With a new Nissan Z sports car generation here for the 2023 model year, let's take a look back at all six generations that came before it.
Use this quick read to get up to speed on Z history if you're unfamiliar with it. I also included an infographic below that just focuses on core specs and features.

The Evolution of the Z-Car
The Z-Series began in late 1969 (for the 1970 model year) with the Nissan Fairlady Z in Japan and the Datsun 240Z in the US. Its introduction was the culmination of 3 years of research and design that successfully looked to create a modern-styled, two-seater 6-cylinder coupe for the North American market.

First Generation: Nissan S30
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Fairlady Z
Launching in 1969, the Fairlady Z premiered the first generation of Z Cars. Also known as Datsun 240Z or "Z-car", the FairladyZ was manufactured for 9 years, as a representative car of Nissan all over the world. It sold more than 520,000 units, a record for sports cars within a single model.
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Datsun 240Z
The 1970 Datsun 240Z (a.k.a. the Nissan S30 or Fairlady Z) reached American soil in high demand circa 1969. Part of the first generation of Z-Cars, the 240Z brought with it a win in the 19th East-African Safari Rally.


Second Generation: Nissan S130
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A second generation Z (S130), was launched in 1978 as a 1979 model year. The new interior and exterior styling of the Datsun 280ZX attracted much interest and offered a higher level of luxury to meet the growing demands of the sports car customer. The 280ZX offered four wheel disc brakes, a 2+2 model, a Turbo model and the first offering of T-tops on a Z.


Third Generation: Nissan Z31
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The Fairlady Z evolved into the third generation Z31 in 1983. 300ZX was introduced to American markets in 1983 and produced through to 1989. This third-generation Z-Car (Z31) brought with it standard air conditioning, leather upholstery, and offered an affordable entry point for sports car enthusiasts similar to its’ predecessors. The hottest topic was newly designed turbo V6 engine. The winning car of the 1985 All Japan Rally Championships, it was an outright sales success for Nissan.


Fourth Generation: Nissan Z32
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The fourth generation Fairlady Z (Z32) or known as the Nissan 300ZX, was released in 1989. It was both bold and beautiful with its wide, low-proportioned styling, distinctive front end featuring headlights slanted at over 60 degrees, a lively silhouette, and the short overhang that accentuated its excellent maneuverability and increased performance.


Fifth Generation: Nissan Z33
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The Nissan 350Z, a two-door, two-seater sports car, kicked off production for the fifth generation of Nissan Z-Cars 2002 and ended the 6-year production hiatus in the US. 350Z, with its’ sleek redesign of 240Z DNA, helped rejuvenate the Nissan market presence going into the latter half of the decade.


Sixth Generation: Nissan Z34
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In production from 2009 to present, the 2010 Nissan 370Z coupe was a staple of the Nissan vehicle lineup. Built with a V6 engine and an available 7-speed automatic transmission, exquisite performance has been jam-packed into its sleek and refined aerodynamic frame. What is next for the Nissan Z?
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The Nissan 370Z roadster was noted for it's outstanding performance during the independent media group's annual "Topless in Miami" event. The Nissan 370Z was noted for its styling, ease of its convertible top operation, quietness and performance. More than two dozen vehicles were included in the annual event, in which vehicles are judged in various categories. The 370Z Roadster convertible was produced for nearly 10 years.


Seventh Generation (Z34 Chassis)
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The all-new Nissan Z serves up classic sports car proportions of a long hood and a short rear deck. Staying true to its performance roots, and iconic Z styling elements, it creates a complete modern design That's not all,. the all-new 2023 Z has a powerful 6-cylinder under the hood; a Front Midship, and a rear-wheel-drive design that places the engine farther back in the chassis for enhanced balance.
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Credit: Nissan Z Cars: 350Z, 240Z, Fairlady Z, 300Z & More | Nissan USA