There's a lot to like about the first generation (S30) Nissan/Datsun 240Z/260Z/280Z sports car that was around from 1970-1978, many of which hold true with the 2023 Nissan Z. Looking back at the S30, I'm starting to think the new model is one of the best Z cars in recent times.

It has a beautiful and simple look
"When it comes to looks, the Datsun 240Z has the exact look anyone would expect for a sports car. What could be better than an affordable and good performance sports car with an attractive exterior?

Besides its fairly good performance, the external features of this two-door coupé says it all. The Japanese got tired of their boxy cars, so they gave the 240Z what it deserves; a sporty and an aggressive body shape.

Dumping its boxes, Datsun made something different for its first Z car, a stylish-looking body that has a long hood and a short rear - a typical sports car design. This design is what you would find in some modern-day sports cars such as many modern Ferrari models.

The protruded front bumper fits into the fender just perfectly, giving the circular headlights the perfect view.

The sides have flowing lines with no interruption with B-pillars, and the short rear is just all the car needs to have that great look.

One could arguably say that Yoshihiko Matsuo, the designer of the Datsun 240Z, did a very good job, and his design was way ahead of its time. This has to be the best feature of Datsun's sports car."


The Z is kind to its driver
"In most other ways the Z-car is kind to its driver. The steering effort is moderate; the shifting motions are light and acceptably precise; and the driving position is excellent."

It's a balanced GT car
"‘A rousing, full-bodied induction roar and surprising turn of pace are further incentive to push the long-travel throttle to the floor, and the long throw of the five-speed ’box (early cars had four ratios) feels well matched to the deep-chested power plant.

‘There’s real balance to the chassis, too. You’d need fists of ham to get it out of shape at road speeds, but you can feel the tyres loading up and feedback squirming through the thin, woodette wheel rim as if you’re driving a bigger and slightly lazier early MX-5. I’m sold by the time I’m a mile up the road."


The 240z is very comfortable
"And the 240Z is very comfortable which also makes it seem more expensive. The bucket seats are elaborately contoured and wrap around you slightly to keep you from sliding around. The backrest angle is adjustable in notches through a small range so you can find a position that suits. Head room, leg room and shoulder room are ample and the final little detail that makes it just right is the dead pedal."

Affordable (or at least it was)
"The 240Z I drove was a part of the “Vintage Z” program that Nissan launched in 1996 to drive interest and spur the collectability of the 240Z. The company commissioned several shops to restore 37 examples to factory condition, using factory parts. Those cars were then sold from Nissan dealerships for $24,995. It’s hard to imagine another car company doing something like that today at such a reachable price.

How much is one of those worth now? One of the 240Zs that was restored through this program sold in 2020 on Bring a Trailer for $105,240, roughly quadrupling in value over the span of 24 years."