Z people | Steve Carlson

S30.world brings you content of real S30 (Datsun 240Z and Fairlady Z) people. In this episode the story of Steve Carlson from Fresno, California (United States of America).

“I was born in Northern Illinois outside of Chicago in 1953. Attended college in Wisconsin and fled the snow in 1975 with a move to California. I was hired as a School Psychologist in a district in central California. It was at this time I drove a Z for the first time and fell in love with the driving experience in a Z. The sound, smell and acceleration of a Z all contribute to the Z driving experience. I was hooked and soon bought a 73 Z that soon became my first autocross car.

S30 addiction

My S30 addiction started in 1980 when I purchased a 1973 Z. My involvement with the Zcar escalated to about a dozen Z’s since then. I currently own 4 of them. I kept trying to build the perfect Z for any occasion and finally realized that would just result in compromises. So now I have 4 of them. Two race cars (1 for autocross and 1 for vintage road racing). One 240 for the street (a 69 former autocross car -now set up for the street) and a stock 280ZXR used for vintage road rally’s.

The 69 is vin 00789. I bought it because of the low vin.

Autocross Datsun 240Z car

The autocross car is set up to run as a prepared car with flairs, 16 x 11 inch wheels, carbon fiber hood and hatch, no interior, no glass, door skins, no dash, a custom roll cage and a weight of 1,875 lbs. The engine makes 195 hp and 187 lbs of torque. It has a L28 engine that’s bored 40 over with flat top pistons. The p90 head it ported and polished with a custom cam. The trans is a stock 5 speed. The diff is 3.9 limited slip. Although the engine is not high compression, it has lived for 10 years without any loss in hp. Datsuns seem to live forever.”

Datsun rally car galleries



Have you ever seen the Datsun 240Z as a rally car? This car was a legend rally car back in the 1970’s. The car was driven by several famous drivers and won more than once a heroic race. We searched in our archives for some great Datsun 240Z and Nissan Fairlady Z rally content and we’ve found a lot. You can find this here on S30.world!

RAC Rally

Road testing for the Datsun 240Z

Pre-production road testing for the Datsun 240Z


For years, Z Car Fan’s wondered; how did “ROAD & TRACK” Magazine manage to get a photograph of the then brand new DATSUN 240-Z, being driven in L.A., for their January 1970 Cover. Knowing that the January issue hit the news stands in early Dec. 1969, the photographs had to have been taken at least a month or two earlier to make the publication deadline.

That “R & T” Cover Car very well could have been one of the two Production Prototypes sent from Japan for extensive road testing here in North America.

Boxed up for shipping from Japan, the two Silver Datsun 240-Z’s arrived here in time to start extensive road testing by the 2nd of October, 1969. Produced in September of 1969, we believe that they were HLS30 00004 and HLS30 00005. One with standard transmission and one with automatic transmission.

Pictured below: Mr. Katayama, President Nissan Motors USA, with the Road Test Crew and one of the Production Prototypes sent for initial road testing.

Above: Mr. Katayama, President Nissan Motors USA, with the Road Test Crew and one of the Production Prototypes sent for initial road testing

The Test Drivers were from Nissan Shatia Koki, a company partly (16%) owned by Nissan Motors Ltd., that specialized in building the more limited production vehicles. Nissan out-sourced the production of the Z’s to Nissan Shatia Koki from the beginning and on though the production of the 90+ 300ZX.

Mr. Hitoshi Uemura, Mr. Eiji Osawa and the road test team made two major loops with the Production Prototype 240-Z’s though America, accompanied by a Red Datsun 510 used as the chase car. Leaving L.A. they traveled East to New Orleans, then West back to L.A.. On their second loop for cold weather testing, they traveled North from L.A. to Dawson Creek, Canada then returned South through Calgary, Canada and back into the U.S. toward L.A. again. They also made a more minor loop from L.A. though Death Valley and back to L.A. for Hot Weather Testing (see red loop on Map Above). In all some 14,000 hard miles were spent wringing out the test cars.

Road testing for the Datsun 240Z

Above: Road Test Crew Gathered At BRASSO DATSUN in Calgary, Canada. Note Gift Of Five Gallon Hat From Texas Trip to Dealer.

