TOC CARS TRIBUTE: Nissan 350Z – The Dream Car You Could Afford
The Nissan 350Z made a name for itself by combining sporty good looks with some serious power - all for much less of the price normally reserved for high-end sports cars. It was, essentially, a sports car on a bargain.
Similar to the Z-Car siblings that came before it, the two-seater sports car was designed with a long-hood and short rear deck which gave it a sporty look; while the round and soft edges that were in harmony with its spacious and clean planes exuded a feeling of luxury.
The 350Z came in 2 body styles – first as a 2-door coupe and later a 2-door roadster – and incorporated the Nissan FM platform which placed the engine in between the rear and front axles of the car so that they weight is concentrated in the middle.
The 2003 model of the 350Z had a 3.5 litre, V6 engine that produced 287 hp at 6,200 rpm with a torque of 274 lb.ft at 4,800 rpm. Like the size of its engine, the car was relatively big and quite heavy with a curb weight of between 1,446 kg and 1,643 kg.
The 350Z was a popular feature in many racing events and championships, including Grand AM and Super GT - Hasemi Sports won the GT 300 in 2003 using the 350Z.
In drifting, the 350Z found success in the D1 Grand Prix and Formula D series, most notably in the hands of Ryuji Miki, Yoichi Imamura and Tanner Fraust. In 2006, Tanner Fraust became the first driver to achieve a perfect score of 100 during a D1 Grand Prix exhibition event using a 350Z – a marked testament of the car’s superb handling characteristics.
In October 2006, the 370Z was announced and replaced the 350Z, making it the sixth generation of the Nissan Z-car family.