Nissan Z Car Lineup Welcomes Historic Upgrade with Nismo’s Heritage Program

In a bold move that pays homage to its illustrious past, Nissan’s performance division, Nismo, has introduced an innovative upgrade to the iconic L-series engine, marking a significant chapter in the storied history of the Nissan Z car lineup. This development comes as part of Nismo’s heritage program, an initiative dedicated to supporting classic Nissan models by offering a wide range of services, including reproduction of Skyline parts and factory restorations. The latest addition to this program is an upgraded cylinder head for the L-series engine, a powertrain that propelled the Datsun 240Z through the Nissan 280ZX from 1969 to 1983.

The Nissan Z series, first introduced with the Datsun 240Z in 1969, revolutionized the sports car market by combining performance, style, and affordability. This formula led to widespread acclaim and commercial success, establishing the Z cars as iconic figures in automotive history. Over the years, the series evolved through various iterations, including the 260Z and 280Z, continually improving on performance and design while maintaining the essence that made the original 240Z a legend.

The newly designed cylinder head, which made its debut in a show car at Nismo Nostalgic 2Days 2024, is a testament to Nissan’s commitment to its heritage. Developed over several years to commemorate Nismo’s 40th anniversary, the upgraded head transforms the L-series inline-six engine by introducing dual overhead camshafts—a significant leap from the original single camshaft design. This enhancement has led Nissan to rechristen the engine as the TLX, likely an acronym for Twin-cam L-series eXperimental.

Based on the L26 or L28 engines from the 260Z or 280Z, the TLX has been bored out to 89 mm, increasing its displacement to 2.9 liters. Improvements include a jump in compression ratio from the L26’s 8.8:1 to 12.5:1 and a higher redline at 7,500 rpm. These modifications have resulted in a power output exceeding 300 horsepower and torque reaching 217 pound-feet—substantial increases from the 132 hp and 144 lb-ft of the naturally aspirated 1980 280ZX.

Such a groundbreaking upgrade for a classic engine underscores Nissan’s unparalleled customer support, extending the life and performance of its vintage models. While the all-new cylinder head for the L-series might be a coveted item primarily for affluent vintage racers due to its expected high cost, Nissan has initially stated it has no plans to sell the twin-cam L-series head. However, for those willing to invest significantly, Nissan might reconsider. Otherwise, enthusiasts have the option to turn to aftermarket solutions, such as those based on the Honda K-series.

This initiative by Nismo not only celebrates the rich legacy of the Nissan Z car lineup but also ensures that the spirit of innovation and excellence that characterized the original Datsun 240Z continues to thrive in the hearts of car enthusiasts around the world.


  • Sam

    Sam focuses mainly on researching and writing the growing database of Car Facts articles on Garage Dreams, as well as creating interesting list content. He is particularly enthusiastic about JDM cars, although has also owned numerous European vehicles in the past. Currently drives a 3rd generation Suzuki Swift Sport, and a Volkswagen Touareg (mainly kept for taking his border collie out to the hills to go walking)

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