Problems identified along the way were reported back to the factory by the Test Drivers. Problems identified included road noise, vibration from rear axle and steering wheel kick-back. The fiberglass headlight nacelle also developed cracks. As a result of unacceptable vibration, regular production of the Datsun 240-Z that had been ramping up from 52 units in Oct., to 388 in Nov. at the production facility, was slowed to all but a complete halt in Dec. 69 with only 97 240-Z’s being produced that month.

Above: Photo Courtesy of Digital Manga Inc.

The angle between the differential and half-shafts was determined to be too great, resulting in the unacceptable vibration. The solution was to move the differential rearward, but that presented a problem of interference with the gas tank. As a result the gas tank had to be made smaller, but to maintain the driving range necessary for America, the Z had to be made lighter. Every aspect of the construction of the Z was thus reviewed with the goal of making it lighter without sacrificing strength.

Above: Photo Courtesy of Digital Manga Inc.

A crack developed during US Road Testing so the fiberglass headlight nacelles were doubled in thickness and thus strength. Which solved the problem but added some weight back to the car.

With the early results from the US Road Test Cars, Nissan had the problems mostly corrected by the end of Dec. 69 and regular production began to ramp back up in January 1970.

If you would like to read more about the design and development of the Datsun 240-Z, I highly recommend the book “Project X 240Z” by Akira Yokoyama as published by Digital Manga Publishing. You can find sales outlets listed at the URL given.

Presented in the traditional Japanese “Manga” format (comic book drawings in American terms) you will have a greater appreciation for not only the Datsun 240-Z and the men that made it happen, you’ll be introduced to an entertaining art form for story telling. (make no mistake, this is an exceptionally well researched and accurately reported account, even if some artistic license has been taken..cjb)

Not only is it the most reasonably priced Book about the Datsun 240-Z you’ll ever buy, it is in my opinion, the one that lays out the story of the Z Car in the most accurate manor. Order a couple of copies and give one to a fellow Z Car Enthusiast.

Source: zhome.com

Datsun Tokyo motorshow

Tokyo Motor Show 1969

The 16th Tokyo Motor Show was held at Harumi. Also the Tomei Expressway opened in March this year and the demand for high-speed driving was growing rapidly in Japan. Significant progress was seen in the performance of Japanese vehicles. The 16th Tokyo Motor Show was highlighted by an array of sports cars and vehicles for motor sports. At the same time, many show models were displayed in the futuristic “dream cars” and commuter model categories, which were developed under the key concepts of high-speed and safety. Nissan used the 1969 Tokyo Motorshow to introduce the Nissan Fairlady Z, the Fairlady Z432 and the Datsun 240Z.

RAC Rally

RAC Rally

RAC Rally: Datsun 240Z’s international rally debut

The Datsun 240Z’s international rally debut came on the 1970 RAC Rally.
All 4 entries suffered differential failures, but Rauno Aaltonen and Paul Easter survived to finish 7th in TKS33 SA 695.
The same car that was roadtested by Autocar after the event.

Scroll down for some great pictures of these legendary Datsun 240Z rally cars.

26e 1970 RAC Rally - 196 Entries  13 -18 Nov. 1970
Rauno Aaltonen - Paul Easter 240Z #18 Finished 7th
Tony Fall - Geraint Phillipes 240Z #25 DNF - Differential
Edgar Hermann - Hans Schuller 240Z #32 DNF - Differential
John Bloxham - Norman Salt 240Z #55 DNF - Differential
27e 1971 RAC Rally 231 Entries   20 - 25 Nov. 1971
Edgar Hermann - Hans Schuller 240Z #5 17th Place
Shekhar Mehta - Lofty Drews 240Z #26 19th Place
Rauno Aaltonen - Paul Easter 240Z #10 DNF Puncture
Tony Fall - Mike Wood 240Z #18 DNF Accident
Rob Janssen - Jaap Dik 240Z #96 Retired
28e  1972  RAC  Rally  192 Entries  2 - 5 Dec. 1972
Rauno Aaltonen - Paul Easter 240Z #6 11th Place
Tony Fall - Mike Wood 240Z #18 18th Place
Shekhar Mehta - Martin Holmes 240Z #26 Retired
Roy Fidler - Barry Huges 240Z #34 43rd Place
29e  1973  RAC Rally  198 Entries   17 - 21 Nov. 1973
Harry Kallstrom - Cleas Billstram 240Z #5 14th Place
Tony Fall - Mike Wood 240Z #17 Accident
Chris Sclater - Martin Holmes 240Z #22 Accident
Mario Figueiredo - Jose Megre 240Z #70
Kevin Videan - Peter Rushford 240Z #71 21st Place
Richard Jackson - Harry Heath 240Z #195
30e  1974  RAC Rally  190 Entries  16 - 20 Nov. 1974
Curly Cathal - AustinFrazer 240Z #25 Accident
Kevin Videan - Peter Valentine 260Z #53 DNF Ignition
Roger Stubbs - A. Golden 240Z #181
31e  1975  RAC Rally  236 Entries  22 - 26 Nov. 1975
Kevin Videan - Peter Valentine 240Z #66 21st Place

