The Datsun 260Z first came on the market in 1974, as part of the Nissan Z-series. The car, which was preceded by the 240Z and followed by the 280Z, was designed by Nissan’s Sports Car Studio with the intention of offering drivers sporty performance in an attractive and stylish package. It succeeded on nearly every level, becoming popular both in its native Japan as well as internationally. Starting off as a two-seat coupe, the line was expanded with the introduction of the 260Z to include a 2+2 seating option. The Nissan S30 line, of which the 260Z was a part, was manufactured by Nissan from 1969 to 1978 and sold under the Datsun brand name internationally. Despite its rather complex branding, there is no denying that the 260Z is a remarkable sports car, filled with power and performance, and it has the looks to back it all up.
Sold from 1974 to 1978, the 260Z followed the 240Z in the Datsun line-up. Despite federal automobile regulations in the United States forcing the 260Z to get a reduction in power, in all other countries the Datsun 260Z received substantial mechanical improvements. These vehicles were popular for their exterior design, relatively low price when stacked against comparable sports cars, and impressive performance. In fact, over the years, 260Zs have developed somewhat of a cult following, and they are considered to be classic cars by many auto enthusiasts. This, however, has a downside, as the 260Z tends to retain its value quite well, meaning it has the potential for high expense for used car buyers.
Along with the mechanical and styling updates, the 260Z also received a significant body configuration change when introduced in 1974. Now, and for the first time ever, the Z was not just available as a 2-seat vehicle. In addition, Datsun made the 260Z available as a 2+2 coupe, with space for 4 adults, 2 in the front and 2 in the rear. This new offering also featured a different roofline and an extra 302mm of wheelbase. This allowed the 260Z to move beyond the realm of sports-car enthusiasts and also fill a niche with families looking for a stylish, high-performance vehicle.
Throughout its run, the 260Z performed well on the market. There was only one generation of the car, and in the mid to late 1970s, the car began to be phased out of production in favour of Datsun’s new offering, the 280Z. However, the 260Z remains an iconic 1970s vehicle prized by auto enthusiasts everywhere as a superior example of Japanese engineering.
Named for its engine, the powertrain on the 260Z was a major improvement over that on the 240Z. This particular vehicle came equipped with a higher displacement 2.6L 6-cylinder engine. The powerful engine had an output of 121kW at 5600rpm and 213Nm of torque at 4400rpm. In addition, both the standard coupe and the 2+2 version were available with either a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission. The cars featured independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and independent rear suspension with Chapman struts. The 260Z could go from 0-100km/h in roughly 8 seconds. Interestingly, many 260Zs available on the used car market have been retrofitted to enhance their performance and design.
The 260Z featured many equipment and design improvements over its predecessor, the 240Z. For example, the 260Z featured a completely redesigned centre console and dashboard, increasing the ease of use, along with new interior door panels and seat trim. The car was available with or without air-conditioning, but for those who sprung for the option, the climate control system was completely integrated into the new central control panel. In addition, a redesign of the rails of the chassis meant that there was a new stiffness in its feel. Aftermarket modifications are common on 260Zs, so there is a good chance you may find modern updates such as alarm systems, racing stripes, and CD sound systems on these classic cars.
The Datsun260Z was truly one-of-a-kind, but it did have several competitors in the always-tough sports coupe market. For example, the seriously popular Holden HQ featured a wide range of engines, with its base model being a 2.8L V6 with an output of 84kW and 220Nm. The range topper in Holden’s HQ line was a 5.7L V8 behemoth that produced 205kW of power and 490Nm of torque. Competition elsewhere came from the Ford Falcon. The biggest engine on the falcon was a 5.8L V8 with 186kW and 481Nm of torque.