Z Cars

New Zealand Classic Car - - Reader's Writes -

My apolo­gies if I seem to be hog­ging the lime­light again, but there are some points that should be raised re­gard­ing the above two pieces in the NZ Clas­sic Car, Au­gust 2015.

I be­lieve that the first Aus­tralian two-door hard­top was the XM Fal­con rather than the Monaro, this model hav­ing been launched in 1964 and be­ing of Aussie de­sign, as there was no US de­riv­a­tive on which it was based.

As for the Dat­sun Z, the fol­low­ing may be of in­ter­est to other read­ers —

the Z was cham­pi­oned by the pres­i­dent of Nis­san US, Yu­taka Katayama (nick­named Mr K), who be­lieved that an af­ford­able sports car with mod­ern ameni­ties was the key to get­ting Dat­sun on the map in that mar­ket. The Fair­lady name that graced the Z in Ja­pan was al­ready used on its pre­de­ces­sor, the Nis­san 1600/1800/2000 Sports. It fell into line with other Englishderived names like Blue­bird and Cedric, as the pres­i­dent of Nis­san at the time was an An­glophile, and the fact that Nis­san built Austins un­der li­cence be­fore strik­ing out with its own de­signs prob­a­bly also played its part. And there is the story that the name was cho­sen in as­so­ci­a­tion with the then hit stage pro­duc­tion, My Fair Lady.

The L se­ries en­gines which pow­ered th­ese cars is be­lieved by many to be a good copy of a Mercedes-benz de­sign. It was used in four- and six-cylin­der for­mats to power var­i­ous Dat­sun/nis­san ve­hi­cles well into the 1980s. Even though a five-speed man­ual be­came avail­able soon af­ter its re­lease, this op­tion re­mained un­avail­able in the US mar­ket un­til 1977!

Trust the above bits of trivia prove en­ter­tain­ing and in­for­ma­tive.

Colin Ong, Christchurch

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