The First Ship Load Of Z Cars To The United States:

by: Carl Beck, IZCC# 260
As of: 11 Aug. 2009

It was commented on at the time, by many automotive writers and press reporters, that the first ship to arrive at a U.S. Port, carrying Z Cars, was a regular shipment of Datsuns which arrived at the Port of Las Angeles in Jan. of 1970. That ship contained only Twenty Z Cars out of a total shipment of Datsuns numbering something close to 450. (not a documented fact yet -but is supported by writings at the time, and the memory of several people present..cjb)

The Internet Z Car Club has been trying to track down all of the first Datsun 240-Z's produced in 1969, however that "First Shipload" is of very special interest to many people, so listed below is what we have found so far.

If you know of the existence of any of the cars that are not accounted for below, please contact Carl Beck via e-mail:
Phone: 1-727-535-0384

Background Info:
Z Cars HLS30 00001, 00002, 00003:
It is reported that these chassis numbers were used as Pre-Production Prototypes and/or Production Mules then disassembled to verify the quality of welds and assembly processes etc.. They may have been used in destructive tests for U.S. NHTSA Certification Cars (crash tested then destroyed).

Z Cars HLS30 00004 and 00005:
These two Production Prototypes were sent to the U.S. in Oct. of 1969. Here they were used by the Factory for Road Testing, then returned to Japan for farther study.

Z Cars HLS30 00006, 00007 and 00008
Were not on the first shipload, but rather were sent ahead to be put on the Auto Show Circuit, and to be used for photo sessions by the automotive press.

Being very early production models, 6,7, & 8 were not to be sold to the public, but rather were diverted for use within the competition program after their use at the National / International Car Show circuit and for photo opportunities with the automotive press.

Bob Sharp has said that #00006 was a Dark Green car, it was the first Z Car he received. The car was pulled off the show car circuit because a model sat on the roof and dented it while on display at the Toronto Auto Show. Z Car #00008 is believed to be the car featured on R&T's Jan. 70 Cover. (the mag. was on the newsstands in Dec. of 1969!).

Where Are They Now?
Z Car #HLS30 00006:,currently owned by Dr.Allen Robins of SharpSite Racing.

Z Car #HLS30 00007: currently owned by Ron Cooke in L/A...

Z Car #HLS30 00008: currently owned by Dr. Tom Bork and raced in Vintage Events.

Z Car #HLS30 00009, 00010, 00011 and 00012:
None of these cars have been found to date. It is quite likely #000009 through #00012 were given to private race teams. One rumor has it that #00009 - #00012 were sent to Nissan Canada for cold weather testing. Nissan Canada is rumored to have simply stored them away somewhere.

Z Car #HLS30 00013: According to Nissan publications HLS30 00013 was the first car released for public sale, it is currently owned by Rick CT

. Z Car #HLS30 00014 and HLS30 000015: Have not yet been found.

Thus it would appear, at the present time, that Z Cars HLS30 00009 through HLS30 00029 would logically have been the twenty Z Cars on that first shipload to the U.S.A..

However, appearances can be misleading. There is a compounding factor at play here. Even though the chassis serial numbers are sequential - that does not mean that they came out of the production process in a sequential order. Some bodies were held up when assembly problems had to be fixed, and thus the cars could have been set aside for later repair and later completion.

Cars were most likely moved in groups from the assembly plant, to the shipping docks and VIN numbers could easily have been mixed or shuffeled. No attempt was made to load them on the ships in sequencial serial number order. We know of at least one car on that first shipload had a VIN close to 500, that was the first Z delivered to BRE.

The bottom line is - we may never know for sure exactly which 69 Production Z Cars were on that First Ship.

Note: Of the first 543 Left Hand Drive, DATSUN 240Z Cars produced in Oct., Nov., and Dec. of 1969, an amazing 28% (152 cars) have been found to be still in existence at this point.
For more information related to the 1969 Production 240-Z's see "Locating The Remaining 1969 Production Year Z Cars"