Funny what you remember: “when driving our test GT6 at night in the rain with the lights wipers, defroster and rear window defogger on, our test car coasted dead to a stop, and we were unable to restart it. The generator could not keep up with the current draw and it drained the battery.” Consumer Reports in their first and only test of a GT6 mk III.
What the author casually mentions is the GT6 withdrawal from market due to emissions control-weakened engines. That’s like saying GT6’s disappeared because their tires went flat. A spaceship from Mars landing and sharing heretofore unavailable technology would have been less newsworthy than the introduction of the Datsun 240z to the entry-level sports car market at that time.
The 240z simply changed the way everybody thought of inexpensive sports cars: as used to being underpowered, under suspended, un reliable, The english car companies caught in a similar meltdown to Detroit at that time were simply Pearl Harbored by the Japanese invasion. Paul Newman gave up racing TR6’s and went to Datsuns in a new york minute at the time.
From resting on their laurels 50’s to becoming the patron saints of sports car mediocrity overnight is what happened to Triumph, Austin Healy and Morris Garages when the 240Z arrived and no reply was forthcoming from the British.
and even when ultimate performance in a beginner sports car was no longer demanded, the Mazda Miata was a better british-style sports car than the British ever made.
i never owned a Datsun 240z or miata, but soldiered on in a sunbeam alpine, tr6, mgc-gt and TR8; before i finally realized that there is no replacement for displacement and joined the vette club. i did drive a used 260z back from washington dc for a local used car dealer in the early eighties; the smell of gas wafting through the cabin from the rust holes in the top of the fuel tank, so Datsun Z’s were no saints either.