50 Years & 7 Generations Of the Nissan Z Compared – Heres Why One Model Stands Above All The Rest

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This is the brand new 2023 nissan z but 53 years ago this was the car a datsun actually you know what not that one this one this 1971 datsun 240z was the car that started it all if you’re a huge z fan like i am and in this video we’re going to go over all six generations of the z now full disclosure i’ve driven every one of these and i’ve owned three of them so

Keep in mind i am a huge fan of the z but this is probably my favorite let’s talk about why so back in 1970 the original datsun 240z came to our shores but in japan and this is true it’s never been a 240z it’s always been the fair ladies and you may be wondering why fair lady and that’s an interesting story that’s because the ceo of nissan at the time actually

Flew to america watched my fair lady and decided that he liked the fair lady name and it stuck so in japan the z has always been the fair lady z but here it’s gone up in numbers so let’s talk about this 1971 example which is iconic and the reason for that is of course easy to see it’s gorgeous i mean look at the classic sports car proportions long hood hiding a

Powerful engine two-seater which is perfect for you and the significant other and a short yet swoopy back end that signals this car’s intention to take you on a race track or around a curvy road in the mountains and put a huge smile on your face now over the years over 53 years this design has changed but to my eye it’s never been more elegant never been more

Graceful and never been more iconic than this original vehicle let’s jump inside and take a look at what the first z had to offer now back in 1970 if you were a sports car fan you’d probably be looking at a lot of the british cars the gt6 the mg the tr’s all these cars that were beautiful and sexy and completely unreliable and what the japanese specifically dots

Had managed to do was to bring a car to america that was not only fresh in its design but also reliable so not a lot of power but you know i’ve driven this car and the beauty of this is it’s hard wire to your brain you’ve got a classic british wooden steering wheel a four speed manual a rear parking brake where it should be and of course an am fm radio over

Here you have a speedometer that goes up to 160 miles an hour an attack that redlines at six and a half thousand rpm and then this binnacle right the bitcoin has always been iconic to the z we’ve got oil pressure here temperature fuel level a clock and basically the information that you need in the porsche world right all this information would be here but in

The z world this binnacle has stood the test of time now this car isn’t big it kind of forms around you like a well-tailored suit it isn’t particularly fast it isn’t particularly comfortable but it’s not uncomfortable and it’s not slow so it’s just a well-rounded car that if you wanted to drive it as a daily driver or if you wanted to take it on the weekends

To your favorite cabin or vacation spot with your favorite significant other this was the perfect vehicle to do that what made this car iconic and what went away over time unfortunately was this a straight six dual carb power plant now the straight six as you all know is the smoothest of all power plants it loves to rev well maybe the 12 cylinder is also

A smooth but for me the straight six is incredibly smooth uh and this is why the original z had such a long hood because a six cylinder straight six is a long engine this car has that wow factor it’s almost shark like in its design right you’ve got the big maw you’ve got the two big round headlights it just feels like a predator in a school of hapless fish and

For me that means that when i walk away from this car i always do that because i can’t believe that i own this car actually i don’t own it but i wish i did all right let’s move on to the next generation this is a 1979 datsun 280 zx so not only have we gone up 40 numbers 242 280 but we’ve also added an x now this particular model is the 10th anniversary edition

And it has about 700 miles on it so i don’t want to get too close but for me it has special meaning because my dad owned the turbo version of this vehicle and when he passed away i became the owner of a 280zx and that’s when i fell in love with the z now going back to the original car this one was much more of a grand tour and nissan well dodson at the time took

Kind of a hard left and that’s because most of the cars the z cars at least are sold in america not in japan and in america we like our comfortable cars and this car was comfortable the critics at the time said that the car had lost some of the sharpness some of the sporty car edge of the original z but it gained t-tops yep that’s right t-tops the most cool

Yet useless feature ever designed by an automotive designer when i had my car i actually never removed them because they were such a huge pain in the butt to store but when you did remove them they were a lot of fun so let’s check out the inside inside this car is much more modern but you still have the classic z elements you’ve got the three binacles oil bolts

