Welcome to Xenon S130
The Datsun 280ZX was the second generation in the storied line of Nissan/Datsun Z-cars, supplanting the 280Z for the 1979 model year and embodying the Z-car series until the release of the 300ZX for the 1984 model year. Upon its initial release, the 280ZX, or S130, was met with both accolades and criticism for its vast modifications from the highly popular 240/260/280Z models, having been named Car of the Year by Motor Trend in 1979, yet drawing criticism from the enthusiasts who revered the Z-car as an affordable sportscar.
There was very little from the 280Z that was carried over into the new 280ZX; only the 2.8L motor and some major driveline components were common with the 280Z. The rest of the car was a complete redesign. Due to the current events of the time, Nissan made emissions, aerodynamics and fuel economy a priority in the design of the 280ZX, and the higher value of the Yen and the inflated fuel prices due to the oil crisis elevated the target market of the car from that of the low-end sports car to that of a Grand Tourer, where its competitors were among the likes of the Porsche 924. Consequently, items like power windows and high-quality audio systems became a standard feature in the 280ZX.
With their fuel economy-driven mindset, the body of the 280ZX was redesigned to improve its aerodynamics. The center of gravity was lowered, drag and lift coefficients were reduced significantly, and the weight distribution was restructured to provide a nearly 50/50 weight balance. The rear end of the car was stretched to accommodate a larger fuel tank that held slightly over 21 gallons of fuel. In their fuel-crunching mindset, Nissan did intentionally forgo some of the Z-carís raw acceleration power for fuel economy, however there was a false impression that the 2.8L L28 motor was less powerful than the 2.4L L24 in the 240Z due to Nissan switching to the SAE net standard for power measurement, which showed the motor having a lower power rating than what was calculated under the gross power rating system. The new body design did in fact improve fuel economy, and the lowered center of gravity and better weight distribution also gave the 280ZX better stability at high speeds. Improvements were also made to the carís braking and steering systems, as the 280ZX was outfitted with a choice of a power-assisted recirculating ball steering system derived from the Datsun 810, or an unassisted rack-and-pinion system. The suspension of the 280ZX was of a type similar to that in the Datsun 510, incorporating a semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension and a MacPherson strut configuration in the front.
Due largely to an increase in the carís weight, the 280ZX was perceived as less powerful than its predecessors, however this issue would be addressed for the 1981 model year with the introduction of the Datsun 280ZX Turbo.
In Japan the S130 was branded as the Fairlady Z, and offered with the choice of a 2.0L engine or the 2.8L L28 motor. The Australian and American markets came to know the car as the Datsun 280ZX; however the badging on the American models labeled it as a Datsun 280ZX by Nissan as the company began introducing Nissan as its global brand name. Americans also had the choice between two trim levels: a rather nondescript 2-seater, and the GL model, which was rather well-appointed. Leather seats were an available option, and a digital instrument layout was offered as an option starting in 1982.