By on June 17, 2015

Datsun 240Z

Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z.

The proposal would see the new Z head downmarket, reflecting the desire to “do something… more practical and appealing to younger customers” in a market becoming smaller day by day, Autoblog reports. The Z would also reverse a trend where the iconic vehicle continues to grow in performance — and numerical naming schemes — at the expense of what the 240 represented. As Nakamura puts it:

We are questioning ourselves in repeating the 350, 370. We don’t want to create 390Z, right?

As for what the execution of the plan would entail, Nakamura says the new Z wouldn’t “necessarily go into the same category” as either the Mazda MX-5 Miata or the Toyota 86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ, pointing to a photo of the GTR-LM Le Mans prototype as a sign of wanting to do something “unique” with the car. He adds the Z could fill the role recently vacated by the cancellation of the IDx four-passenger sports car, parts of which are expected to live on as part of a FWD offering.

[Photo credit: Alexander Nie/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0]

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41 Comments on “Nakamura: Next-Gen Nissan Z May Take Inspiration From 240Z...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    >>Nissan design chief Shiro Nakamura revealed the next-generation Nissan Z could take its inspiration from the Datsun 240Z.<<

    THe inspiration comes from the XKE. The imitation was the 240Z.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “THe inspiration comes from the XKE. The imitation was the 240Z.”

      In the front end treatment, maybe, but from there back the influence clearly comes from the Ferrari 365 GTB4. Cover up the front end on both of these pictures and you’ll see it clearly. Even the proportioning is very similar.

      https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c5/1971_Ferrari_GTB4_Daytona.jpg/1280px-1971_Ferrari_GTB4_Daytona.jpg

      http://hagleyserver.org/vinson/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Datsun_Fairlady_240Z_4.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        “Both offer incredible views over long, blistered hoods. Both have sleek, sloping fastback rooflines and plenty of space for luggage under opening rear decks. Both have muscular rear fender haunches, headlamps set back in fender scoops and intimate two-passenger interiors. And both are balanced rear-wheel-drive sports cars motivated by powerful straight-six engines and manual gearboxes. Although eight years, one generation and thousands of dollars separate these cars, the 1965 Jaguar E-Type Fixed Head Coupe and 1973 Datsun 240Z are remarkably similar in mission, style and function. The question remains: Is the inspired as inspiring as the inspiration?”
        http://www.hemmings.com/hsx/stories/2006/09/01/hmn_feature22.html

        “Styled in some ways after the Jaguar XKE, the Datsun 240Z was made to compete for U.S. sales with sporty British GT convertibles and coupes.”
        http://www.forbes.com/2001/01/08/0108VOW.html

        • 0 avatar
          Erikstrawn

          Hemmings may see a correlation, but the styling is much more Italian-inspired, and the XKE does not have what I would consider “muscular rear fender haunches”.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Well, Hemmings is entitled to its opinion. But aside from the scooped out headlights, and the long hood, I see no style similarity at all between an E-type Jag and the 240Z.

          But I do definitely see a lot of Daytona in there…and Toyota 2000GT, for sure. check the rear window treatment.

          • 0 avatar
            Theek

            And that is a good thing. The 240Z was small, light and cheap, but evoked a lot. Nissan went away and made it fat, heavy and expensive.

  • avatar
    bodayguy

    “Back to the 240Z” – they always say that. That’s what they said about the 350, design-wise.
    Meh. Nissan: I have an FR-S. Let me tell you what I want (and want to buy, as a former Z owner):
    400 HP, 3200-3300 lbs, coupe, not retro.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “We don’t want to create 390Z, right?”

    Why the hell not? It’s not the larger displacement that’s the problem with the Z.

    • 0 avatar
      bodayguy

      amen bro

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        A 3.9L or 4.0L VQ with even more power than the 3.7L would be awesome in the right chassis for the right price. It would give it a fighting chance with someone shopping a Mustang GT but wanting something slightly smaller, sportier and possibly less expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Maybe they can call GM and get an engine for the 620Z. Aren’t 240Zs full of SBCs anyway?

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Now we’re talking.

