Nissan North America, Inc. this week marked
the 35th anniversary of the debut of the original Datsun 240Z sports car by
announcing details of the special Nissan 350Z 35th Anniversary model. The
commemorative model, one of six 350Z Coupe models offered in 2005 (along with
three 2005 Nissan 350Z Roadster models), is highlighted by a higher performance
version of the Z’s standard 3.5-liter V6. The engine, which is available only
with the 6-speed manual transmission, produces 300 horsepower versus the
standard 287-horsepower V6. The 35th Anniversary Z makes its industry debut at
the Specialty Equipment Marketing Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas on
November 2nd, followed by its first public appearance at the Miami Auto Show in
early November. It is scheduled to go on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide in
“Surviving 35 years does not make a sports car a classic. But power, style and class leadership certainly does,” said Mark McNabb, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division. “This new 35th Anniversary represents the highest expression so far of the Z – and Nissan – and takes its place in a long line of extraordinary performance vehicles.”
The 35th Anniversary Z’s engine has been modified using revised pistons and camshaft and the addition of electronic exhaust valve timing control. The same engine will also be available as standard equipment on the 2005 350Z Track model (6MT only), which also goes on sale in early 2005.
Other key 35th Anniversary Z equipment (standard on both 6-speed manual and 5-speed automatic equipped versions) includes unique 18-inch cast aluminum-alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers, Brembo brakes and special Z badging.
The 35th Anniversary Z is offered in just three colors – Ultra Yellow, Super Black and Silverstone. The new Ultra Yellow exterior color utilizes a new high-luminance and high-chroma pearl pigment and three layers of top coat (with separate color pigment and pearl pigment layers) to create an almost “liquid” surface appearance.
The 35th Anniversary Z also is available with unique, optional black-and-tan leather-appointed seats (except with the Ultra Yellow interior).
All 2005 350Z models, including the new 35th Anniversary model, receive a standard Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS), heated outside mirrors, wider view side mirrors and front seat lifter. Automatic transmission equipped models are now outfitted with downshift rev matching for smoother shifting, and manual transmission models now come with reduced clutch pedal effort for easier operation. The optional navigation system (available on 35th Anniversary and Touring models only) now has a faster system processor.
The 2005 350Z Coupe is available in six models – 350Z, Enthusiast, Performance, Touring, Track MT and the 35th Anniversary. Standard features on all models include the 3.5-liter DOHC V6 engine, independent multi-link suspension with front and rear stabilizer bars, strut tower bar, power windows, 3-bay gauge cluster, dual front air bags, available seat mounted side impact air bags and more.
The 2005 350Z Roadster is offered in Enthusiast, Touring and Grand Touring models. The Grand Touring, offered for the first time in 2005, includes standard Brembo brakes, Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) and 18-inch wheels and tires.
35 Years of the Z
The latest generation 350Z takes its cues from the first generation Datsun 240Z
– a front engine/rear-wheel drive drivetrain configuration, two-seat interior, a
powerful 6-cylinder engine and, of course, a simple and honest design.
Horsepower was set at 150 and the list price was $3,526 when it went on sale on
October 18, 1969 as a 1970 model. It was an instant hit, with perspective owners
having to wait nearly six months to get one.
The model designation was changed to the 260Z in 1974 following an increase in engine size to 2.6-liters. In mid-year 1975, a new 280Z replaced the 260Z. The 280ZX was introduced in 1979 was named Motor Trend “Import Car of the Year.” T-top roofs were introduced in 1980 and by year’s end, half of all ZXs were so equipped. In 1981, the 280ZX Turbo went on sale. Then in 1984 the Nissan 300ZX was introduced with a major facelift. The 1984 300ZX sold 73,101 units, becoming the top-selling sports car in America.
In 1990, the 300ZX, with a completely new body and interior, debuted with 222 horsepower, a turbo 300ZX went on sale later in the year with 300 horsepower. American Z sales surpassed the 1 million-sales mark in the early 90’s, becoming the all-time best selling sports car. Nissan offered the first Z convertible in 1993.
In 1996, 300ZX production for the U.S. ended; the last imported 1996 model 300ZX was inducted into the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Then in 1999, a special Z Concept debuted at North American International Auto Show in Detroit. A production version of Z was shown at Tokyo Motor Show and the 350Z name was announced.
In 2002, the current generation 350Z went on sale as a 2003 model, followed by the 350Z Roadster a year later.