The Nissan S30 (sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z, then later as the 260Z and 280Z) is the first generation of Z GT 3-door two-seat coupés, produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan from 1969 to 1978. One of the most successful sports car lines ever produced, the trend-setting S30 was designed by a team led by Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan's Sports Car Styling Studio.
Seeking to compete head-to-head with established European sports cars, Datsun priced the new 240Z within $200 of the British MGB-GT in the United States, a five-year-old design that showed its age. The 240Z's sleek styling, modern engineering, relatively low price, and impressive performance struck a major chord with the public. Positive response from both buyers and the motoring press was immediate, and dealers soon had long waiting lists for the "Z".
As a "halo" car, the 240Z broadened the acceptance of Japanese car-makers beyond their econobox image. Datsun's growing dealer network compared to limited production imported sports cars manufactured by Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, and Fiat ensured both easy purchase and ready maintenance.
All variants of the S30 have four-wheel independent suspension consisting of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Nissan Laurel C30) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard.
The 240Z used twin SU-style Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors. These were replaced on the 260Z with Hitachi one-barrel side-draft carburetors beginning with model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, resulting in diminished overall performance. A Bosch designed L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection was added to US market 280Zs in 1975 to compensate.
Continuing through the 1975–1978 model years, other non-US markets still received the 260Z coupé and the 260Z 2+2 hatchback—the two-door, four-seat model. The S30 240Z is unrelated to the later 240SX, which is sold as the Silvia in Japan.
The Fairlady Z was introduced in late 1969 as a 1970 model, with the L20 2.0-litre straight-six SOHC engine, rear-wheel drive, and a stylish coupe body. The engine, based on the Datsun 510's four-cylinder, produced 130 hp (96 kW) and came with a five-speed manual transmission.