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Early Australian Motoring Press Review HS30 0004


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Hi Guys,

With all the discussion on early cars recently and with a previous thread where we discussed fender mirrors. I thought these photos and article would interest some of you.


The text is a bit hard to read (sorry about that, might see if I can type it out at some point).




In particular I love this photo of the young lady with head scarf driving the early 240z coupe. The 60s was awesome.









The other photos we have seen before.




Here is a nice shot of it also - what looks to be South Bank Melbourne. (note the Datsun 240K coupe (C210) next to it).




I originally thought it was orange, but it's red 905.


I sincerely hope you all enjoy these photos as much as I do. It's good to know the car is still out there and in safe hands.

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I asked Lindsay if I could share that material and he said it was fine.


His daughter is looking for more photos in their archives of HS30 0004 for me.

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After much text zoom and squinting I believe I have copied the first article down relatively correct.


Some 10 months after its release in Japan, the Datsun 240 Z is now available in Australia at a price around $4600 it should steal a few sales from some of the established prestige names.


With all this current chat about Supercars, XU-1s, four-barrel Hemis and things like that. It might come as a shock to the system to find that manufacturers other than the Big Three, are still producing vehicles which exceed 125 mph.


Many manufacturers have been doing it for quite some time - like Jaguar, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche and Maserati - to name a few. To that illustrious list you can now add the Datsun 240Z.


It is claimed that this device has a top speed of 130 mph and even allowing for the traditional amount of Japanese over-enthusiasm for their own products, there is little doubt that the car will better one-two-five.


That's quick!


But as we read in all the dailies speed isn't everything. And in the case of the Datsun speed certainly isn't all it has to offer.


Styling is smooth and sleek and we'll back it in as one of the best looking sports coupes to be released for quite some time. To add further to our pleasant thoughts on the car is its price - as near as dammit to $4600 which is a long way short of that required for a similarly styled vehicle from the European scene.


Interior layout is strictly sports luxurious. Directly ahead of the drive are the easily read tacho and speedo, while centrally located on the panel are a further three binnacle shrouded clusters containing auxiliary instrumentation.


The three-spoked, wood rimmed steering wheel operates a 17.8:1 ratio rack and pinion assembly with light switches, turn indicators etc.. sprouting from the steering column in standard Japanese fashion.


Ranking high on our test of desirable features for a car of this type is a five speed gearbox - naturally enough the 240z has one. A short lever is perfectly positioned on the centre console with the hand-brake sitting between the drivers seat and the console.


The seats themselves are deserving of special mention contoured for maximum support, they are vented for air circulation during the hot months and have a well proportioned headrest. Certainly they look more like custom made rally accommodation than normal GT seats.


One thing to bear in mind -- whereas most coupes lay claim to 2+2 accommodation the 240z makes no bones about it, 2 seats and that's that.


Mind you where it may where it may suffer slightly from this lack of accommodation it more than gains from the fact that not only has it space to carry a tooth brush it can also carry a hefty amount of luggage with loading being easily loading being easily accompanied via the wide rear opening door.


The car itself falls into something of a unique category. It costs considerably less than vehicles such as Porsche, Jaguar and obviously Ferrari. It has considerably greater engine capacity (2393cc) than comparably priced cars like the Lotus Europa and Fiat 124 coupe and it has a greater top speed.


Finish at least on the car we have seen is excellent and compares more than favourably with some of the more expensive units. Appearance is a winner - it looks what is is - a luxurious fast GT type tourer.


Mechanically it features nothing that is revolutionary disc brakes up front, drums at the rear - a single overhead camshaft engine with a sensible compression ratio 9.1 and a horsepower output of 151 at 5600 rpm. Torque is 145 ft/lbs at 4400 rpm - as we said nothing revolutionary.


I think that is probably in the price range  that it comes close to being revolutionary.


When you speak of 130 mph performance, quality finish, sleek styling and high speed handling you usually think of prices from $5000 upwards. There are exceptions to the rule, but not many. The Datsun is one of them. As readers will discover for themselves when they buy ones of these cars, the 240z is indeed "something else".


In short it seems that Datsun has moved into yet another segment of the market considering the strict domain of the European car.


Such is life.

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We fine the handsome Datsun 240z a little hard to place on the Australian market and feel it falls between two stools. Maybe it is unfair of us to categorise this car - which could be fore-runner of the new class of low-cost GT machinery.


