Front Bumpers and Lips for The Datsun 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z

Front Bumpers and Lips for The Datsun 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z

Datsun 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z - these models gained fame for their great designs. Their simplicity in the early 1970s made them strikingly unique. Want to hear a fun fact about them? They didn't even sport a front lip in their design!

In 1973, things started shifting in a new direction. The automobile makers started blending safety and functionality, which reshaped those front bumpers to align with the new safety laws. For some, this was an improvement, but others missed the old styling.

Guess what happened next? This break from the old cars created a ripple effect on the 260Z and 280Z models. Now, they sported a factory-installed splitter as standard equipment. This was mainly a safety change, but it also changed the car's aerodynamics a bit.

Fast forward to the years 1975 to 1978, and the 280Z models started showing off bigger, more proper bumpers. They might not rival the sleek look of the 240Z models, but the bigger bumpers had better protection in collisions, so they had that going for them.

Flash forward to the present, and car restorers have a ton of options available to them now. Anything from the original parts for a full-blown restoration to aftermarket options like fiberglass or carbon fiber bumpers to lose weight and add more character to the car's look.

Let's talk about some of these options!

Disclaimer: This article is authored by a member of the Skillard community and reflects their personal views, not necessarily those of Skillard. We welcome your feedback and corrections in the comments to help us continually improve this content.

First: About The OEM Bumpers

Datsun car models, like the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z, all flaunt special, original bumpers. They all stand out in terms of looks, design, and weight.

The 260Z starts off much like its predecessor, the 240Z; particularly the early models. What about as it matures? Well, it ends up adopting bigger crash bumpers. Not to be left behind, the 260Z's younger sibling (the 280Z) follows in its footsteps. Yes, the 280Z wears big, heavy crash bumpers, too; it's a quality feature of the model. And when I say heavy, I mean heavy! The 280Z's standalone front bumper alone weighs in at a hefty 34.5 lbs! And that's without factoring in side features or holes.

Could this be a chance to shave off some serious weight? I think so!

Switching out the bumpers on a 260Z or 280Z isn't exactly a piece of cake, since it's a large piece that can be tricky to handle by yourself. A lot of people love the look of a 240Z bumper. But if you want to swap it in, you're going to need some extra hardware. You'll also want a buddy to give you a hand to keep it steady while you're bolting it on.

OEM 240Z

Let's picture a face-off between all these bumpers - who do you think would take the crown? If it was up to me, my money would be on the 240Z OEM bumper. It's far lighter and aerodynamic, tipping the scales at a mere 10 pounds, and has a sleek aesthetic. In fact, you'll often see 260Z and 280Z owners switching to it to cut some serious weight off their ride. Sure, you'll need more parts to mount it. But there's something about its beautifully simple, classic design that makes it all worth it!

Choosing an OEM (or OEM-style) bumper is more than looks for your Datsun; it is about weight, too. More weight means a different ride.

Also, finding OEM bumpers is getting tougher, especially ones that are in good condition. Keep in mind that these cars are over 50 years old in most cases; you'll have a hard time finding one on eBay for a good price, or one that doesn't need a large amount of restoration and rust removal in order to use it.

eBay Expensive OEM Bumpers

So, if you're all about staying with OEM, you'll most likely want to look for a 240Z factory bumper. But, if you're looking for an OEM-style upgrade that is more modern, weighs even less than 10 pounds, doesn't require any restoration or rust removal, and won't cost you thousands of dollars - you're in luck!

Note: Each model year of the S30, from the 240Z to the 280Z, was originally equipped with special OEM front and rear bumpers, designed with the car's aesthetic and safety in mind. It's important to note that these classic Datsuns were all outfitted with a factory lower valance, not a front lip or air dam as some might assume. Any additions resembling front lips or air dams seen on these vehicles are aftermarket, not original features.

Bumper vs. Splitter vs. Valance vs. Air Dam

When talking about well-known Datsun models like the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z, it's important to understand what certain terms mean because this helps you see how these cars have changed over time and what customization options are available now.

You may have heard terms like bumpers, factory lower valance, front lip and front lip splitter, and air dam.


