LA Auto Show: Retro Nissan Z, Nostalgic Mitsubishis

Today at the LA Auto Show, Nissan finally revealed the 370Z to the world, finally, at long last, and for reals. Mitsubishi also brought out a couple of classics to show the world, “Hey, we’ve been doing this since waaay before rebadging ourselves as Plymouths!”


We’ve been following the Nissan 370Z since March, because it’s one of the few new Japanese cars to explicitly draw on its heritage for its design (the other being the Toyota FJ Cruiser). We love that! Nissan recognized the importance of it too in their press release:

to get the full measure of the new model, now designated the Nissan 370Z, one need look no farther than the subtle upswept line of the new rear quarter window. Quintessentially Z, the window harkens back to the original 1970 240Z – a car that revolutionized the sports car world with its unique combination of performance, style and, especially, value…. The new 370Z’s ‘super evolution’ builds on the best features of both the first and last generations Z–cars – respectful but not retro, simple yet sophisticated, and 110 percent pure Z.

We now know the specs:

  • 100.4-inch wheelbase (3.9 inches shorter than the 350Z)
  • 167.1-inch overall length (2.7 inches shorter than the 350Z)
  • 332hp @ 7000rpm, 270 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200rpm
  • 3.7-liter 24-valve DOHC V6 (VQ37VHR) with VVEL (variable valve event and lift)
  • available in either 6MT with world’s first “SynchroRev Match” or 7AT
  • carbon fiber composite driveshaft
  • aluminum hood, doors and hatchback
  • 3,232-pound curb weight (107lb less than base 350Z)
  • standard 18-inch wheels with optional Rays 19×9 (front) and 19×10 (rear) forged alloys
  • two models available: 370Z and 370Z Touring
  • prices starting at $29,930

Nissan also announced that a taste of JDM chic is coming to America in the form of the third-gen Nissan Cube. We think the second-gen Cube is one of the most ingeniously designed cars of all time because it dared to be asymmetrical, and the new one carries the tradition on proudly. It comes a 1.8L DOHC inline four, rated at 122 horsepower and 127 lb-ft of torque and we’d spring for the 6-speed manual over the CVT.


Honda managed the incredible feat of bringing a concept to the LA Auto Show without having photos of it leaked all over the internet before its debut. The FC Sport concept is a mid-engined sports car powered by twin hydrogen fuel cells visibile through the rear canopy. The seating position puts the driver in the middle with passengers on either side and to the rear. The designers claim this is an F1 seating position, a nod to the company’s long Formula 1 history. It’s cool, and thus not slated for production at all.


Best of all though, Mitsubishi brought out a couple of immaculate nostalgics, continuing a most excellent trend that started with 1974 and 1981 Lancer rally machines and the Galant GTO R73-X. This time it was the 1973 FTO and the Colt F2000 open wheeled racer, which won the Japan Grand Prix and was powered by a 290PS, DOHC, 16-valve four – in 1971!


European brands like BMW, Porsche Audi and Jaguar all had some historic cars representing, but Mitsubishi was the only Japanese marque to do so. Triple diamond mafia represent!

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This post is filed under: datsun, mitsubishi, motorsports, nissan.

7 Responses to LA Auto Show: Retro Nissan Z, Nostalgic Mitsubishis

  1. Oyaji Gaijin said:

    We are now, finally, seeing pictures and video of the 370Z, which were not taken by Nissan hired photographers, and hand chosen to show only the most appealing angles. The car looks like a cartoon caricature of itself. The shapes of the pieces are all nice, but the car is too tall and too stubby. It looks like a Suzuki X-90! I challenge anyone to find the height measurement of the 370Z, because it is cited only as “.3 inches shorter than the previous model”. No one wants to admit it is 55 inches tall! The height limit for a sporty car is 51 inches. My four door sedan is 52 inches (stock height). The Z is three inches taller than a four door sedan! When I pull up next to it at a light, I will be looking UP at the driver!

    Why do the auto makers keep doing this? Everything in the showroom looks like it needs a chop top or as if someone stretched the image vertically. Are current designers so inspired by Choro-Q toys that they can;t tell the difference between the toy and real life? Just put eyeball stickers on the headlights and you have the next Pixar/Cars cartoon character.

  2. BuddyJ said:

    Your height limit seems arbitrary, Oyaji, and from what I can find the 370′s height is 51.8″. Don’t know where you got 55″.

  3. Oyaji Gaijin said:

    I am finding numbers ranging from 1320mm to 1430mm. The lower numbers are from wiki sources, not official releases and not dependably accurate. That is 52 inches to 56 inches, and none anywhere are as low as 51.8 inches. Where did you get that number?

    51 inches is the upper limit of height of the original Japanese sporty cars, 240Z, RX7, etc. These were long and low. Sleek. Nothing like anything built in the last decade.

    The video posted on Speed Hunters / Need For Speed (video game) shows live action video with an above average height Japanese man (5 foot 6 inch to 5 foot 7 inch) standing behind the vehicle and the car is chest height, nearly shoulder height. That’s the height of a full sized sedan, station wagon, or low mini van.

    While the Z is not a pure sportscar (it is a “specialty” or GT), it still isn’t an off road vehicle.

  4. Ben said:

    Here are Nissan’s official specs:
    Wheelbase 100.4
    Overall length 167.1
    Overall width 72.6
    Overall height 51.8

    IMO, it does appear tall in Nissan’s poorly chosen official photos, but it looks better in person.

  5. Sr-FairladyZ said:

    Oyaji Gaijin, I know exactly what you mean. But I think what adds to this Choro-Q look may just be an illusion (or in my book a design flaw). The Z’s long nose that it was always known for was put under the knife for the Z32/33. The missing nose length makes her look taller, or stumpier. I can’t fully judge the 370Z until I stand next to one but I did notice this problem with the 350Z. The Nismo Z33 has a tad longer nose and it makes a world of difference. Z31 – Z32 remained at 49″ so you can see at 51.8″ she hasn’t gotten that much taller in the last 25yrs, I think its the shorter nose that hurts her.

    Nismo S-Tune GT:
    http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=2&article_id=1415
    VS.
    Stumpy:
    http://www.houstoncars.org/wp-content/uploads/2006/11/WindowsLiveWriter/2006Nissan350ZReviewAutobytel_117B4/2006-Nissan-350Z%5B2%5D.jpg

  6. Xemoto said:

    I really like that FC Sports concept. I think people who don’t like it simply are biased with the Italian competitions’ styling. They should just get themselves an Italian. This FC concept is odd, but not necessarily ugly. It’s got some Countach with some cues from the current Civic’s front. Of course they could go mainstream, that would mean being derivative with regards to styling like the NSX was. It goes without saying that a production version would be less outlandish.

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