Nissan has filed trademark applications in at least three countries for a new Z logo. For Zed heads waiting for a new Z, this alone would cast a ray of hope for a next-generation Z, but there’s one aspect that’s even better. The Z logo is a throwback to those found on the original 240Z.
Discovered by members of the NewNissanZ forums, the trademark applications were filed in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It shows an elongated Z with serif ends and a slash across the diagonal. The original Z logo evolved many times, but we think this new trademark most closely resembles that of the Series 1 (1970-71) 240Z.
Obviously, we think it would be fantastic if Nissan offered some styling inspired by the original S30 Z to go along with the logo. However, nothing regarding the design is known at this point regarding the long-awaited next-generation, which we will tentatively call the Z35 based on Nissan’s chassis code designations.
It should be said that this doesn’t automatically mean a new Z is on its way anytime soon. Automakers file trademarks all the time, sometimes merely to protect an existing brand. However, in conversations with Nissan engineers, we have gleaned clues that the next Z might feature electrification of some sort, like a gasoline-electric hybrid.
Therefore, the Canadian filing, which is loaded with verbiage for electrical assistance, is particularly interesting:
(1) Electrically-assisted land vehicles, Wagons, Trucks, Vans, Sport utility vehicles, Motor buses, Recreational vehicles, Sports cars, Racing cars, Engines for land vehicles, Motors, electric, for land vehicles, Electric drive unit for land vehicles…
Again, it could be Nissan covering its bases, as filings for the Qashqai and Kicks from a few years ago also mention electrification. By contrast, Toyota’s more recent filing for the decidedly non-electric new Supra is almost comically succinct.
Another point of interest: The logo matches more closely with that of the 240Z than it does with that of Japan’s Fairlady Z. This, along with the Australian and New Zealand applications, suggest to us that Nissan is planning to make the Z35 a global market car, rather than a Japan-market car that is modified to conform to various countries’ rules.
When we interviewed the new Supra’s chief engineer Tetsuya Tada, he told us that one of the main reasons why Toyota partnered with BMW is because they wanted the car to have a global reach. That wouldn’t have been possible if Toyota had developed the car on its own, Tada-san told us, due to the various and ever-tightening emissions and fleet average fuel economy standards around the world. Electrification might be the only way for the Z to see a next generation. May we suggest the name “E-Z”?
However, that doesn’t mean the Z will be less fun to drive. The GT-R and Z have already evolved from a straight-six to a V6, and as we’ve seen with the Supra, die-hard loyalists will prefer a home-grown solution to a rebadge even if it means a different powertrain than what the car’s had in the past. The engine doesn’t necessarily make the car.
What does make the car is whether it adheres to the same spirit as its predecessors. With the invocation of the 240Z’s logo, we hope it will mean a return to an accessible, lightweight, no-nonsense sports car. Perhaps, then, the long-awaited Z35 will hearken back to that of the car that revolutionized the sports cars when it debuted 50 years ago.