NISSAN U.S.A. CARSON, CALIFORNIA 90248
THE EVOLUTION OF THE Z CAR
...A 10-YEAR SUCCESS STORY
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The first Datsun Z sports car was sold in the United
States on Feb. 2, 1970.
It arrived with a European GT styling flair, dynamic performance characteristics and a relatively
low price tag.
It was designed with these ingredients for one marketplace in particular... the U.S.A.
Did it suit the American appetite?
Like apple pie, if that can be said about a product built overseas.
It was years, in fact, before the supply ever rendezvoused with the
demand. In short order the Z
car became the largest selling sports car in American automobile history.
Now, after more than a half million deliveries in the U.S., it's
unlikely that position will be
challenged in the near future.
It was nine years before Nissan Ltd. chose to "tamper" with the Z's
original design. And even
then the flavor survived. Although the design was all new, it remained all Z car. If anything, it merely
became more car ... a somewhat higher-styled Grand Touring model that better suited a more affluent
Contact: John C. McDonnell, National Public Relations Manager 9 213/532-3111
Bob Thomas & Associates, Inc. * 213/376-6978
"When the first design change came (the 1979 280-ZX), we were understandably
said Robert 0. Link, who was one of the major participants in the unveiling of the original 240-Z at the
Pierre Hotel in New York 10 years ago.
"We wanted a change on one hand and no change on the other," explained
Link who today is
the senior vice president of Nissan U.S.A., distributor of Datsun cars and trucks. "Well, as it turned
out, we got both."
Thus, it was not surprising that the Z car was identified as the
"car of the decade." Its impact
extended from the beginning to the very end of the 1970s.
The latest milestone moment in the 10-year history of the Z also
took place in the ballroom of
the Pierre -- the introduction of the 10th-anniversary Datsun 280-ZXIO, a special limited edition model
(3,000 individually numbered units).
The two-tone (Black and Gold) ZX-10, according to Link, was not only
commemorate a decade of success but to signal the launch of a new decade.
"The history of the Z car hasn't been written yet,' Link said. "It's
ongoing. You can be sure in
the years ahead it will continue to offer a fresh personality."
While its appearance and image have been well preserved, the Z car
has undergone a growth pattern
continually spiced by "high points."
For example, the first 240-Z shown to the press at the Pierre never
made it to the showroom. It went to
the racetrack. In every year of the Z's existence it has won the Sports Car Club of America national
championship--10 in a row, the latest with actor Paul Newman at its controls.
And starting in 1971 with the overall victory in the East African
Safari Rally, the Z's conquests
have gone international.
The real success of the Z, however, has been its acceptance on the
highway. Sales have
increased every year steadily, despite competition and higher prices due to rising costs and currency
Initially, 2,000 units were produced per month, most of them coming
to the U.S. At a base price
of $3,500, the demand far outran the supply.
Sales the first year were 9,977 units, all powered by a six-cylinder,
water-cooled engine with a-
displacement of 2.393cc, (146 cubic inches) and a horsepower rating of 151 at 5600 rpm.
Milestone No. 1 came in 1974 with the introduction of the 260-Z,
with an expansion of cylinder
displacement to 2565cc. Later that model year came the introduction of a four-place version, the 2+2,
another success story. In 1975, fuel injection replaced twin carburetors and with it came the 280-Z,
further energized by another boost in displacement to 2753cc.
Then came what was considered the most significant change yet --
the introduction of the 280-ZX, which
not only signaled a new design but several technological advances.
The first Z car arrived in a period dominated by the MGB and TR sports
cars of England, the Porsche 911,
the Chevrolet Corvette and the E Type Jaguar. Its impact was especially dramatic because it offered for
the first time high performance, styling, economy of operation and a relatively low price in a
mass production sports car.
Annual U.S. sales:
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