Nissan brings 3 1960s Datsuns to Z Car Convention

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It’s a year shy of the 50th anniversary of the original Z , the 1969 Datsun 240Z two-seater, but Nissan will reach back farther than that in displaying some of its iconic vehicles and sports cars as the 1st annual International Z Car kicks off Tuesday in Atlanta.

Nissan will display four of its vintage cars: a 1960 Datsun 1200 Sedan, a 1960 Datsun Fairlady Roadster, a 1965 Datsun 320 Truck and the No. 83 GTP-ZX Turbo, the 1988-89 IMSA Championship race car. Also appearing during the five-day festivities will be motorsports legends Peter Brock of Australia and American John Morton, plus Yoshihiko Matsuo, the designer of the original 240Z.

The 1200 Sedan was the first Datsun introduced to the U.S., originally unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show as the 1000 Sedan. It used the same platform as the Datsun 1200 Pickup truck and sold 146 units from 1959-1960 as the 1000 and 1,318 as the 1200. It featured a 1,189-cc inline-four — the model’s name echoed its approximate engine displacement — making 47 horsepower and 60 pound-feet of torque mated to a four-speed column-shift manual transmission.

The Fairlady was the forerunner of the Z car line, and the convertible was the first sports car Datsun exported to the U.S. from Japan, using the same engine as the 1200 Sedan. It was based on the Datsun 223 truck and was reportedly named in reference to the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.”

Datsun built the compact 320 from 1961 through 1965 as the second generation of truck exported to the U.S. Its engine — again, with the identical displacement — was upgraded to an advertised 60 hp and 67 lb-ft. of torque, Nissan says its “low 4.88 gearing made motoring above 60 mph impractical.” It featured a torsion bar independent front suspension, replacing the solid beam axle found on earlier truck models.

Jumping ahead a couple of decades, the Nissan GTP-ZX Turbo used a racing-modified version of the turbocharged V6 engine found in the Nissan 300ZX. It went on to become the first car to defeat the Porsche 962 and win the Constructor’s Championship in 1989, 1990 and 1991.

The ZCON runs Oct. 16-20. More information is here.



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