A few months ago, I had the idea of writing something on the similar paths (with largely different results) that Nissan and Dodge have taken with the Z car and the Challenger, respectively. Maybe I will still take time to write that post some day but the news today of the arrival of the new Nissan Proto Z in the United States inspired me to write a little something. I’ve never owned a Z car but I’m a big fan and I hope to own one some day. I have been obsessed with the Z32 300ZX since I first became aware of its existence as a pre-teen. I regularly drool over the pristine 240Zs that pop up with some frequency on Bring a Trailer. Look at this! And this! If I can ever convince my wife that a second project car is a responsible financial decision, a Z car will most certainly be on the short list of options.
As my friend Josh can confirm, one thing I used to complain about a lot is Nissan’s failure to replace/sufficiently update the 370Z. Look, I dig the 370Z. It’s a great looking car. It’s rear wheel drive. It’s powerful enough. It’s available with a manual transmission. One of my favorite articles of the past year is about a trip to the smallest town in Nebraska in a 370Z. I sometimes look at 370Zs on Auto Trader and daydream about owning one. I briefly considered buying one back in 2014 before I bought the DudeStang. The only reason it got scratched off of the list (along with the Corvette) was because of the lack of a backseat. I’d still love to own a 370Z. In my mind, none of these things conflicts with my belief that Nissan has left the 370Z in its lineup for way too long. I mean, I’m glad they still make it. I’m very glad it wasn’t killed off like Mitsubishi did with the Lancer Evolution.
The 370Z remains largely unchanged since it first debuted for the 2009 model year. In car years, that’s an eternity. The Ford Mustang went through through two generations (three if you count the substantial differences between the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Mustangs). The Corvette was in its 6th generation when the 370Z debuted. The 8th generation Corvette hit salesroom floors this year. Ok, I think I’ve made my point. The 370Z is dated. It still looks pretty good though.
If you’re even casually into cars, you likely know that Nissan debuted a new Z car two months ago. While there were some mixed reactions, overall from what I observed, reception was positive. I was one of those who reacted positively. I think the Proto Z looks fantastic. Largely due to the internet being a place where hopes and dreams are regularly crushed, I have tried my hardest to remain optimistic that Nissan was being honest when they said it will be an all new car and that the production car will look like what they put on display in September. You have a great opportunity here, Nissan. If the pricing is right, you can undercut the new Toyota Supra and potentially pull in customers who might be interested in Mustangs and Camaros.
I remain cautiously optimistic but I can’t pretend like I’m not excited to eventually see this thing in person. Look at it. Check out Steven Ewing’s Twitter for more photos.
I supposed I should get around to watching this video now:
Thanks for reading.