And this time check it out a digital clock a much more almost 80s like steering wheel keep in mind this was when like mitsubishi was doing all of their first tries at the uh digital dashboard five gears instead of four so now we’re rolling five gears look at this a classic radio and the car had grown in size and in stature basically if you’re a car company and

You want to sell more cars then you make the car much more appealing so you give it more horsepower in this case you give it more comfort and if i recall right you also give it two additional back seats so there was a two plus two version which made it look kind of hump backed uh and dare i say it pregnant but nevertheless the classics of the z were here with the

Manual the six cylinder and of course this very 80s brown color this is a nissan 300 zx so we’ve gained 20 more numbers and a turbo charger well this one of course is an asymmetrical turbo scoop and of course we’ve gone away from the classic headlights to these pop-up they popped up just a little bit now full disclosure guys i actually own this car in this

Exact same color this is the 50th nissan or datsun anniversary car not 50 years of the z that just happened but nevertheless i did own this car and i drove it uh to college and back i loved the fact that it had pop-up headlights in fact what i did when i owned it was i had a plexiglas cover that covered this up making the headlights a little bit more aerodynamic

Because of course you wanted a vehicle that would be quicker this one is full on gt and i’m being nice by that you know it had three settings if i recall for the suspension there was normal sport and comfort and sport would bash your teeth out and comfort would wallow so you just kept it in normal and i’ll show you that on the inside it of course had t-tops once

Again same problem pain in the butt but as a fun car to drive around in that put out over i believe 200 horsepower at the time which for 1984 was quite a bit it wasn’t bad like i say i drove this car probably for four years during college and graduate school until i got seduced by a porsche 944 which of course was much more expensive but my heart still belongs

To nissan so like i said we had different types of shock absorbers and this is smh i believe mine was a little bit later because i if i recall mine like i said it was normal sport and comfort this one doesn’t have the manual it has the automatic they’ve gone unfortunately to only two pinnacles back in the 80s equalizers were really popular so of course you had

To have this funky equalizer and then like mitsubishi nissan had decided that the digital gauge was the future uh which it’s only taken like what 30 years to get to but there is the original version of it and then you’ll note in the next generation car nissan decided like mitsubishi to put the controls on the side so here we have like fog lights your windshield

Wiper squirters your pop-up headlights voila now we have a v6 turbo 3000 and really this is where we get the start of the modern nissan v6 which has lived on ever since this generation of car and under here it does look quite modern keep this in mind when we go to the 300 zx next now this is the favorite car i’ve ever owned not the favorite z i’ve ever

Owned but the favorite car i’ve ever owned i actually took this car on the autobot in germany up to well way too fast this is a 96 it has about 800 miles on it and it is of course the 300 zx twin turbo one of the last 300 made and how do you know it’s a twin turbo well there’s two ways first and foremost the twin turbo had these slits down here which allowed for

Better air ingress for the turbos and it had not mine because mine was 92 by 96 it had this massive spoiler so that’s how you could tell a regular z from the twin turbo i also had quad exhaust and perhaps the most fun part of this car long before well today’s cars super hikus i don’t know what that means all wheel steering so the rear wheels would steer either

In phase or out of phase depending on how you were parking it now once again t-tops uh and 300 horsepower let’s pop the hood out of the twin turbo v6 that when i first drove it when i bought it because i bought this car new blew my mind literally blew my mind i had never been in such a fast car and there’s a lot going on under this hood now for a long time

Of course these cars were undervalued the supra of course exploded immediately because of fast and furious then the mazda and now of course these z’s are no longer inexpensive for maybe the last 20 years you can buy them for like 10k now they’re 20k cars and i think they’re going to go up from there because the rest of the world is realizing just how cool

