Fifty years ago, the Datsun 240Z arrived in North America as an unmistakable, lower-cost alternative to the Jaguar, with its long hood, severely sloping roof and plenty of pep under the hood – in contrast to the Japanese-made vehicles of the era.
For 2020, Nissan is producing an extremely limited car to mark the 50th anniversary of that 1970 classic. (Let’s hear it, fellow Canadians: “Zee, or zed?") The anniversary edition of the 240′s descendant, the 370Z, is based entirely on the sport model, one of four trims available on the present-day car.
The 2020 370Z anniversary car will be shown to the public later this week at the New York auto show. Sales in Canada will be limited to 50 cars.
Nissan is also producing a 50th anniversary edition of the Skyline GT-R, aka Godzilla, “the icon of our company’s driving performance for the past half century,” said Shinichiro Irie, program design director. Presented at a reception Tuesday night in advance of the auto show, the car is painted in two tones, harkening three eras. The interior gets a gray interior meant to reflect the night sky just after twilight, a unique steering wheel and shift knob, embossed seats, and Alcantara-wrapped sunvisors. The 565-horsepower, 3.8-litre, 24-valve V6 receives new turbochargers to increase rpm response and efficiency.
The 240Z special edition pays tribute to the Brock Racing Enterprises’ Datsun, a winner of numerous SCCA national championships. “The Datsun 240Z started the ball rolling for Japanese sports cars in North America,” Ivan Espinosa, Nissan vice-president of global product strategy and planning, said in a statement.
The 370Z comes in two exterior paint patterns – silver with black striping, or white with red accents. Cues taken from the original BRE race car include signature striping, while the trunk, hood, side mirrors and A-pillars receive the black or red accents. A narrow line starting at the headlights is drawn to the small rear window. Special identification is marked on the front fender, and a special badge placed at the rear. The 19-inch alloy wheels have red accents.
Inside, the steering wheel gets a race-car-styled centring stripe. A 50th-anniversary logo is embossed on the heated bucket seats.
Under the hood, the special edition retains a 3.7-litre V6 engine, generating 332 horsepower and paired with a six-speed manual transmission. Nissan says the synchronized downshift rev-matching system “allows drivers of any skill level to change gears like a professional race car driver.” A seven-speed automatic is optional.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.