But on current analysis the 240z would not be sufficiently exotic for the jet-setters, (requiring a car for little more than decoration of their Toorak Road/Darling point carport), nor the die-hard club racer who will find the ultimate handling clumsy and the engine's specific output for weight not quite up to the mark.


What then, is this wide-application compromise called 240z?


It's an all-new car form Datsun releasaed in Japan at the Tokyo show October 1969 as the 1600 Silvia. It has since evolved as a 2.4 litre - not the Datsun 2400 Super six engine nor a rejuvenated Skyline GTB two-litre (Datsun and Prince amalgamated some years ago) but an all new sohc six based on the 1600cc four. The cylinder sizes, single overhead cam valve gear and cast-iron with alloy head are all identical to the 1600 specification but two extra pots take the capacity out to 2393 cc for a 151 bhp raing at 5600 rpm and 145.7 lb.ft. of torque at 4400rpm.


There is a five-speed gearbox, again based on the 1600 with strengthening and different ratios, while the suspension is independent all round, the brakes disc front, drum rear and the front engine rear drive layout quite conventional with 52.4/47.6 weight distribution.


Pandering to American taste, the cockpit is a working exercise in Naderism and pressure moulded plastics. The dash is disarmingly plain, with two deeply-recessed dials for speedo and tacho and three dash-top recesses. Such is the angling and sunken dials that the passenger is kept in oblivious innocence of the Zee's stirrings.


One dial is a clock, the other two combination gauges show oil, fuel, water amps.


The whole approach is almost aeronautic, right down to the centre console with pull-back slides for choke and hand throttle, reminiscent of aircraft throttle controls.


By neatly stowing map light, centre ventilator, heater controls, radio, cigarette lighter and ashtray in a console ahead of the gearshift, are vast expanses of uncluttered dash area. Lights, washers and wipers are all grouped at the end of a left side column stalk and are easy to use if not offering fingertip control.


There's no headlight flasher but the indicators are on the right and the strange sounding horn comes with a push of the awkward centre, Mustang-like boss.


Drop into this cockpit and you have a classic driving position. The seats have a headrest extension built-in, the accelerator pedal has a long pad, the gearlever is where it should be and there's fresh air "eyeball" ventilation (from the 1600,) just to keep you cool.


Initial driving impressions show the twin (Hitachi) SU carburetted 2.4 six is quite cammy but smooth, the gearbox/clutch integration annoyingly jerky, but the ride superb.


Even when we had mustered smoothing the gearshift (and that took constant concentration for smooth slow-running), the Datsun became no easier to drive, in fact by the end of our test admittedly mostly traffic conditions, the Zee's charm had long disappeared for us.


The best part of the whole car is the excellent rear suspension which gives a soft ride and safe and controlled handling.


It was easy to squirt along with great bursts of acceleration but considerably harder to dribble along smoothly. Despite its capacity, the overhead cam six only gets "with-it" after 4000 rpm and then rushes through to the redline at 7000 rpm. There's little low speed torque and the Datsun only achieves dramatic acceleration times with some hard driving - upon which it thrives. The heavy-handed driver should like the strong response to quite brutal treatment.


The test car had convex rear vision wing mirrors which, with a wide inside mirror to match the back window, a panoramic windscreen and no quarter vents gave clear all-round vision. It is unnecessary for the driver to swing for the driver to swing around (except for backing) to position his car accurately in traffic or parking. The tall seats are no worry.


Although the gear shift is anything but brilliant, the ratios are well spaced and the overdrive fifth good for expressways. The shift is slow and the synchros obstructive rather than protective. The engine is quiet but will protest when revs run low on the higher ratios.


Using the gears liberally, the fuel figure was reasonable 23.8 mpg and at worse will drop little under 20, Revved through the ratios, we thought the 240z sounded not unlike the Torana XU-1 with its crisp, hard six cylinder note.


In the Japanese industry, Datsun leads the way in independent rear suspension design -- and the all new 240z is no exception. Both front and back, the Datsun uses coil-strut towers -- the front a typical MacPherson arrangement of lower A-arm supporting the coil/shocker unit and a link-type anti-roll bar. The exception is a trailing strut to brace the A-arm's lateral movement.


