With any car possessing as much heritage as the Nissan Z, you can’t just trot it out with paying respects to its elders. So it was only natural that Nissan would bring out its classic Z-cars from its own collection to the debut of the Z Proto in Yokohama, Japan. Here’s the entire clan, all gathered together, to welcome the latest addition to the family.
The unveiling took place at the newly opened Nissan Pavilion in Yokohama, not too far from the company’s world headquarters. At one point in the day, a gorgeous Grand Prix Maroon 240ZG was parked front and center.
Even though the first generation is represented twice here and the 240ZG isn’t as well known as the regular-nose Z, there’s good reason for its presence. According to Senior VP for Global Design Alfonso Albaisa, the two half-circles of the Z Proto’s LED headlights were inspired by the way the ZG’s plastic lenses reflect light when illuminated.
The formal lineup of six generations begins, quite properly, with a Fairlady Z432, the high-performance twin-cam version we never received in the US. It’s really the best representation of the S30 generation, an incontestable icon that kicked off a 51-year legacy.
The S130 generation was represented by a top-spec Fairlady 280Z. Sadly, while Japan had a turbo on the smaller 2.0-liter six, our 280ZX’s 2.8-liter turbo didn’t pass the Japanese government’s certification tests and was never offered in the motherland. The car on display did have an excellent two-tone Manhattan paint job, though.
Interestingly, the Z31 slot was filled by a US-spec left-hand-drive 50th Anniversary Edition 300ZX Turbo. Offered only in 1984, it was built to commemorate the founding of Nissan. Now, the Z itself is 50 years old. It’s mind-blowing to think that the length of time between today and the Z432 above is the same as between this Z31 and the year 1934!
The Z32 is represented by a Turbo 2-by-2, the only four-seater in this lineup. Interestingly, it’s also turbocharged, an option we in the States never got. All our 2+2s were naturally aspirated.
Finally, a silver Z33 and red Z34 finish out the family tree and bring the line of succession into the modern age. Even if you’re not a fan of every generation, seeing the entire genealogy together is quite remarkable. But, this wasn’t the only gathering of classic surrounding the Z Proto’s debut.
Last year, Nissan put together another collection of famous Zs to mark the 50 years of the Z and the launch party of the 50th Anniversary Edition 370Z. You may have seen footage from this gathering used in the Z Proto’s debut, or the S30 driving alongside the Z Proto at Nissan’s famed Oppama factory.
Leading the pack is a 1977 Fairlady Z-T, a home-market luxury trim level, followed by 2+2 versions of the S130 and Z31. The Z32, however, is a two-seater. Oops, did they send the 2-by-2 to the the other gathering by mistake? The Z33 looks like it could be the same car.
Amazingly, Nissan managed to call a two Z meetings with completely different examples of each classic generation. With the exception of maybe the Z35, none of them are repeated in front of the pavilion.
Taken together, it’s a fairly impressive record of everything the Z has stood for in the last half century. There’s a lot for Nissan to be proud of in these collections. It’s not an easy heritage to live up to, but we think the Z Proto has a good shot at doing its predecessors proud.
Some images courtesy of Nissan.