Let's talk about each of them:

  • Bumpers are found on both ends of a car, protecting it during crashes. Every Datsun S30 model includes hand-crafted front and rear bumpers.
  • What about a factory lower valance? Well, it's positioned below the front bumper and it boosts the car's aerodynamics while also giving the car a beautiful look. The original S30 series took this route instead of having a front lip. You might also see this called an "apron".
  • Now let's think about some add-on parts like a front lip and front lip splitter. These extras attach to the edge of the factory lower valance, improving the car's airflow control. Also, the splitter protrudes further to control airflow and add-downforce.
  • The air dam's job is similar; covering more ground to lessen airflow under the car which boosts stability and control.

At Skillard, we don't carry OEM or factory original parts. What we do have is high-quality aftermarket alternatives that keep the soul of the original Datsun design while adding a big improvement in style, weight, and performance.

Our front lip splitters, for example, not only boost aerodynamic efficiency, but they also help the car stay stable at high speeds! The air dams from Skillard are not only functional but look fantastic too.

With all of that out of the way, let's talk about some various options for your Z car!

The 240Z-Style Aluminum Bumpers

Do you know what sets us apart at Skillard? We make top-notch, light-as-a-feather aluminum bumpers. These bumpers are designed specifically for the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z cars. Our production process involves careful CNC cutting, shaping, and TIG welding and is followed by makeup grinding. We want to capture the sleek style of the classic 240Z bumpers. And guess what? We will let you decide on the finish - raw aluminum or a strong satin black powder coating.

When it comes to these bumpers, you'll see a big drop in weight. The authentic 240Z bumpers come in around 10 lbs, and the 280Z bumpers are over 38 pounds- meanwhile, Skillard's version of the 240Z bumper is just over 2 lbs! This makes for an attractive upgrade from the heavier, outdated bumpers.

240Z Rear Style Bumper

Worried about installation? Don't be - each bumper has the option to come fully loaded with all the parts you'll need. We even leave room for personal touches, and the rear bumper arrives with every important mounting bracket. But if you're rocking a 260Z or 280Z model and are set on a factory 240Z bumper, think about adding 260Z | 280Z Bumper Conversion Brackets to your cart. 240Z Bumpers

The famous 240Z bumpers are big among 260Z and 280Z drivers wanting to ditch their large, factory-fitted versions. To help with this, we have simplified our designs to streamline the switch to the more streamlined 240Z-style bumper. And you want to hear the best part? We added an adjustability feature. This lets you tweak the gap size between the car body and the bumper from medium to super thin.

Note: Early 260Z owners will need to cross-check your mounting points with our helpful installation guides. This is all because a few early designs have 240Z compatible mounting brackets - unlike the later 260Zs. If you ever get stuck, you can always email us with pictures of your mounting points. Keep one thing in mind, though: these bumpers work best off-road, and meeting local road laws is the car owner's responsibility.

If you want beauty and improved performance, a Skillard bumper could be your best bet. And let's not forget the large weight savings, which can lead to a better-performing vehicle. There's a reason why this is one of the first upgrades that people make to these cars!

The Type 1 Front Lip Splitter

I have something special for fans of Datsun cars like 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z. Here's a peek at the Skillard Type 1 Front Lip Splitter!

It improves how your car handles and increases downforce-both really important for keeping your car steady when you're going fast.

Made from thick aluminum, the splitter guides air over and around your car. Imagine that! This causes more downforce, less lift, and maximizes front traction. It's like the stability of your car and what's underneath it work together to give you a smoother ride.

Front Splitter

Now, let's talk about how this splitter meshes so well with your car's important bits and pieces. In simpler terms, it's firmly attached to the existing tow hook and the front bumper mounts of the S30Z. The kit packs everything-brackets, turnbuckles, and necessary hardware - making it easy to set up.

You're wondering about options, right? Well, there are different versions of the splitter; for example, a 4-inch extension from the lower edge of the front air dam could be your pick for a more prominent look. But what if you're after precise air channeling at the front end? Then, the 2-inch extension version might be just the ticket!

There's one thing you need to know. If you have the 240Z model, the setup can be a bit different due to unique chassis mounting points. You'll need two extra long bolts and spacers for the core support, but these bolts are not included.

Where can you get the Type 1 Front Lip Splitter? You're already here! Head to the product page here and pick it up for $399.00.

Front Lip Type 1

Keep in mind, as much as we all love speed - control and stability are equally important. That's where quality equipment comes into play; the Skillard Type 1 Front Lip Splitter can help you find that perfect balance and truly improve your driving. Also, it looks incredible if I say so myself.