The rear is also a MacPherson set-up, or more correctly a Chapman rear end as it follows in essence the Lotus Elan configuration, the hub carrier is located on a very wide base A-arm with the strut attached to the rear, and, at the top inside the luggage area. The front A-arm pivot point is a strong cross-member but at the rear a frail-looking steel hanger holds the pivot point. A further pressed steel bracket supports the diff housing at the rear, while the front is supported on the same crossmember as the front A-arm pivot. Drive is taken from a 3.7 to 1  Dana spicer free differential via double universalled drive-shafts to the drum braked rear wheels.


Overall the suspension gives a superb ride with road feel in the E-type class - though a little too rubbery to give the precision of a Porsche. The front A-arms are rubber bushed and bolted to a separate rubber-insulated sub-assembly which in turn is attached to the chassis rails.


However the heavily canted spring towers control front camber and compliance to reduce any understeer. The rear suspension is ideally suited to Australian roads as it runs stiffer-rate shocks, is set higher and in direct comparison to the Jaguar's similar set-up bottoms less.


Traction is so good we thought the car had a limited slip diff. The engine's torque curve also helps as there's no low speed brute torque to initiate wheelspin where the power-lock diff is essential to get instant spread of torque from the Jaguar's muscles.


However it is a feather in the Datun's cap that the Zee can be compared to the E, nearly twice the price!


When you do get the Datsun on cam and force power through the back wheels there is the tremendous sensation of controlled traction like the E-Type. Both cars will just sit their backsides into a corner and GO.


Like radial tyres, the breakaway point is less progressive. Becasue the back tyres dig-in under lateral forces (rather than sliding predictably like a well located five axle), a high-speed slide or spin could be a heart-stopping experience.


In the wet a power tail-slide is easy to control and fun but there are high lateral G-foces at the breakaway point in the city.


Generally the Zee's handling is very secure, safe and inspiring. The test car was shod with Australian Dunlop SP radials. There was little squeal even when taking maximum advantage of the handling. Ride is very smooth with a feeling of solidarity. The 14-inch wheels will absorb major trauma without flinching - or unseating the passenger. That standard of compliance is hard to achieve while compromising for sports car handling and Nissan deserve full marks in the suspension and ride departments.


The only regression is a trifle too much "walk" at high speed, which suggests favouring low speed low speed bump traction and ride rather than high speed stability. The same is true of an E-type compared to the Porsche 911E.


The Datsun develops an unnerving "walk" at around 95 mph, the Jaguar around 120 mph whereas you just don't find the limit in a Porsche.


This "walk" is closely associated with steering which in the Zee is fast acting rack and pinion gear. For a 31 3/4 ft. circle there is three turns of lock on a 17.8 to ratio. There is tremendous steering "feel", and the car will "walk" its way through fast undulations very accurately. However this precision means the "walk" at ultra high speed becomes twitchiness.


As you can tell, althugh there may be some shortcomings in its high speed road manners. The Datsun is a real GT despite its modest price.


Once past the cam point the six really turns on and will fly through to 6800rpm - the limit which gave 41 mph in first, 65 in second and 91 in third. Fourth gives the 240z its top speed of 119 as the lazy, touring fifth gear becomes a little breathless - which is surprising as it is useful around town.


The quarter mile from standstill will rush up in 16.7 seconds which puts the Datsun  in the same performance-for-capacity-class as the Torana XU-1.


It is an easy car to tour although the restricted mileage in the Capitol Motor's test car kept us mostly in the city limit.


Although such high speed capacity may warrant four wheel disc brakes, the Datsun's disc front/drum rear brake system with tandem master cylinder and power assistance contains the car well. The pedal is quite heavy and not very sensitive, but there is tremendous stopping power due to good traction. In the wet with the aquajet tread pattern (which suited the Datsun admirably) the brakes were most assuring. We found ourselves committing the car to dry road braking distances with few qualms.


And on the expressway the plume of spray behind the stuffy tail showed just how well the SP radials squeegee away water.


We were disappointed with the quality of trim and fittings. Carpets around the seat runners, and head-lining trim was loose and ill-fitting. And this is where we feel the Datsun will fail in the eyes of many discerning buyers. The luggage compartment is neatly carpeted and has luggage securing straps. The luggage hatch (with a wide glass arear and through-flow vents) is supported on a compressed nitrogen counterbalance stay but there is no interior courtesy light working from the hatch door. A roof ligh is set above the suspension towers and there's a glovebox courtesy light - neither operative on the test car, which left us the meagre glow of a neat dash, map light. The headlights too were dismally poor for a car of this nature.


