The Nissan S30 (sold in Japan as the Nissan Fairlady Z and in other markets as the Datsun 240Z and later as the 260Z and 280Z) was the first generation of Z sporty 2 seater and 2+2 coupes produced by Nissan Motors, Ltd. of Japan from 1969 to 1978. It was designed by a team led by Mr. Yoshihiko Matsuo, the head of Nissan's Sports Car Styling Studio. HLS30 was the designation of the left-hand drive model and HS30 for the right-hand drive model.
The Fairlady Z was introduced in late 1969 as a 1970 model, with the L20A 2.0 litre straight-6 SOHC engine, rear wheel drive, and a stylish coupe body. The engine, based on the Datsun 510's 4-cylinder, produced 150 hp (112 kW) and came with a 5-speed manual transmission (240Z models received the L24 2.4 litre engine and a 4-speed manual). A less common 3-speed automatic transmission was optional from 1971 on, and had a "Nissan Full Automatic" badge. A 4-wheel independent suspension consisted of MacPherson struts in front (borrowed from the Datsun Laurel C30) and Chapman struts in back. Front disc brakes and rear drums were standard.
The 1970 240Z was introduced to the American market by Yutaka Katayama, president of Nissan Motors USA operations, widely known as Mr. K. The early 1970 model 240Z had a chrome "240Z" badge on the B-pillar quarter panel. Two vents were included in the rear hatch below the glass molding. In mid-1971 the B-pillar side badges were restyled with the letter Z vent, and the vents were eliminated from the hatch. Design changes for the U.S. model occurred throughout production and are described Design and Manufacturing Changes to the U.S. Spec.
The 240Z and 260Z used twin Hitachi one-barrel side-draft SU-like carburetors. The carburetors were changed beginning with model year 1973 to comply with emissions regulations, but the earlier carburetors were far superior for performance. Fuel injection (L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection, designed by Bosch) was added for the 280Z in 1975 for the US. This was primarily in order to cope with the difficulty faced in getting enough power using carburetors while still meeting US emissions regulations.
Due to its relatively low price compared to other foreign sports cars of the time (Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, etc.), it became popular in the United States and was a major success for the Nissan Motor Corporation, which at the time sold cars in North America under the name Datsun. The 240Z also broadened the image of Japanese car-makers beyond their econobox success. The Z was very successful in racing in the 1970s: Connecticut's Bob Sharp as well as Bob Bondurant (Brock Racing Enterprises-BRE) racing team with John Morton driving a Datsun 510 number 46 were particularly successful. Clearwater Florida (and later Maryland) racer Don Kearney had much success with the Z car between 1970 and 1978. The Z is also credited as a catalyst for the import performance parts industry. To keep Zcar interest alive, Nissan had a 1998 program where they purchased original 240Zs, professionally restored them, and sold them at dealerships for $24,000.