Over the weekend the production Japanese-spec Nissan Fairlady Z was finally unveiled at the 2022 Tokyo Auto Salon. Joining it on stage at the custom car extravaganza, in addition to the standard yellow and blue, was one very orange customized version evoking thoughts of the legendary Fairlady Z432R.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Nissan Fairlady Z Customized Proto — trying saying that three times fast — is the nose. Its very large rectangular maw has been replaced with a bisected grille with distinct upper and lower elements.
If we had to guess, it’s probably a concession to the many online criticisms about the opening. Nissan has already responded to by giving the upper grille a chrome finish between the Z Proto and production Z, but this takes it one step further. To our eyes, it instantly gives the car a more old school feel, especially from the head-on front view.
The orange paint adds to the throwback vibes as well, with its black highlights an homage to the Z432R’s black hood. The silver “katana blade” that runs along the roof to the base of the C-pillar is body colored too. If the A-pillars were orange as well, it would probably look even more evocative of 70s-90s Z-cars.
Fender flares nestle black 19-inch aluminum wheels the evoke the classic RS-Watanabe 8-spoke. White-letter tires in front measure the same as the Performance trim’s 255/40-R19, but the rears are slightly wider at 285/35-R19 (vs P275/35-R19).
A rear spoiler also conjures strong images of the Z432, thanks to an orange topside and black underside with a Fairlady Z script emblem affixed to it. If you look closely, you’ll noticed that its exhaust finishers have a split circle design, another tribute to the Z’s twin stacked exhaust pipes.
Let’s get back to the front. Not only is the grille now comprised of two separate ducts, but the lower one is inset, removing a lot of the visual mass that exists in the production Z. The contour that divide the upper and lower sections flows nicely into the black accent stripe along the sides too. The lower section ends juts out like a classic chin spoiler as well, while two cutouts are reminiscent of the air ducts found on BRE spooks. Below them, carbon fiber spoilers finish off the look.
It’s really a beautiful design, a perfect blend of classic and modern. And after seeing it we’re kind of sad that the production Z isn’t getting this nose right from the get-go. Our source at Nissan says, “At this stage we are using the car as a study of possibilities” so unfortunately nothing is set in stone yet. However, during the presentation at the Auto Salon, representatives did say, in response to a question about purchasing the kit, “Please purchase the new Fairlady Z first, and then wait for the aftermarket parts to be released.”
Images courtesy of Nissan.