Nissan Develops 240Z DOHC Upgrade Decades After the Car’s Retirement

Nissan's heritage parts program is doing more than recreating old parts.
Nismo L-series engine with a twin-cam cylinder head

Nismo’s heritage program is going the whole nine yards with support for classic Nissans, offering everything from reproduction Skyline parts to factory restorations. Now it’s gone a step further by designing an upgraded cylinder head for the L-series engine used from the Datsun 240Z to the Nissan 280ZX—more than four decades after the last L-series Z was built. Now that’s what I call customer support.

The head debuted in a show car at Nismo Nostalgic 2Days 2024 after several years of development for Nismo’s 40th anniversary, according to a post on It upgrades the L-series inline-six used from the 1969 240Z to the 1983 280ZX, swapping its single overhead camshaft for dual cams. Nissan appropriately rechristened the engine to TLX, which I imagine stands for something like Twin-cam L-series eXperimental.

The engine itself seems to be based on the L26 or L28 from the 260Z or 280Z, but bored out to 89 mm for a displacement of 2.9 liters. Compression is elevated from the L26’s 8.8:1 in the 260Z to 12.5:1, and the redline is lifted to 7,500 rpm. Power output is said to exceed 300 horsepower, and torque 217 pound-feet—both big gains from the 132 hp and 144 lb-ft of the naturally aspirated 1980 280ZX.

Obviously, an all-new cylinder head for a classic car would be a pricey part, so you’d imagine the only people that can afford one are deep-pocketed vintage racers. Those clearly aren’t big enough a market for Nissan, which told us it has no plans to sell this twin-cam L-series head. I’m sure it’d be willing to bend that rule if you wrote a big enough check, but if not, there’s always the Honda K-series-based aftermarket option.

Got a tip or question for the author? You can reach them here: