Datsun fairlady 240Z
KAROBAR CORRESPONDENT
Sunday, Sep 01, 2019
498

The Datsun 240Z story starts with Yutaka Katayama, tasked with bringing the Datsun brand to the United States in the early 1960s. Early products, mostly small utility vehicles, sold slowly, but Katayama saw a gap in the market for small sports cars like those produced by the British, and 1963’s 1500 Fairlady roadster achieved reasonable success... This gave Katayama the influencing power to encourage the development of further sports cars, and the Datsun 1600 and Sports 2000 roadsters that followed proved increasingly popular.
Katayama’s persistence with sports cars paid off, Datsun eventually creating the S30 Fairlady Z, known in America and elsewhere as the 240Z on account of its 2.4-liter, in-line six-cylinder engine. A starting price of $3526 in 1969 – equivalent to around $24,650 in 2019 money, adjusted for inflation– guaranteed its success.
The 240Z's sleek styling, modern engineering, relatively low price, and impressive performance struck a major chord with the public. The positive response from both buyers and the motoring press was immediate, and dealers soon had long waiting lists for the "Z".
In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number two on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s.
Driving a 240Z today is still a joy. While it obviously lacks the performance of many modern sports cars, the lightweight and compact size goes a long way to making up for it, as does the smooth punch of what’s still a reasonably large engine for such a car.