South Africa sure had a rich automotive history, with so many cars unique to our land. Today we look at another such legend, Datsun's 160Z. The B210 Datsun, known as the Sunny in other markets, was called the Y-series in South Africa.
Manufactured locally until 1983, it included the 140Z, 160Z and later the 140Y GX Coupe and 160Y GX Coupe. Following the success of the Datsun 140Z, Nissan announced the 160Z in July 1978 with an asking price of R5595. Built between 1978 and 1979, only 241 160Z’s were ever produced.
The sporty Datsun 160Z was powered by the SSS version of the 1.6-litre OHV L16 engine, which meant it ran on a 9.5:1 compression ratio. It also had a high-lift camshaft, twin Hitachi sidedraught carburettors and special intake and exhaust manifolds, with the resultant outputs standing at 71kw and 140nm. Interestingly though - the 140Z - the predecessor had the L14 engine, which put out 85kw, which was significantly more than the 160Z’s 71kw, however the torque output and delivery of the 160Z bettered that of the 140Z.
The brakes on the 970kg 160Z were developed according to the 280L Series pattern of increased caliper and disc size, while there were significant modifications to the leaf-sprung rear axle to ensure superior traction in standing starts. It accelerated to 100kph in just over 10 seconds and eventually topped out when it ran out of revs at around 170kph, in 4th gear at 6600rpm.
The 160Z was easy to spot though. Its colour scheme was based on the Datsun 280Z Zap car and came out in canary yellow with red, orange and yellow inlayed black decals, colour matched high back seats and Mexican stripe-cloth stitched in the centre panels. The 160Z also had front and rear spoilers; however, the front spoiler differed from the 140Z.
Earlier models included a black rubber rear spoiler, whilst others had a colour matched yellow fibreglass rear spoiler. Both the 160Z and 140Z had rear window louvres, manufactured by Perana Louvres South Africa. The 13” aluminium wheels were super special too, having been designed by former SA racing driver Eddie Keizan of Tiger Wheels. They were later fitted to the 140Y and 160Y GX models, also part of the Y Series.
Much like the 140Z before preceding it, the 160Z had proper racing pedigree behind it. And like the 140Z, which was only available for 2 years due to homologation rules stipulating that there had to be 150 cars made to compete in the famous Wynnes 1000 race at Kyalami (of which around 300 were produced in the 2 year period), the 160Z too was also available for just over a 2 year period, with fewer cars being made, and with the final stock eventually being sold for R6530 in 1980.