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November 19, 2019
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Datsun Fairlady Roadster to 280ZX - The Z-car Story

Datsun Fairlady Roadster to 280ZX - The Z-car Story
Low stock! Foreword by Yutaka Katayama ('Mr K' - the 'Father of the Z-car')

By Brian Long
About the Author

Paperback • 208 pages • 250mm tall x 207mm • 304 mainly colour illustrations

ISBN: 9781845840310

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Foreword by Yutaka Katayama ('Mr K' - the 'Father of the Z-car').
The author is an acknowledged motoring historian living in Japan.
The author has received full co-operation from the factory.
Full year-by-year coverage of all production models.
Japanese, US and European markets covered in great detail.
Compliments a second volume (already published) on the Nissan 300ZX and 350Z models.
Racing and rallying exploits in detail.
Well over 200 contemporary pictures, mainly in colour.
In addition to photographs, advertising and brochures have been used.
Useful appendices supplement detailed text.


The Datsun 240Z inspired a generation of enthusiasts, outselling and outperforming almost all of its contemporaries. This book covers the full story of the Datsun sports cars, from the Fairlady roadsters through to the final 280ZX production model, illustrated throughout with contemporary material.

Independent Reviews

Review from The Automobile, January 2007

Announced in October, 1969, the Datsun 240Z quickly earned worldwide recognition as the car the big Healey should have become. But the book starts earlier than that with a history of Datsun, followed by the Fairlady sports cars and the Goertz-designed prototype which sired both the Toyota 2000GT and, in response, the 240Z. The author lives in Japan and has had considerable help from the factory to tell a very complete story, including buyers’ guides and competition histories – the 240Z was a particularly effective rally car.

Review from Retro Cars magazine, December 2006

With a foreword by Yukata Katayama, "father of the Z-car", you know you're on to a winner with Fairlady Roadster to 280ZK: The Z-car story. Japan-based author Brian Long had the full co-operation of Nissan when writing this book, so it's an authoritative history of the cars from the launch of the Fairlady Z in 1969 onwards. It's insightful and informative with some great archive shots, and useful appendices feature general and engine specs as well as a buyers' guide.

Review by Paul Guinness for Classic Car Mart, November 2006

This latest title from Brian Long covers one of the most fascinating times in the history of Datsun (Nissan), and is guaranteed to appeal to any classic sports car enthusiast who enjoys a good tale.

The entire story is told in great detail, ending with the 280ZX of the 1980s, and is an entertaining and interesting read for anyone fascinated by the Japanese motor industry.

Review by Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car, September 2006

Simply called the Z by fans and general auto enthusiasts alike, the Japanese sports car landed on American shores as the 240, and the history of the model varies as much as the number designations over the years, depending on whom you talk to. Most of the general history is easily passed from one person to another; however, the deep background and its birth are rarely shared - at least among the general enthusiasts.

Brian Long has finally brought the early story of the Z to the forefront in the first of two volumes, the second of which has already been released to the public, covering the 300 and 350ZX editions. Welcomed and endorsed by Yutaka Katayama-the father of the Z car - Long dives deep into the humble beginnings of the automaker's history that began with the DAT in 1914.

Rediscovered is the history of the company, the meaning of the word Datsun, and why the letter Z was chosen for their new sports car. Long does not stop at the U.S. import market, but also divulges the history behind its entry into the U.K., and its stunning on-track success in the '70s and early '80s, both at home and abroad, with drivers such as Bob Sharp, John Morton and Paul Newman.

The 208-page story includes 298 illustrations, as well as general specifications covering all Z models and the early Fairlady Roadsters, not to mention engine specs and production figures. Whether you're a Z enthusiast or just an admirer of sports cars in general, you'll enjoy this.

Review by Octane Magazine, August 2006

JAPAN was a relatively late entrant to the sports car market but, when it took the plunge, it did so in its usual thorough manner: despite having virtually no sporting heritage the Fairlady of the I960s was a genuine MGB rival and, as we all know, the 240Z finished it off. Liberally illustrated with period ads, Brian Long's softback is lively yet full of detail and includes chapters on Z-cars in racing and rallying.

Review Classic Cars, August 2006

IF YOU want to know the full production history of the Z, this is the book for you. In full chronological detail over 200 pages, it gives you a concise history of Datsun before progressing to the tale of the marque's hugely successful sports car, right up to the point where it became a flabby cruiser.

It's well-researched, down to demystifying the relationship between stylist Count Albrecht von Goertz and the 240Z. Illustration is plentiful and there are brief appendices on buying advice and technical specs.
From Australian Classic Car, February 2005

This publication covers the often forgotten history of this Japanese manufacturer before moving on to its earlier contributions to the sports car arena. It is not very well know that, under the influence of Austin, Datsun was producing open sports cars in the early 1950s. We are taken through those early days and on to the release of the Fairlady in 1961 and are reminded that despite its resemblance to the MGB, the Japanese car was released first.

It's interesting to read about the 240Z's competition history and the various models available in other parts of the world. Sadly, the DOHC Z432 engined version never reached our shores. Although concentrating on the earlier versions, the book then continues with the 260Z and 28OZ. Well recommended.

Review for New Zealand Classic Car

Well, if you’re an old b*gger like me, the term Z Cars brings memories of a British TV series where the cops drove Mk 3 Zephyrs! However, the Datsun 240Z has been around long enough- and sold enough – to be regarded as a classic in its own right.

Once again, author Brian Long has done a really good job with a marque history in Veloce’s usual very well-illustrated soft-cover format ( The fact that he lives in Japan no doubt helps with the contacts that a comprehensive book like this needs.

I like the way the book sets the scene with the early history of Datsun, including their assembly of the early 50s Austins and then goes on to the rather handsome-looking Fairlady made from 1962 – 70 (“Road & Track” said that dollar for dollar it offered more than any other sports car).

The early Z-cars had a sharp and stylish look, matched by pretty good performance. The book takes us through all the variations from the 240Z through the 260, to the -,280ZX. That was a rather ‘softer’ GT car (Long makes the E-type/XJ-S comparison), but which still sold well. The US was the main market for these cars, and as usual we are taken through all the many variations and specs with plenty of pics and adverts to plot the model’s development. Interestingly, over 5000 260Zs were sold in Australia, twice the sales figures for the UK market!

And they played a part on the competition scene. Works 240 and 260Zs were entered in 22 world rally events, though with only 2 victories- in the 1971 and ‘73 Safari Rally. On the US road racing scene, drivers like John Morton and Paul Newman won races and national championships. The Samurai and the turbos aren’t forgotten either. And, earlier in the piece, Group 7 Nissans won the 1968 & ’69 Japan GPs.

The next volume will take the story on from the 300ZX but if you have any interest in what was known for a long time as the successor to the ‘Big Healeys’, you will enjoy this book.


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