2022 06 28 Posting - CCC Blog Post, The Evolution of the Nissan Z-Car - Collector Car Canada


..by posting a comment



..by posting a like or tagging them

2022 06 28 Posting – CCC Blog Post, The Evolution of the Nissan Z-Car
Mercedes with crowd


2022 06 28 Posting – CCC Blog Post, The Evolution of the Nissan Z-Car

Origins of the Z-Car – To investigate the evolution of Z-Cars, we have to look at the evolution of Japanese car manufacturer Nissan. Mr. Yutaka Katayama (a.k.a. Mr. K) is considered by many to be the father of the Nissan Z-Car, since he was in charge of United States operations and was pushing for the build and export of Japanese sports cars into the new market. It was in the early 1960s when Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. (NMC/Nismo) began to plan for a car that would be suitable for export markets. NMC had been working with Yamaha to create a line of cars since 1958, but these were small and not powerful enough to be appealing in the US and European markets.  So, they were not exported. The Z-Car was introduced at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show as a two-door sedan with an air-cooled engine and independent suspension on all four wheels, which was designed by legendary car designer Yoshihiko Matsuo, with assistance from Mr. K to make it a more appealing car in the US market.

Join Our Mailing List

Nissan 240Z

First Generation Datsun Z – The Fairlady Z introduced the first generation of Z-Cars in 1969. The Fairlady Z, commonly referred to as the Datsun 240Z or “Z-Car,” performed as Nissan’s global product leader for nine years during its production. It set a sales record for a single model sports car by selling over 520,000 units. We should note that the original Nissan Fairlady was never brought to the US/Canada market because Nissan was worried about controversy arising from the name.  The Datsun 240Z (also known as Nissan S30 or Fairlady Z) reached American shores to high demand in 1969. The 240Z belongs was the first Z-Car ever made, and carries the interesting distinction of winning the 19th East-African Safari Rally in 1971.  The first-generation Z also included a 260Z (1974 model year only) and a 280Z (1975 – 1978 model year).


Take a look here at our auction for a restored 280Z V8 resto-mod 240Z tribute car.

The second generation Z-Car known as the Datsun 280ZX aimed to capitalize on the success of its predecessor. The new style of this new Datsun generation was meant to get eyes on it and attract a higher level of interest from the sports car world. To meet the high demand the 280ZX offered luxurious design that transcended the typical sports car. The 280ZX also offered four-wheel disc brakes, in addition to a 2+2 layout model, a turbo version and the first T -top Z-Car.

Nissan 280Z

The Third Generation of the Z-car also known as the 300ZX or Z31 was the next evolution of the original Fairlady. Since the original Fairlady was never sold in the American market, the third generation was an instant fan favorite which ran from 1983 to 1989. The Z31 also came with standard air conditioning and offered an affordable price for entry into the world of sports cars. The 300ZX was also the 1985 all-Japan Rally Championship winning car.

The fourth generation Z, also known as 300ZX or Z32, was Nissan’s move at a bold and beautiful shift in design. That allowed the car to look elegant while very maneuverable from 1990-1996.


Then, the 350Z was Nissan’s way of returning the Z to America after a six-year production hiatus from the American market. The 350Z was heavily inspired by the 240Z and the impact this two-door sports car had was to rejuvenate Nissan Z-Car purchases in the Americas.

Nissan 300ZX Z32
Nissan 370Z

There were two offerings of the Nissan 370Z: a coupe and a roadster. These cars were known for the compact power they offered and great aerodynamic frame. The 370Z was built with a V6 and an optional seven speed automatic transmission.

The fresh-and-coming 2023 Nissan Z (above, in yellow) was inspired by the design of the original meeting the modern age. The newest Z-Car is the only non-numbered Z-Car, it is a combination of heritage and future simplicity. The car retains classic sports car characteristics with modern power.  It is powered by a powerful 3.0 litre 6-cylinder at front midship, and a rear drive design placing the engine farther back in the chassis for optimal balance.

What do you think of Z-Cars?  What is YOUR favourite?  (Our Founder, Dave, loves ’em all but is mainly a Z32 man.)  How successful do you think the 2023 will be?

Notify of
This site uses User Verification plugin to reduce spam. See how your comment data is processed.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments