It’s an unexpectedly great time to be a fan of Japanese sports cars. The Toyota Supra is back, the Mazda MX-5 Miata is as excellent as it’s ever been, you can buy a new Civic Type R at your local Honda store, and the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 twins are not only available, they’ve just been reinvigorated and making its splashy debut this week we have the all-new 2023 Nissan Z. So, lets take a moment to look back and appreciate the icon that made the last letter of the alphabet synonymous with style, performance, and attainability.
The Fairlady Z premiered in 1969 as the first generation of Z Cars in Japan. The “Z-Car” was manufactured for nine years selling roughly 520,000 units around the world, which was a record for sports cars within a single model.
Americans got their take on the model the same year, rebadged as the Datsun 240Z. It featured a 151-horsepower, 2.4-liter inline-six engine. An upgraded version of the model, the 260Z, was released in 1974 and yet another take came in 1975 when the 280Z was introduced.