The wide arc two speed wipers (slow and slower) would be all at sea on an expressway too (as we found out) and the washers weren't up to the usual Japanese standard. 


Ventilation on the other hand is very good with dash-end eyeballs and a centre swivel grille. Boosted fresh air is fed through all three. The heater is most effective but the control slides jammed on the test car.


We can see the 240z maintaining its pose value until availability becomes too wide - or the GTR-X Torana is released. Then it will have to look its real abilities as a sports/GT car.


There has been some careful thought behind the minor details - like the fuel filler spillage flap borrowed from Porsche, and the hinged bonnet hatches to make checking the washer water and battery easy, borrowed from the Toyota 2000GT. But other points like tinny horn, no headlight flashers and no heated rear glass don't fit the GT image.


But what is there makes an overall bonus package - from the waste space in the nose for styling sake to the magnificent rear suspension for handling and ride's sake. 


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  • 2 weeks later...



Here is a nice shot of it also - what looks to be South Bank Melbourne. (note the Datsun 240K coupe (C210) next to it).






Thats a Datsun Skyline C210 4 door (yes they where called Skylines), next to the Zed. The C110 was the Datsun 240k.

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Yes I also have photos of Len Brennan's first 240z at Sandown raceway early 70s. I found them while going through some old CD's I had in storage at my parents place. I'll see if I can get in contact with him and make sure he's ok with me posting photos of him and his car.


It's a white 240z with blue interior and fender mirrors. Sandown also looks incredibly different too ;).

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry the first two pages are sideways for some reason. Maybe one of the moderator can edit the post and spin them?


Here is the rest of the article.


There is also a road test for the Datsun 1600 if anyone is interested i can take photos of those pages too.



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Sorry the first two pages are sideways for some reason. Maybe one of the moderator can edit the post and spin them?


Haha, I wish I could perform such simple magic like that with the click of a button. I'll have to download re-orientate and then re-upload.


By the way thanks for those photos, that's HS30 0004 as the main star in those photos.




That bird with the head band is in both articles. Looks like she really got around (the car that is) and was featured in several publications. Interestingly notice the black stamping on the inner wheel well of the engine bay?


It looks like NO2050, I wonder what that means? I'm guessing it was done in the factory?


Maybe I should merge threads?


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  • 11 months later...
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Another couple of early 240z's used in press releases.


The first is a 907 Green 240z with early style fender mirrors and NSW registration: BQD-327, it looks like it has a vinyl roof and butterscotch interior.

I've never seen an AU market car with 907 Green exterior and the butterscotch exterior. I guess they were all changed?


What is interesting though is that the cover car is different to the car featured in the inside pages. The car on the inside pages is Victorian registration: KSE-731. Since the image is greyscale I don't know what colour the car is, but given it's a dark colour it could have also been 907 Green.








The text in the embedded images may be hard to read, so you can access and zoom on the images here.



Gearbox ratios:


70 model gear set.

1st 2.957:1

2nd 1.858:1

3rd 1.311:1

4th 1.000:1

5th 0.852:1


Diff: 3.90:1


@Lurch - Just want to highlight it mentions the tyres are: Dunlop SP Sport radials (Aquajets) - we discussed this at his BBQ in Victoria a couple of weeks back ;).


Does anyone know if either of the cars above still exist? Both appear to be early 70 models.

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Here is another car, this time 1973 model.


Victorian Registration: LMJ-974 (as an FYI my 72 240z was LCU-540).


A couple of interesting observations, the "BRE style spook" at the front was on it in 73. I always assumed this was a North American appendage but it seems we had it from the beginning also.


The radio is a Hitachi TM-1081ZB(S) radio, further supporting the idea that we only got that radio in our early S30Z's (240z's).


73 Gearbox ratios are listed as:


73 model gear set.

1st 2.906:1

2nd 1.907:1

3rd 1.308:1

4th 1.000:1

5th 0.864:1


Diff: 3.90:1







You can access larger photos here:



If anyone has more press reviews of 240z's in Australia please feel free to share here, they make for excellent reference material.

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Just as an FYI I'd really love to find evidence of an AU delivered car that was Blue/Blue (exterior/interior) combo. Up until recently I didn't think a 907 Green with butterscotch interior existed. So was excited to see it did! Can anyone find me the blue/blue combo. Probably my personal favorite.

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