1966 Nissan identifies a market for a new kind of sports car. Its product planners envision an agile, compact GT whose performance and comfort would outrun its price. Nissan engineers begin work on a prototype, which would become the 240Z.
1969 The 240Z goes on sale in the U.S. on October 22, 1969. It features a 2400cc six-cylinder, 150 horsepower engine and delivers a 0-60 time of under nine seconds - all for a price tag of only $3,526.
1970 Less than a year after its debut, demand for the 240Z is so high that the Kelly Blue Book rates the value of a used Z at $4,000.

Bob Sharp and Pete Brock take the Datsun 240Z to the race track in SCCA competition - Driver John Morton wins the C-Production national championship for Brock Racing Enterprises.
1971 John Morton wins his second straight C-Production national title.
1972 Bob Sharp drives a 240Z to the first of his two consecutive C-Production national championships.
1973 At the close of the 240Z's fourth and final model year, all-time sales reach 116,712 units.
1974 The engine displacement of the 1974 model is increased to 2.6-liters, and the car is renamed the 260Z. Due to stricter emissions requirements, horsepower is down to 139.

1974 also brings the introduction of the 2+2 body style, which accommodates fold-down rear seats.

In its only year of existence, the 260Z sets a single-year Z-car sales record at the time, with 63,963 units sold.

Walt Maas extends Datsun's Z-car dominance by claiming the C-Production national championship.
1975 Needing increasingly complex technology to meet even tougher emissions regulations, Nissan boosts the Z-car's displacement to 2.8-liters and adds a version of Bosch's L-Jetronic fuel injection, creating the 1975 280Z. Horsepower rating is increased to 149.

Sharp moves up to the IMSA GTU racing circuit, winning eight races and capturing the championship. He also wins his third SCCA C-Production title.
1977 A five-speed overdrive transmission is added to the 280Z and horsepower climbs to 170. 1977 is also the Z's highest sales year to date (at the time), with 67,331 units sold.
1979 An all-new, second generation Z car is developed, debutting as the 280ZX. The 280ZX offers a higher level of luxury to meet the growing demands of the sports car customer.

Named Motor Trend "Import Car of the Year" for1979, the 280ZX sets the all-time sales record for the Z line with 86,007 units sold.

The Z-car captures its 10th consecutive SCCA C-Production national championship. Don Devendorf wins another IMSA GTU title for Datsun.
1980 A new T-bar roof option is introduced. Cumulative American Z-car sales reach 500,000 units.

The Z-car reached the half-millions sales mark quicker than any other sports car, including the Corvette, making it the fastest selling sports car in history.
1981 A turbocharged engine is offered for the first time on the 1981 280ZX. Sales remained brisk through the 1983 model year.
1982 Devendorf and his Electromotive racing team win Datsun's first ever IMSA GTO championship.
1984 The third-generation Z, the all-new 300ZX, makes its debut. The 300ZX offers sleek new styling and a powerful new 3.0-liter V6 engine, elevating the car's performance image to even greater heights. The normally-aspirated 300ZX produces 160 horsepower, while the turbocharged version offers 200 horsepower.

The 1984 model becomes the second-best selling Z ever with 73,652 units sold.
1985 Paul Newman, splitting time between the SCCA's professional Trans-Am series and the amateur ranks, sets 10 track records in his 280ZX Turbo and leads the national championship race wire-to-wire to win his third title.
1986 Newman wins his second straight SCCA GT-1 national crown.
1988 Scott Sharp, son of the legendary Datsun racer Bob, wins his second straight SCCA GT-1 national championship, and his third title overall.
1989 Toward the end of the 1980's, the overall sports car market faces a downturn due to a significant increase in consumer demand for multi-purpose vehicles such as minivans and sports utilities. Back-to-basics is the name of the game when it comes to sports cars, and for Nissan, it means a return to a more performance orientation during the development of the next generation Z-car.
1990 In response, the fourth-generation Z - the dramatic 1990 300ZX - takes on tighter proportions and a much more aggressive stance. The all-new DOHC 3.0-liter engine offers increased output of 222 horsepower for the normally aspirated model, and an incredible 300 horsepower for the 300ZX Twin Turbo.

The 1990 300ZXTT is named the Motor Trend "Import Car of the Year." Motor Trend also names it, "One of the Top Ten Performance Cars."
Automobile Magazine honors the 300ZX/300ZXTT as its "Design of the Year," and names the 300ZXTT to its "All Stars" list.
Road & Track names the 300ZXTT "One of Ten Best Cars in the World."
Car and Driver names the 300ZXTT "One of the Ten Best Cars."

American Z-car sales reach the one million sales mark in the 1990 model year - making it the all-time best selling sports car.
1991 The 300ZX Twin Turbo is name to Car and Driver's "Ten Best" list, and is once again one of Automobile Magazine's "All-Stars."
1992 For the third straight year, Car and Driver names the 300ZX Twin Turbo one of its "Ten Best," and Automobile Magazine names it to its "All-Stars" list.
1993 For the fourth straight year, the 300ZX Twin Turbo is named a Car and Driver "Ten Best," and one of Automobile Magazine's "All-Stars."
1994 A race-modified Z wins both the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours at Sebring. It goes on to win the GTS Class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, making it the only car ever to accomplish such a record within the same year.

And for the fifth straight year, the 300ZX Twin Turbo is named to the "Ten Best" and "All Stars" lists by Car and Driver and Automobile Magazine respectively.
1995 1995 marks the 25th Anniversary of the Z. It also brings another award fro Car and Driver, as the publication names the 300ZX Twin Turbo to its "Ten Best" list for the sixth straight year.

Nissan, working with Steve Millen Sports Cars, produced a limited edition 25th anniversary 300ZXTT, the SMZ.
1996 Nissan will be selling the the 300ZX in 1996 even with 1994 sales of just over 6000 units and 1995 sales reported to be even slower.

According to Nissan, in recent years, the 300ZX/300ZXTT has outsold the Mazda RX-7, Toyota Supra, and Acura NSX combined.
Nissan America Press Release 5/95