Read more

S30 restoration



Where do you start and when do you stop? That’s the question, if you start taking something apart you can not stop anymore. The highest level Datsun 240Z restoration we do is an “as the Datsun 240Z left the factory”, every part, if you see it or not, went through our hands. We do everything to give all the parts the treatment it had in the 70’s. In this case it is extremely important to know how it was when new. Our collection first paint Datsun 240Z cars, our project Datsun 240Z cars and all the NOS parts we have to help us to create “Datsun 240Z cars as they left the factory”. Sometimes you have to compare more cars to understand which part was on which car. Most of the time it is very logical. It is always important to imagine how it was made to be able to give it the same appearance.

Light weight car

When the Datsun 240Z came to the market it was an absolute light weight car. Expect of the Z432-R all the first cars had an overall sheet metal thickness of 0,7 mm. And also all parts were made as light as possible. So repairing the body means you have to use the original thickness of the metal that was used for that part of the body. Repairing the body you can do in many ways. We prefer to do it in a way that you can’t see that there was a repair. And to use stitch welding so that it really looks like it came out of the factory.

Contacts all over the world

A lot of the knowledge we have comes from all over the world. We have contacts in the USA, Japan, the UK, all over the world with Z people from there. But real knowledge you only get by taking them apart with your own hands, and compare with other cars, and that really makes the difference for us. Doing that the car becomes like a puzzle. It really helps a lot that till today we restored or customized more than 50 S30’s, so there is already a lot of experience.

Availability of parts

Another big challenge at Datsun 240Z restoration is the availability of Datsun parts. Some parts are still available from Nissan, although the way it is plaited or produced is different. But depending of the restauration they can be helpful. If the original parts are still on the car we try to restore them. These parts survived almost 50 years and the build quality of the components on the car were very good. Parts like a brake master or brake cylinders have to be restored for an “as it left the factory” restoration. Aftermarket parts are available but quality is less and doesn’t have the appearance of original. We have started producing fuel tanks because they cause a lot of problems and they are not available, either original or aftermarket. In case you have an uncracked dash you are very lucky. A dash can be a bottleneck, a perfect replacement is difficult to find, and is becoming extremely expensive. Other solutions are a dash cap, cheap but always visible, a repair if the cracks are small or an aftermarket replacement cover. And so has every part its own story.

Datsun 240Z restoration: custom rebuild

Keep the shape and make it more to your own wish. An S30 is very easy to transform in a performance car. The total structure of the car can be reinforced with or without a roll bar and if you want to transform it in a performance car we can stitch weld the whole body shell to make it stiffer, a roll bar gives more protection and helps to make the car even more stiffer.

Brakes, LSD’s, transmissions wheels, driveshaft upgrades, engine upgrades naturally aspirated, or with turbo.In essence, we can build YOUR car!

Z people Steve Carlson Datsun 240Z

All about S30


We love to share interesting content about the history of the Datsun 240Z and Nissan Fairlady Z. Here you find content from all over the world: from Japan to the United States of America. In recent years we have also met many Z enthusiasts from all over the world. They have shared their Datsun Z and Fairlady Z passion with us. These are real Z people and you can read and see their story here. Read all about the S30 history:

Datsun Z and Fairlady Z history:

Tokyo Motor Show 1969

Pre-production North American road testing for the Datsun 240Z

Z people

Z people | Steve Carlson