From Academic Kids


Z-car usually refers to a series of sports cars manufactured by Nissan. Early on they were released under Nissan's Datsun brand name.

Starting out in 1969 with the 240Z, the Datsun Z-cars have been popular in Japan (where they are known as the "Fairlady"), the United States, and the United Kingdom. For their good looks and strong performance, they have been remarkably affordable automobiles.



The first two generations (240Z/260Z/280Z and 280ZX) of Z-car were powered by a Straight-6, (part of the L-series of Nissan engines, which powered most of their vehicles until the early 1980s) with a displacement of 2.4 L in the first incarnation, and increasing to 2.6 L and 2.8 L in the 260Z, and the 280Z and ZX, respectively. Their form was deliberately derived from the 1960s Jaguar E-type.

The second generation, the 280ZX, was a complete re-design, retaining only the L28 engine and other driveline components. A turbo option was introduced, but this still did not bring the 280ZX's stock performance up to the level of the original 240Z.

The third generation, the 300ZX, switched to a 3.0 L V6. Two generations of 300ZX ended in 1996 in the US, and shortly thereafter in Japan.

In the 2003 model year, Nissan reentered the US sports-car market with the 350Z, powered by a 3.5 L V6, and styled in an attempt to create a more modern interpretation of the 240Z's lines.


Among Z-cars, the most sought after are the early 240Zs, due to their being unencumbered with emissions regulations, and thus putting out significantly more power than later Z-cars, until the later 300ZXs. In 1998, Nissan even offered restored 240Zs through its dealerships. Also popular is the Twin Turbo Z32.

The first generation of Z-car are known for unusually quick handling, easily comparable to cars such as the Porsche 911, but usually at a much lower price. For those for whom the inline-6 is not enough, V8 conversions are popular. Some companies have even specialized in producing such conversions (like Scarab Engineering, which is no longer in business).

The 240Z, and to a lesser degree the 260Z and 280Z, were well-regarded for their light weight and good balance, which contributed to their speed and handling. The 280ZX, while maintaining a similar overall look and drivetrain to the earlier cars, was not as well-regarded due to its increased weight, and the addition of more accessories making it less of a pure sports car. This sentiment continued with the 300ZX. The second generation 300ZX was also thought by many to be overpriced for what it offered.

Nissan has managed to salvage the reputation of the Z-car with the 350Z, however, which is known for its speed and handling, and not just its good looks.

See also

Template:Nissan Z-cars

External links

In Britain, this term is pronounced "Zed-car," and comes from the name of an early 1960s television show featuring non-London police driving around in Fords of the model names "Zephyr" or "Zodiac." These sedans were fast for their time, place, and cost. The transferrence of the term to the vehicles listed here was not intentional by Nissan.

"Z-car" can also refer to a series of roadsters from BMW, released beginning in the late 1990s.



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