Japanese Invasion

No, I am not referring to a planned invasion of the US by the Japanese military during World War II. (By the way, I believe Vince Bagli–subject of today’s first post–served in the Navy during that war.)

On this day in 1958 the first Datsun dealership in the US was opened in San Diego by Ray Lemke. In 1960, 1,640 Datsun vehicles–including trucks–were sold in the US. By 1970, that number had increased to 155,021, also including trucks. In 1980, 516,890 Datsun cars (not including trucks) were sold in the US.

That is simply a remarkable transformation of the US automobile market, a true Japanese invasion. In just the ten years from 1960 to 1970, US Datsun sales increased almost a hundred-fold. Of course, 1970 was also the model year introduction for the legendary 240Z. From Classic Cars, a picture of a 1970 240Z:

 

See the source image

 

As I have written before, I think the exterior design of the 240Z is one of the greatest in automotive history. One trend in the market for these cars is, believe it or not, resto-modding. I have seen multiple examples of these cars fitted with Chevrolet small-block V-8s and more modern transmissions, both manual and automatic. Whether the cars’ suspension, brakes, steering, etc. have been upgraded as well, I don’t know. Of course, they should be upgraded both to keep the car safe and to take advantage of the upgraded drivetrain. However, monetary constraints probably have prevented a “full” restomod build in some instances.

I think a 240Z restomod is a great idea, but that should not surprise regular readers. I welcome your thoughts.

 

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