Z Car West Coast Nationals
April 29, 2007
hat can we say that hasn't already been said about the Z car? The six-cylinder, two (and occasionally 2+2) seater coupe has become widely regarded as the sled that put Japanese sports cars on the map, somehow managed to completely usurp the last letter of the alphabet, and amassed enough devoted followers to start a small country.
On April 29, 400 of such fanatic owners and about 9000 spectators came to Oak Canyon Park in Silverado, CA to plot their global takeover. That, and to attend the annual Car West Coast Nationals. The show, put on by So-Cal Z car specialists Greg Smith and his posse at Motorsport Auto, is in its twelfth year and for the first time ever, on grass. For 2007, the venue was moved from the streets of MSA headquarters in Orange to a pastoral setting adjacent to Irvine Lake, which included tree shade that proved great for lounging but too shadowy for photography.
Smith's descent into Z madness started way back with his first one, a brand new 1973 240Z that took him through school and his honeymoon. Nowadays, he keeps a 1978 280Z, a 1981 280ZX and a 2006 350z in his stable, but sees the Z32s as the next in line for a burgeneoning collector's market. In fact, at 17 years of age, it's older than the 240Z was when Smith founded MSA.
When peeping classic Zs, whether an early S30 or a seventies-tastic 280Z or a 1980s toy line staple 280ZX, it's clear that the sportsters had aftermarket support right out of the box. Stroll amongst the rows and you'll bear witness to everything from a vintage widebody kit to a modern resto-mod RB swap. Stylings like the 1980s J-tech of the soon-to-be-nostalgic Z31s or the retro throwback Z33s, including Nissan's own 2007 NISMO concept
from the New York Auto Show represented the new school en force. Combine all that with the sheer number of vehicles gather-able in one spot for a celebration of all things Z, and there's your testament to both the car's devoted following and its status among collectors.