        • 0 avatar
          JMII

          All they really need to do is bolt on the turbos from GT-R. The current 3.7 V6 can easily be boosted into crazy land: 600 HP is no problem. So from the factory a very safe 400 HP tune with upgraded engine internals would make a 390Z.

          At some point I’ll have to decide if I go this route or just get a ‘Vette. But I kind of like the smaller Z and stealthness that such a power upgrade would add.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Get bolting then!

          • 0 avatar
            sportyaccordy

            If I had kept my Z, I prob would have went the TT route. Between that, the $3-4K I would have had to spend on suspension/brakes/wheels and the fact that I have no time to track it = whats the point, I sold it.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Ummmm FWD Z? No thank you! A true throw back: light weight, small but quick? Yes. The current car is no mans land: too slow to compete with the V8 muscle cars, too heavy to mix it up with the FRS/BRZ crowd. Personally I don’t want to see it go too far the other direction, as is the FRS/BRZ is underpowered. Give us something the size & weight of the FRS/BRZ but with 50 more HP via a turbo.

    Design wise the 350/370 is inspired by the 240 – long hood, slopping rear glass, 3 gauges above the center dash.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      It’s gotta be a V6 though. I think it’s high time for Nissan to bring back the VQ30DETT… obviously with VVEL, DI and all the good new stuff though. It could even be a hot V setup.

      Or they could get a little experimental…. ditch the turbo, keep the VQ37 as is, add in the hybrid system from the Q50 scaled down to save weight. Would be tough to keep that all down under 3,000lbs but one can dream right? I’m not in the market for this thing anyway.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I give you, the Nissan 560Z, with the 5.6L V8 from the Q70.

    And now you have a Japanese Corvette competitor.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    I dang near bought a Datsun 240Z back in the day.

    Until I bought a 454 Chevelle.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    What? So you want to make a BR-Z?

    Nissan can’t make a middle of the road car. Sports cars need to be extreme. So either chase the Miata or chase the Mustang/Camaro (which come in big displacement varieties).

    Economies of scale will make it so your BR-Z competitor won’t compete (just like the BR-Z twins don’t). You can’t make a BR-Z or a BR-Z competitor cheap enough to steal sales from V-6 300 hp muscle cars (that now handle well enough for most people on the street who tend to not like the feeling of “lightness”). You can’t make a BR-Z like thing light enough to compete with people that like that dynamic (and buy Miatas)

  • avatar
    dswilly

    I thought the last gen Z did that already

  • avatar
    carguy

    What Nissan needs to do is build a car that resonates with car buyers today and not 1970. The reason the 370Z never sold well is that its cramped, has barely enough luggage capacity for an overnight bag, has driver visibility as bad as the Camaro, sounds like a kitchen mixer at high RPM and can’t keep up with a GT Mustang. It’s also not exactly a great looking car.

    Fix those problem and people will buy it.

  • avatar
    Petra

    Why not both?

    How difficult would it be to make a “200Z” with the 1.6L. turbo from the Juke, while still offering a 370Z? All the parts are practically right there on the shelf. Invest a little money into sprucing up/lightening the chassis and offer the 200Z for $1,000 less than the FR-S. They wouldn’t sell a ton of them (see: FR-S), but they’d sell more Zs than they’re selling now with just the 370.

  • avatar
    geo

    Then what’s the current “Z” inspired by? If it’s not the original Z, then what’s with the name and styling cues?

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Use the GTR platform for a new Z, create a 4cyl RWD car as a new 240SX. There, I fixed it.

  • avatar
    akatsuki

    Basically make an FRS with about 100 more hp at the same price.

    Having it based on a RWD sedan platform was always going to compromise performance.

    Honestly, I’d rather get a new worldwide Silvia.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I bet they end up putting a CVT in it, cause it’s Nissan.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    nissan snubbed the idx, i snub nissan.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    The 240Z was a pretty serious drivers car. You could get killed in it. In a heartbeat. Is that what Nissan wants to make now? If it is, I’m in.

