In 1931, in a small industrial area of Japan, a car company named Datsun opened it’s doors for business. That first year they sold exactly 10 cars. The next year it was 150. The number kept increasing, as design and marketing improved, and soon the fledgling auto manufacturer came under the Nissan wing, while still retaining it’s unique look and name.
Some more seasoned Phoenix Valley residents may remember the classic Datsun Fairlady Roadsters when they first arrived on showroom floors in 1959. A convertible with rounded edges and a large flashy grille, the Fairlady resembled, and in some ways even caricatured the most defining elements of the classic 1950s American sedan. But the Datsun brand soon turned to European inspiration for what would become it’s defining look, and the image conjured in most people’s minds upon hearing the the name Datsun.
The 240Z went into full production in 1970, the same year that production of the Fairlady ceased. The Datsun 240Z closely resembled the German made Porsche of the same era. Porsche had also recently shut down it’s own production line of Fairlady-esque roadsters, and was always a few steps ahead of it’s Japanese counterpart, a fact which Datsun was not only keenly aware of, but took great advantage of. With the introduction of the Datsun 240Z in 1970, the brand could offer a sport styling similar to Porsche, with only slightly less performance, and at a fraction of the price tag. After the Datsun brand was retired in 1986, It’s parent company Nissan has been keeping with tradition in the 370Z.
As expected, the 370Z will offer a serious performance upgrade over the model it replaced, the 350Z. The 370Z will ride on a shorter wheelbase than the previous car and uses more lightweight materials. Those changes net a lighter curb weight, meaning all around performance — acceleration, braking and cornering — will see a marked improvement.
The 2011 Nissan 370Z is starting at around $30k, which is pretty reasonable considering that this car resembles a Porsche quasi super sport in almost every way. The closest model one could think of, when comparing price for performance and sport styling , would be some of Lotus’ lower priced models, which hover in the mid $50k’s.
Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts can view and test drive the new 2011 Nissan 370Z at any local Phoenix Valley area Nissan dealer. Phoenix Valley auto enthusiasts should also keep an eye out for newer concept and production models in the same vein as the 370Z at the Phoenix Arizona International Auto Show, taking place over Thanksgiving weekend at the Phoenix Arizona Convention Center.