Cars with Heritage (The Z)

There are not very many Japanese cars with as long a running production history as the Z car. It has stayed a constant even though its Mothering company changing names from Datsun to Nissan. It even manged to survive the gas crunch and the few years that was removed from the market.

The Datsun Z car was first produced in 1969 under the alias of the 240 Z. It came equipped with a straight six engine producing a whopping (I wouldn’t hold your breath for this.) 151 horsepower (HP). It was designed to be an enthusiast car with only two seats on a RWD platform. It came equipped with disk brakes and a 4-wheel independent suspension. To complete the package, Datsun made the car with refined body lines and an extra long hood to house the extremely long straight six engine making it an instant classic.

After a few years in the 240 Z trim, Datsun upgraded its Z car to the 260 Z in 1974. Unfortunately the only upgrade was the displacement of the engine, increased from a 2.4 liter to a 2.6 liter. The 260 Z output dropped to 139 HP due to emissions regulations. The 260 also had the option of a back seat. There isn’t much I like about this Z and I can’t figure out why Austin is so infatuated with it. I find the styling to have lost some of is beautiful curves from the previous model and the drop in HP means there is nothing to pick up the slack.

[Austin: I like this Z because it is the one that I have been trying to buy off of my aunt for the past 10 years. It is the only one that I have had a chance at buying, and I totally dig the styling over the 280. It is a beautiful mix of both housing one of the worst engines that Nissan has ever developed.]

Luckily for Datsun they didn’t leave the 260 Z in production long and in 1975 they produce the 280 Z. Increasing its displacement and cleaning up its styling. The 280 Z output increased to 170 HP thanks in part to the introduction of fuel injection. Woopee, Fuel injection. There were 2 generation of 280 Z and in 1978 the 280zx (The next generation 280.) was produced until 1983. It came with many option including T-tops and also the only option I really care about the TURBOCHARGER. Oh boost…

The Turbocharged option gave the Z 180 HP and the NA version dropped down to 135 HP. Once again Federal Emission is to blame for the lack of Horsepower. Though I do have to give “Uncle Sam” credit for allowing me to breath some what clean oxygen today. It’s an acceptable trade in my book.In 1984 the Z car was completely revamped dropping the straight six engine for a V-6 and restyling to usher in the era of Atari and Nintendo. It was renamed again along with its manufacturer to the Nissan 300zx. The V-6 engine jumped the horsepower to 160 for the NA models and 200 for the Turbo model. Go Turbo!

The 300zx stayed for two generations and in 1990 the Z32 hit the showroom floors. Offer a four seater model and a two seater model which could be Twin Turbo or Naturally Aspirated. The engine was also revamped in favor of dual overhead camshafts producing 222 HP N.A. and 300 HP Turbo Charged. Go Turbo!Unfortunately the 300 ZX ended production with the 1996 model year where it took a vacation. I like to think it went back home for a few years but it wasn’t produced in Japan which leads me to believe it went to Acapulco.

[Austin: This is a Z that I truly loved. My friend has the TT and it was an amazing vehicle. Whenever I mention them, Allen insists on mentioning that they are hard to work on. (Like I care about that) In fact I bet he was thinking that before he even finished reading the sentence.]

Until popular demand by car enthusiast brought it back to the United States in 2003. The 350 Z kept its original sloped fastback design that so many fell in love with. The 2003 model came with a 3.5 liter engine producing 287 HP N.A. There are no turbo options for this car and my eyes are welling with tears for the lacking option.

So that is why the Z gets my vote for a car with Heritage. It take a lot to come from a parent who decides to change it name during a mid life crisis and it takes even more to make a triumphant come back after being stuck in Acapulco for so many years.

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