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Hagerty Employee

Smithology: Treat her like a Fairlady

Four score and seven lifetimes ago, Nissan launched the 370Z. Or that’s how it feels, at least. An affordable sports car, one of the few left in the business, unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles auto show. An anachronistic gift to an industry, then as now, rapidly abandoning simple and fun cars in favor of trucklets and dowdy-cow CUVs. A kinder time, maybe, and a world possibly also possessed of a longer attention span. Less enamored of yelling, at minimum.


No matter. We got another gift this week, a concept. Flawed, perhaps, but a gift nonetheless. Nissan calls it Proto Z ...


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Intermediate Driver

This was a much-needed pointer to reality. It’s time to be less critical of the small stuff and cheer companies that still care enough to make something fun. With three pedals, no less. Thanks for the perspective. 

Advanced Driver

I agree with driverdude98, especially when the issue is manual transmissions, but the slender design budget is too evident.  Big "mouths" aside, what is the deal with the headlights?  I know, "De gustibus, etc."  I'll be watching for the retail version of the Proto Z,  but I expect I will continue to hang on to my 2014 Focus ST for dear life.  

New Driver

Thank you for such a great article.  The Proto Z is a stunner and I want one!  I currently own early Z's, and have owned over 30 over the years.  One of my 260Z's is the same color as the 240 they included in the promo pictures.  Kudo's to Nissan for having the vision and the courage to continue the heritage of the Z. 

Intermediate Driver

Just picked up a new gen 05 350z automatic convertible with 112k on it, my now 19th ZCar...   What an awesome very impressive performance machine this car is... Previously had s130 and z31 cars, what a difference... The new 400z should also be a great performer... Buy the z, buy the z, buy the beautiful z...!!!

Pit Crew

I bought a 1990 Nissan 300 ZX with 13K miles on it in 2016.  I had it for 2 days and some drunken fool smashed into my girlfriend's car in the middle of the night. Her car was pushed into the rear of my Z.  Her's totaled; mine messed up. The guy I bought it from was the original owner who babied and garaged it. I was sick. It was fixed for an $11K insurance claim and it ran fine. I paid a nice chunk of change for it because of the low miles and excellent condition. They were great cars; T-tops !!  They just don't make 'em like that anymore. And it was red. !!


As a former owner of a 1981 280ZX, what I liked was the recessed headlights made it look like a Jaguar.  They should have kept that look with modern round LED lights.


Advanced Driver

I really love the clean lines. Move those front wheels ahead about 3 inches though, or else shorten the nose. Too much overhang!


I'd buy one.

New Driver

I've owned a '72 Z for 25+ years now. It is mostly stock, some parts borrowed from other years, and some parts completely custom. It is a manual transmission and I wouldn't buy a sports car any other way. My 4 kids love the car and it has ignited a passion for driving in all of them. Now that they are leaving the nest and I have more available cash, I'm looking for a complement to my Z and I think I just saw the perfect match. The car in the picture is even the right color. What a beautiful car! 

New Driver

Great article!  The Proto is the same color as the ‘72 240 my wife and I bought right after we got married in 1974.  Great car!  Wish we still had it.

Intermediate Driver

I agree with Sam's comments about keeping the enthusiast car world alive, but this Z just doesn't grab me.  It has no styling, every feature has been smoothed out of the design.  I was trying to think of a good description, but the best I could come up with is that it looks like a stick of melted butter.  Perhaps it is the color.

New Driver

Nice article! I like this car, yes it harkens back to the 240 (which we all loved) it takes a company with guts to build a car like this. Congrats to Nissan. Should Name it Datsun 400Z 🙂


The moment I can place a deposit for one of these I intend to do so. I have loved a number of Z's...whatever this becomes will be the next. 


I've wanted a Z since I was in high school - the ONLY car real sports car of its time frame available for non-elite $. Too bad I'm too tall. This design is the best looking Z since the 240-260-280 series, by a long shot. If only I could drive it...  Oh well, Japanese don't get 6'6"+ humans. I hope it does well, I want to see them at cars n coffee, or just maybe modify one to fit. THANK YOU Nissan for foregoing extra swoops, bumps, scoops and fins - this body flows nicely and looks great from every angle. I like the squared-off grill - more kudos to Nissan for NOT doing the fugly Toyota-derived exaggerated hourglass front end.


Not my cup of tea!

This new design does nothing for me. It looks awkward at best. Demonstrates Nissan's lack of design "taste" it has demonstrated for many years. IMHO

I do appreciate Nissan's efforts to continue the two-seat sports car with a manual but.....why do it with no sense of "blended design" or beauty at all.

Nissan is quite capable of remarkable designs (see 1970 or 1990 Z's, both of which were incredible) ...or at least they WERE capable. So why not put in the required effort with this model? Regardless of using an old platform, at least design the body with the distinction it deserves.

This model appears to be designed by two different committees which did not communicate with one another at all during the process.

Put me down as disappointed. I will not be a customer without a new, clean sheet design.

To give this comment perspective, this note comes from a person who has owned several Nissans including my current Z32 Turbo so you could call me a somewhat loyal Nissan customer for a few decades.