Lot 11 (Imperial War Museum Duxford, 18th March 2020)
Registration No: CDE230M
Chassis No: RLS30068940
MOT: March 2021
This tidy-looking 260Z is a left hand drive example manufactured in December 1974. Its well-presented Silver bodywork is matched to the original, damage-free Black PVC interior trim. The lusty straight-six engine drives through a four-speed manual gearbox, and this Z car's total recorded mileage to date is a relatively humble 62,000. In summary, 'CDE 230M' would appear to be a representative example of a fun model of sports car all too rarely seen on British roads, and it comes complete with its original owner's manual, service booklet and sales brochure.
The Z series would never have made production without the enthusiastic backing of Nissan USA's President Yutaka Katayama. A small team headed by Yoshihiko Matsuo developed the project and the inaugural version, the 240Z, made its debut in 1969. It was a smash hit Stateside, achieving an average of 45,000 sales per annum between 1971 and 1973. However, though popular in the UK with those still mourning the passing of the not dissimilar Austin-Healey 3000, its overall success was hampered by the combination of a high purchase price and residual anti-Japanese sentiment.
The straight-six (L24) motor was a revelation in driveability and would scream to its high-for-the-day 6500rpm redline, whilst the rugged all-round independent MacPherson strut suspension allowed for hooligan driving in a league beyond that of its natural competitor of the day, the 3-litre Capri. Arriving during 1973, the ensuing 260Z had a more adult, GT-esque feel about it, and was powered by an enlarged 2565cc engine (hence the '260' nomenclature). The newcomer further benefited from a strengthened floorpan / chassis rails and the adoption of a rear anti-roll bar. More luxuriously trimmed than its predecessor, the 260Z remained in production until 1978, when it was replaced by the 280Z, and the spirit of these early Datsuns can still be found in the Nissan 370Z of today.