They are let me show you the interior which is proper if the previous gen car was soft and squishy this one is hard edged and refined this was a proper sports car now it was on the heavy side but once again a complete driver’s car five-speed manual transmission sport and touring modes once again they went and had variable shocks touring is where you wanted sport

Became a little hard and these binacles are gone replaced by now the side controls where you’ve got your temperature control you can of course do automatic and on this side you have your cruise control you have your fog lights which don’t pop up unfortunately and then of course the airbag both passenger and driver and very legible easy to read gauges you always

Know a sports car is serious about being a sports car when the gauges are easily legible top speed of 160 miles an hour i believe i went a little quicker in germany and a big old tack with the redline at 7000. this car today would feel properly quick sure an electric car would leave it in the dust but you wouldn’t feel like you were well you wouldn’t feel like

You were missing out on anything driving this car the other thing that was interesting it had this mouse fur on the side not a big fan of that uh but look at the styling of the seats they just look modern they look like something that would fit in a current car not a car from 1997. overall i have purchased a lot of the cars that i grew up with for tfl classics

Because this youtube channel allows me to do that and this is the one car i refuse to buy because i feel like this is my first love and if i were to purchase it again i would start finding things wrong with it and i don’t ever want to break that magic spell that this car has over me all right well let’s look at the newest z’s to my left is a very orange 2006

Nissan 350z and to my right is a 2019 heritage edition 370z now i’m going to kind of lump these cars together because from 2006 until today nissan kind of took their eye off the ball let’s face it a brand has to have one iconic car that represents its dna and in between these two cars the gtr came to america and i think that nissan instead of focusing on the z

Decided to make the gtr the king of the showroom and that’s a shame because both of these cars are kind of in this netherlands between being sporty and being grand tours and the reason for that is because the gtr took all the shine off the apple but let’s look at the inside of this orange car and see how much it changed for my beloved 300 zx twin turbo so with

This car we’re kind of getting into the carlos gone era of nissan carlos gone came to nissan and saved nissan it was in trouble and he was a white knight on the shining horse but the way that he did that was by cost cutting so we do have now a six-speed manual instead of a five-speed manual we still have the tachometer in the middle 160 mile an hour speedometer

The three binnacles are back with volts oil and get this a digital clock and of course you have heated seats so some amenities a more traditional radio and the beginning of modern infotainment but if you look at it it’s all kind of uh you know plasticky and feels like it’s been phoned in doesn’t feel like there’s a lot of heart and soul that went into this car

Now i’m sorry if you love this generation of z but for me like i said nissan kind of lost the plot but let’s look at the next and second to last generation before we make that a conclusive ending to this video so let’s face it uh this 2019z is more of a refinement an evolution of the previous generation it’s not all that new the bit closer back and they’re

A little bit more traditional once again tachometer squarely in front of me now we have a 180 mile an hour speedometer and if you look at this car you’ll start to see a lot of similarities between it and the new car and i think the new car is where nissan got its soul back so let’s just take a quick look at that and well let’s take a quick look at it now

This is the 2023 nissan z no more x no more numbers just a z and i think that’s important because it means that nissan has found its z soul i love the styling of it if you look right there you can see kind of the design language that shows you the rounded headlights that stretch all the way back to the first generation once again you don’t have unfortunately a

Straight six but you do have a twin turbo that now produces 400 horsepower and you have a focus on performance and on driving dynamics so before we had a car that over the years has gone from being sporty to grand touring to kind of cost cutting i think we’re back in a way to where we started from we’ve got a car that is affordable here i say it in japan this

Is about 41 000 and a car that is sexy and beautiful in essence a car that when i walk away from it i do that it makes me feel special well guys thanks for taking this quick journey with me through the history of the nissan z and maybe now you understand why i love the z so much as always this is roman reporting for the fastlane car and check out alltfl.com

For all of our news tweets podcasts and of course z video see you next time ciao bye

Transcribed from video
50 Years & 7 Generations Of the Nissan Z Compared – Here’s Why One Model Stands Above All The Rest! By TFLclassics