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UPDATED 24/6/04

240Z Cut away diagram

After 3 years of developement the 240Z was released to the public in October 1969 targeting the lucrative American market. The car was an astonishing departure for a Japanese company, all of which had previously produced economic, no frills models. It was the 240Z which introduced the Japanese car as a worthy alternative and eventually almost a successor to the American car. With it's reliability, fantastic performance and breathtaking style, the 240Z brought sports cars into the reach for the average American. Previously, American sports enthusiasts had driven European and English cars. With new saftey regulations forcing the traditional English models out of the market, they welcomed the 240Z. The 240Z was a price rival for the MGB, and triumph TR6, but offered performance comparable to the much more expensive Porsche 911 or Jaguar XKE (E-Type) The 240Z made use of the L24 2.4 liter inline six engine (hence it's name.) The 240Z was an all new design, while it's rivals where re-hashes of much older designs. It was much more comfortable, thanks to a spacious interior designed with large westerners in mind - another Japanese first!

A very neat example of the L-24 engine
Engine: In line six
Construction: Cast-iron block, alloy head
Crankshaft: Seven-bearing
Bore X Stroke: 83.0mm X 73.7mm
Capacity: 2393cc
Valves: Single over head camshaft
Compression ratio: 9.13:1 or 8.76 with E88 head
Fuel system: Mechanical fuel pump, twin Hitachi HJG 46W 1.75in SU type carburetors
Maximum power: 151 bhp at 5600 RPM
Maximum torque: 146lb ft at 4400rpm
Transmission: Five speed manual or optional 3 speed auto
Final drive ratio: 3.9:1 (5spd), 3.55:1 (Auto)
Top gear 1000rpm 21.55mph
Brakes: 10.7in discs front, 9 X 1.6in drums rear, servo assisted.
Front suspension: Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar
Rear suspension: Independent with MacPherson struts, lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers
Steering: Rack and Pinion, 2.7 turns lock to lock
Wheels/tyres: 4.5J-14 steel wheels with 175 SR 14 tyres
Wheelbase: 90.7in
Length: 162.8in
Width: 64.1in
Dry weight: 2355lbs
Top speed: 125mph
0-60mph 8.0sec
Max speed in gears:
Typical fuel consumption:
The specifications qouted here are for Australian delivered cars. Australia recieved the European specification model. US cars where available with a 4 spd transmission, and had slightly different compression ratios.

The L24 engine developed for the 240Z was essentially a new design derived from the L16 fitted to the Bluebird. The 2393cc six was basically a 1595 four with two extra cylinders. (Interestingly, the L16 four is reputed to have been based on a Mercedes six). Maximum power was 151bhp at 5600rpm, and maximum torque 146ft lb at 4400rpm. The red line was at 7000rpm. The block was of cast iron, and the crank shaft was of forged steel, running seven bearings. Two gears mounted at the front of the crank shaft drove the cross shaft to the distributor and oil pump, and a duplex chain to the single over head cam. The water pump, incorported with a temperature sensitive-drive and the alternator where driven by a belt from the crankshaft pulley. The crankshaft design was altered after vibration problems occured in race cars, so most production Zs have a modified crankshaft. The cylinder head was of aluminium alloy, and featured two valves per cylinder, each fitted with double coil springs. The camshaft acted on rockers with incorporated screw adjustament for tappet clearence. The combustion chambers where wedge shaped, and the aluminium flat top pistons gave a comnpression ratio of 9.13:1. This shape was altered in 1972, with compression dropping to 8.76:1, allowign the car to run on low lead fuels. By 1970 standards, the over head cam and the alloy cylinder head where notable features in a car of such a low price.

Originally, the 240Z was fitted with Hitachi type HJG 46W carburettors, but US federal emmisions controls casued Datsun to change to HMB 46W units in 1973. These carburettors where modified a grand total of five times before the end of 1974. These carburettors where used on all US 240Zs produced after 1973, and on all 260Zs sold worldwide. The emmision carbies where never fitted to Australian deliverd 240Zs.


Confusion reigns about the year in which the 240Z was first produced. Many people believe that the 240Z was introduced in 1970. However, this is not true. The official Datsun workshop manual explicitly states that the 240Z was first produced in October 1969, and gives the production number codes for that year. A copy of the relevant page may be viewed in full here.

The reason for the confusion is simple. Approximately 500 right hand drive (pre production line) cars had been hand built as a limited promotional run. 427 RHD cars survived factory crash/destruction testing. Because of space shortages at Nissans factories the majority were put on a ship destined for Europe. A 240Z had been on display at Earls Court motor show in 1970 but it was overpriced and received poor press. Only 2 orders were taken. Australian design standards were the same as Europe and the public where influenced by American trends, so the ship was diverted here and the cars were held in storage until compliance & ADR requirements were passed. With no consideration for build numbers a hand full of cars had compliance plates fitted and were registered in Victoria in 1970. They were made available to the Press and Nissan dealers as demo's. The remaining cars where sold in 1971. The industry standard is to quote the compliance date as the year of manufacture therefore confusion reigns as to actual true manufacture dates. Cars where built and on the road in Japan from October 1969. In his book, 'Datsun Z super profile', James Morris states that the 240Z was unvieled at the Tokyo motor show in November 1969, having been announced on October 22nd.

The first few thousand RHD 240Zs where fitted with the 42cc combustion chamber E31 head, as opposed to the 45cc combustion chamber E88 head. E31 head equipped engines had a tendency to detonate with poor fuel and tuning, so the lower compression E88 head was adopted. At the same time the ventilation grilles in the hatch where moved to the quarter panels, as it was thought that exhaust fumes where entering the cabin through them. Other differences in the first production run where: A lengthened Fairlady 2000 roadster type 5spd flange gearboxes with a two piece slip-yolk tailshaft. Differential positioned 2" forward of later mounting point. Center console had it's ash tray near the heater controls and incorporated a hand throttle. The steering wheel did not have holes in the spokes. Early hub caps were a different shape with a 'D' in the middle where the later ones had a 'Z' .

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