had 170 hp, and 221 NM of torque.
Out of this trio, the 240Z is undeniably the star, despite having less power than the 260Z or the 280Z. As portrayed in Wangan Midnight, the 240Z, nicknamed the Devil Z, had a L28 from the late model 280Z, bored and stroked to 3.1L. If that was not enough, it even had twin turbos under the hood. Fictional story aside, this is a testament to how flexible the L24 engine actually is.
The Nissan S30 can be found locally, with relative ease, but most units are the 260Z or the 280Z. The original 240Z may not be the easiest to find, but we’re pretty sure that there are some units here, hiding, waiting for the right day to appear.