The 1960s saw the entry into western, and particularly American markets of Japanese automobiles, from which they had largely been absent, with some notable exceptions. No one would have believed, however, that they would make such an impact, and none more so than the 1969 Datsun 240Z. Although it was an excellent sports car in its own right, few would have thought that it would become the best-selling sports car of the 1970s, by far. Its design and lines, by Albrecht Goertz (of BMW fame) were simple, flowing and muscular at the same time, inspired by the E-Type Jaguar. With its elegance came excellent handling, thanks to its struts and wishbone suspension (rear, struts front) and precise rack and pinion steering.
The 240Z was fitted with a torquey, fire-breathing 2.4-liter straight-six engine, that produced 151 horsepower. This was enough to push the Japanese sports car to a top speed of 125 miles per hour, and to accelerate to 60 mph in 8 seconds.
Fast, nimble and reliable, Datsun sold over 150,000 units before the model was replaced in 1975 with a gentler, less aggressive car, the 260Z, which unfortunately was also slower and less agile. The 1969 Datsun 240Z remains one of the automotive world’s greatest success stories.