The Type 2 Front Lip Splitter

Did you know that the Skillard Type 2 Front Lip Splitter is a perfect fit for the S30 chassis? It's like a glove for Datsun 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z cars. The splitter works hand in hand with the Type II air dam to increase your vehicle's beauty. Also, it gives big boosts to your car's looks. What's included in the package? You get brackets and turnbuckles, everything you need to attach to your vehicle's tow hook and front bumper on the S30Z chassis. Even better - it's easy to install!

Type 2 Under Shot

One cool thing about this splitter is that it has many uses beyond show. Crafted from 1/8" thick aluminum, it gives a big helping hand to your vehicle's front-end downforce and handling. This means your ride is going to be more stable when you're zooming at high speeds or slicing around corners.

How far does it stick out? About 2.5 inches from the bottom front bumper edge. You'll see a big improvement in your S30Z's aero as it interrupts the air around your vehicle.

But what does it do with the air it interrupts? The splitter channels it into three main routes: above the vehicle, into the engine bay, and below the car. Pretty clever, right? It stops the air from heading downward, instead creating a downward pressure that reduces lift and increases grip. Your handling stability should see a big boost.

Type 2 Top Shot

Another cool thing is that by stopping the air from flowing under the vehicle, the splitter helps reduce the whirl of air beneath the car. It works with the cross-member plate to create a smooth front undercarriage that stretches back nearly 3 feet. It's just like those used in professional racing cars with their smooth undercarriages and common use of front splitters.

How about the installation? The Type 2 splitter is pretty similar to the Type 1 splitter with a small difference - you use Type 2 specific spacers. These little gems are placed between bolts and the cross member to hold the splitter steady. They are important in helping the Type 2 splitter maintain the best aero possible. So, it's clear that the Skillard Type 2 Front Lip Splitter does more than make your car look cooler; it also improves its efficiency and, usually, performance.

From my own experience, I can feel the difference around those tight bends, and I get lots of compliments on it!

The Xenon Air Dam with Brake Ducts

We've talked about several of our products, but there are a handful of other options on the market. For example, the Xenon Air Dam with Brake Ducts.

This product is made from urethane, which makes it fairly tough, light, and flexible. It helps reduce lift and drag on your car over the factory design, which gives you better stability and improved fuel efficiency when you step on the gas.

The Xenon Air Dam both improves aero and also comes with integrated brake ducts. These ducts direct airflow to the brakes, creating superior cooling and reducing the risk of brake fade. 

Xenon Bumper

The air dam comes unpainted, so you have the freedom to be creative with it. Cover up any scratches or dents before painting. Match the original color of your vehicle or go wild with a strong statement color - the choice is yours!

Let's talk about compatibility. If you have a late 260Z and 280Z, the Xenon 3125 model is perfect. But what about the 280ZX cars from 1979 to 1983? They match the Xenon 3126 model! Also, there are options for early 240Z and 260Z cars.

The process of installing the dam can be quite a task, though. It requires drilling, cutting, and other modifications. I would recommend only car enthusiasts with solid mechanical skills to try this alone. Keep in mind adding brake ducts is cool, but don't forget the need for extra parts, like directional cooling tubes, to achieve the best results.

Note: Besides the options mentioned, Skillard carries an innovative solution with our "Front Air Dam and Splitter Kit" for the 240Z, 260Z, and 280Z models!

Front Air Dam Kit

Unlike the common plastic or fiberglass materials, we make these kits from aluminum for enhanced durability and a beautiful aesthetic. They're also designed to complement S30 series vehicles to add both performance benefits and style without needing the modifications often associated with air dam installations.

Check Out Skillard's Bumpers

You have a ton of options for beauties like the 240Z260Z, and 280Z models, whether you want original factory parts or fancy new ones. The key is to find things that are light and still keep you safe.

I just can't leave out front spllitters. They're truly more than eye candy. These parts play a big part in giving your car that unique edge that will have heads turning.

240Z Style Bumper

The Skillard team is about more than just maintaining that charming, classic Datsun vibe. We're all about stepping up the game in terms of car performance. Balancing aesthetics, functionality, and performance is our motto; it's not easy, but with front lip splitters that are as light as a feather, beautiful bumpers that hold on to that 240Z classic design, and simple front bumper delete plates - we make it happen!

If you choose Skillard, you're giving your ride a fresh new look and promising it a smooth run. That's where Skillard's awesome range of products comes in, serving every Datsun fan's specific tastes and needs.

Do you have any burning questions? Don't hesitate to reach out - we're here to help you find your Z car's dream look!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.