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Tuesday, September 15, 2020

6 Fun Facts about the Nissan Z

Nissan’s Z series has enthused many generations of car lovers. Since 1969, the iconic model represents “Nissan-ness” being a challenger, innovative, passionate. It’s an example of how the carmaker challenged the belief that high-performance cars are expensive. With six generations of driving excitement here comes a collection of fun facts.

#1. A musical name

The Nissan Fairlady Z made its debut 51 years ago. The name Fairlady was given after Katsuji Kawamata, then President of Nissan Motors Japan, watched the Broadway musical “My Fair Lady.” He liked it so much, that he thought it to be the perfect name for Nissan sports cars. He felt that the name would invoke an image of beauty for the car—because people would think of the beauty of the music and the musical’s leading lady.

While the name Fairlady worked in Japan, it did not evoke the spirit of the sports car with the customers of the USA and was named the Datsun 240Z instead. The term “240” stood for 2400cc engine displacement, and the “Z” had been the new car’s product file designation within Nissan’s Design Department. Delivering 151 horsepower, the car became an instant hit.

#2. The Z and Mr. K

Yutaka Katayama is well-known as the father of the Z. Affectionately known as Mr. K, he started building the foundations of Nissan North America in the 1960s. He always had a keen eye for customer demands. As such, Mr. K played a key role in the development of an affordable, fast, and reliable sports car. The Z car was born.

In 1998, Mr. K was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Michigan. He is respected for combining a long-term management perspective with strong integrity. Above all, he loved, understood, and unstintingly cooperated with and supported people regardless of nationality, ignoring borders. Mr. K passed away in 2015, at the age of 105.

#3. And the Oscar goes to...

The Z has awed many fans in a variety of movies. The most famous appearance is probably that of the 350Z in the 2006 movie “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift”. Takashi, also known as the Drift King, pushes the car to its limits. Thanks to the twin APS turbochargers, the power has been boosted to an impressive 430 horsepower and 570 Nm of torque.

Notably, in Quentin Tarantino’s hit film Kill Bill, Sofia Fatale can be seen driving the 300ZX. And did you know that the Generation 1 Transformers Prowl, Bluestreak, Smokescreen, and Streetwise use a 1979 Nissan Fairlady Z as their alternate mode?

#4. “Hey Steve, you sell the Apples, I sell the Zs.”

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is among the many celebrities who love the Z. In this 1979 commercial, he explains why he likes his 280ZX best. Wittily, in 2007, Wozniak and Nissan recreated the ad, this time featuring a 350Z.

Other celebrities who are a fan of Z are TV personality include Jay Leno and the late Hollywood superstar Paul Newman, who has won several races in the 1985 300ZX Turbo.

#5. From outer space

Over the past 51 years, the Z has been the shining star in more memorable ads. In 1975, the fuel-injected 280Z descended from space like a UFO. More Z extravaganza can be seen in the 1980 “Black Gold” ad for the tenth anniversary of the Datsun 280ZX.

#6. Z fever

Z owners regularly come together to confess their love for the engineering beauty. In Australia alone, there are seven Z car clubs. Last year, many came together for the Z’s 50th anniversary and the launch of the Nissan 370Z 50th anniversary edition at the legendary Bathurst track. 50 owners and 50 cars took to the circuit for a display like no other. In fact, one customer joined the event in a car that he had bought twice in his lifetime. Having taken his now wife on their first date in his Z, he couldn’t resist tracking the vehicle down 30 years on, showcasing the kind of relationship owners have with their cars.

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