The Nissan Z

24 Jan

Nissan Z cars have been around for nearly 40 years. With a few gaps separating certain models, the Nissan, or Datsun, Z is a perennial favorite of sports car enthusiasts everywhere. The first Z showed up in dealer showrooms in 1969 as a1970 model, the Datsun 240Z. The Z, with its long hood and short deck design, was attractive and most importantly, it was affordable. Most people dream about owning a fun, tossable sports car but few can afford such a frivolous expenditure. Today, Z cars are considered one of the very few Classics of the early Japanese sports cars. Wildly popular in their day, the Datsun Zs brought smiles to thousands of satisfied owners.

1970 Datsun 240Z

Datsun changed its name in the mid 1980’s to Nissan and continued building the then Nissan 300Z.  The 300Z continued into the mid 1990’s with a styling refresh in 1989 and the wildly popular twin turbo 300Z.  Unfortunately, the economy took a big hit and the imported 300Z had a price tag that rivaled the more expensive Chevrolet Corvette.  The Nissan sports car promptly lost its demand and ended production in 1996 in the United States.

Nissan 300Z

It wasn’t until 2003 that the Z car made a comeback.  With the same attractive long hood and short deck as the original 240Z, the Nissan 350Z took America by storm.  Now, nearly a decade later, the 350Z is a performance car bargain.  The current 370Z is the latest iteration of the Nissan Z car. Slightly shorter and wider than the previous generation 350Z, and its interior is decidedly more upscale. With a complete exterior refresh as well, the 370Z is extremely attractive and a bump in engine displacement has made it quicker than the 350Z.  However, the 370Z is barely a year old and still carries a price tag of over $30,000. It remains a bargain, though, considering the performance and style that is obtained, but still out of reach for many sports car enthusiasts.  The 350Z on the other hand is in its prime.  Being careful to avoid abused examples, finding a gently used 350Z is not an unthinkable feat.  Two seat sports cars that come with price tags ranging in the $30,000 range are generally properly cared for and driven sparingly.  They attract middle-aged males wading their way through a midlife crisis and spend a great deal of time sitting in a garage or cruising at highway speeds – all attractive aspects when looking for a used car of any genre.

Nissan 350Z Rear View

The 350Z was produced from 2003 through 2009. While the more recent models still heft a price tag that often pushes north of $20,000, earlier models as new as 2005 can be found for just over $10,000.  Many examples have only been driven 40 to 50 thousand miles. If miles on modern cars were converted to human year of age, 50 thousand miles would be toddler years.  With 300 hp, slick shifting six-speeds, and tight communicative steering and suspensions, the Nissan 350Z is the perfect enthusiasts bargain of the current age.  Each car has its day to bring a great deal of satisfaction to its purchaser’s wallet and right foot.  Earlier Zs, such as the 300Z, are past their prime, and while they are still around, it can be very difficult to find one in good running order that still looks nice.  Original Datsun Zs are undoubtedly classic collectibles but it takes skill to find a good original example that hasn’t been tampered with or cost thousands to get in good running order.

Nissan 350Z Front

The 370Z is still in its infant stages, and given 6 to 8 years to mature it will be highly sought after. For now the 350Z reigns as Nissan’s affordable performance car.  Many good clean examples pepper classified listings and used car lots and can be had for as little as $10,000.  The Nissan 350Z a great example of an affordable sports car that can be obtained with little purchasing power but return big smiles and reliable miles.


One Response to “The Nissan Z”

  1. Chappel June 21, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    The new Breed of Nissan Z sports car has an impressive and powerful engine that can give you awesome driving experience and smoother ride.

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