  • avatar
    Wheatridger

    Ah, the renowned and beloved 240Z! So stylish, but so fatally flawed. Just yesterday I happened to read an original review of of 1970’s hottest Datsun, from a 50th anniversary book on the history of Car and Driver. Here’s what they found behind the wheel:

    “The brakes … stop the car well enough, 259 feet from 80 mph, but very high pedal effort is required for a panic stop. In addition, the system is spongy and offers very little feel to help the driver control lock-up. In the rain things get even worse, at least in the test car. Water somehow splashes up onto the braking surfaces and sharply reduces stopping ability. In this respect the Z-car is not satisfactory.”

    Oh well, live and learn. But this matters to me because of a friend who spun his new 240Z on a wet off-ramp and hit broadside into a light pole- dead in his early 20s. Maybe he was driving like a fool, but this chance piece of evidence suggested that the car might be to blame.

  • avatar
    KevinC

    As a 2-time Z owner (240Z & 280Z) back in the day, and even a brief flirtation with a ’93 300ZX, I never thought I’d find “my” modern Z, especially after the 350Z came out, which made me blanch. But then the heavens opened, and one day I opened my copy of C&D to find that BMW had decided to make a coupe version of the Z4, something they said wasn’t going to happen when it first replaced the Z3. And suddenly a car I felt was quite homely as a ragtop, became quite handsome with the addition of a roof. M version? Why yes, if we’re doing the coupe, there will be an M. And so I stalked one for months until I could land the deal I wanted to make. I still have it today and want to hang onto it forever.

  • avatar
    John R

    Smaller? For what?? To fight and pick bones with the 86 twins?

    The sad fact that’s become glaring, in light of how “well” the FR-S/BRZ are doing, is that sports cars not named Miata , order to survive in North America, must demonstrate some utility and quantitative performance value.

    There is precedent with the 2+2 300ZX and I think the GT-R could benefit from sharing a down-market version of its motor with the Z.

    Perhaps they should be looking more at the 300ZX, not the 240, for inspiration not only for its looks but also its pragmatism.

    Oh! And bring Targa tops back! – https://goo.gl/SPj3Rh

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The problem with the Z is that it’s a neither-nor. It’s too big and expensive to be a Miata competitor, and the Corvette is radically superior performance-wise. Ditto for similarly priced Camaros, Challengers and Mustangs.

    The basics are here but there’s never enough motor to make the most of them. Solution? Make it a bargain ‘Vette. Right now the Chevy is the only game in town for true high performance at a (somewhat) reasonable price.

    1) Ramp up the performance – maybe a twin turbo version of the current engine.

    2) Offer a targa version.

    If they can get 350HP out of the current engine, a twin turbo setup would probably conservatively yield power in the mid-400 hp range. With that kind of power, the Z would be a very formidable performer. Price it at $45,000-$50,000, and you’d steal quite a few Corvette sales.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If they refuse to put a V8 in it like my suggestion above (since Corvette-type buyers want a V8, no?) then they can return to a TT like they did in the mid 90s on the 300ZX (my favorite, ever.) There’s precedent for it, certainly.

      I’m always pro-targa as well. There’s something very right about targa on this sort of vehicle, and that’s something Corvette doesn’t offer either.

      Also, offer a coupe and a 2+2 like they used to! I never realized there were both options until much later. Guess it’s hard to tell unless you see them parked next to one another.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I’m with you, Corey – the early to mid-1990s Z was the high water mark. That was a fantastic car.

        And if you didn’t like that, you had the Supra and RX-8, which were also excellent.

        That was a good time to be a sports car fan.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      While I think an overpowered Z would be awesome, the tone of the comments from Nissan indicate the opposite: they want a scaled down Z. While I’m not necessarily against that either (as it would make a more affordable Z) what worries me is they might wimp out power wise like the FRS/BRZ twins. When a 4 banger (turbo) Mustang cranks out 300 HP, does 0-60 in 5.5 the new Z has to has to be damn fast to impress anyone and generate sales. Clearly Nissan can built it, the GT-R proves they have the engineering. Heck if they just took the current V6 and dropped that into a lighter car they would have a screamer on their hands. Just imagine the GT86 with 300 HP (small twin turbo V6 would be my dream engine), as a 2+2 hatch with targa top = SOLD!

  • avatar
    Shinoda is my middle name

    But….but….but….

    C.A.F.E.


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