[Article] Original Nissan Z Car Was Never Supposed To Happen

From Jalopnik.com ...
The Original Nissan Z Car Was Never Supposed To Happen ------------------------------------------------------
Former Nissan designer Yoshihiko Matsuo is the hero we need right now: a true believer in designing fun cars for the common man. His legendary 240Z went on to spawn an entire lineage of Datsun and Nissan Z cars. Yet Matsuo's bosses at Nissan corporate thought he was insane for even suggesting a car like the first Z. Here's how he had to fight to make it happen.
[Full disclosure: Nissan wanted us to check out their longest-running Z car enthusiast show, ZCON, so they gave us a couple of passes and bought us lunch and dinner for the day. There, Matsuo told us the story of how he got involved in cars and how the 240Z came to be through an interpreter.]
The original 240Z entered production in 1969 and was built through 1973 and on to 1978 if you count the bigger-engined and slightly redone 260Z and 280Z models. It not only drastically improved Americans' perception of Japanese cars, but it has been beloved by enthusiasts ever since.
To this day, Matsuo said his ideal sports car looks much like his original Z car: a small, lightweight chassis with a smaller but adequate engine. He's still a fan of inline six-cylinders, as they're easy to turbocharge to if you feel the car lacks power. Upgrades could include dual-clutch transmissions (though never a CVT) or even hybrid-assisted power, but the base, manual model of the car should remain simple, affordable and light: the same formula he used to create the 240Z.
Long article continues at <https://jalopnik.com/the-original-nissan-z-car-was-never-supposed-to-happen-1796498349
with a few pictures and a video clip showing the many pre-production variations.
Originally the car was apparently going to be similar to the later Mazda MX-5 ... a little MG two-seater roadsster. Thank goodness someone saw sense.
But later models of the "Z car" became more and more Americanised. The overweight, over-sized, and verging on ugly 300ZX being the worst example, but changes to the newer 350Z to make the 370Z are also heading in the same "fat ass ugly" direction (although the 350Z itself is an Americanised deeisng, hence the big fat ass on it). :-(
Nissan still needs to bring back a cheaper proper 2+2 sports coupe (the 200SX / 240SX / Silvia) as a competitor to the Toyota 86 / Scion FR-S / Subaru BRZ, a car that matches much of Matsuo's brief, other than perhaps the engine.
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On 01-Jul-17 12:36 AM, Your Name wrote:

Nissan's original Fairlady/Datsun sports SP311 replacement was a Yamaha design study. Nissan USA turned it down because the average American didn't fit. Nissan Japan cancelled the project as they wanted a car for both Japan and USA. Yamaha sold it to Toyota who sold it as the GT2000. It was so small they had to cut the roof off to fit Sean Connery in when making "You only live twice".
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