After what feels like eons of waiting, the time has finally come when you can get a new Z. Nissan has just launched its online configurator, prompting us to wonder how we would build a new Z. When a JNC staffer buys a car, we typically think about factors beyond just our immediate ownership. We see ourselves as curators of cars, and take into account how the car will live on beyond our ownership. In short, what will someone like us want to see at a car show 30 years from now?
We have fun with our cars, but we also take good care of them. You won’t see our Z drifting into a sideshow curb or hobbling down the freeway with a flapping bumper and mismatched body panels. We’re going to configure the Z in a way that we think that will bring the most joy to future generations and best represent over half a century of Z lineage.
First, the trim level. Our general rule of thumb is that if you can afford the top-spec model, buy it. This was especially true for older cars, when there would be significant drivetrain differences between the base spec and the range topper. Who wouldn’t want an AE86 Corolla GT-S over an SR5? In addition, many automakers only offered options like larger wheels and body-colored mirrors with the higher trims.
There’s none of that trickery with the Z. Even the base model gets the 400-horsepower twin-turbo V6, which is a more than fair deal at the starting price of $39,990. Still, we’re going to spring for the $49,990 Performance spec even though we don’t care much about the Bose sound system, and we actually prefer the Sport version’s 18-inch wheels. Performance adds factory 4-pot Akebono calipers, a 1.5-way clutch-type LSD, and Rays wheels. Those seem like a worthy investment for a car like the Z.
The question then remains, is the $52,990 Proto an even better long-term investment? Limited to just 240 units, it’s sure to be the most collectible example. Still, as much as we like the bronze Rays and yellow calipers, we’re going to skip this one because it only comes in one color. If we were set on Ikazuchi Yellow, we’d spring for the Proto but the Z has other great color options. Besides, if the Z has a long a production run as the 370Z did, there will be likely be better limited editions in the future.
Finally, there is no charge for the 9-speed automatic. But JNC‘s rules of car buying state that if it comes in a manual, you must buy it in a manual. So, Performance stick it is.
Now comes one of the hardest decisions: color. As we said before, Ikazuchi Yellow is great, but we’re not sure it goes with the Pikachu-esque front end of the current Z. If there ends up being a split-grille version like the one from the Tokyo Auto Salon, yellow would be an excellent color. So until that happens, maybe we go with Seiran blue for a Wangan Midnight vibe?
Nah. to be honest, we’re not huge fans of the two-tone look, and Nissan says yellow and blue must be paired with a black roof. That’s why after much deliberation, we’re going with Rosewood Metallic, a rich, elegant hue that is one of three paints which covers the whole car, roof and all. As a bonus, it happens to be a throwback to the Grand Prix Maroon of the Fairlady 240ZG.
Other exterior options include mud guards ($335) and ground projection lighting ($395). Also, did you know you could get racing stripes ($595) on the new Z? Man, if they weren’t the basic double stripe we’d consider it, but this is a Z, not a Z-28. Hard pass. We’re skipping it all and going straight to interior. So far we’re still at $49,990.
Rosewood only pairs with a black interior. Red and blue interiors are available, but not with our color, which is fine. We are, however, going to insist on the premium carpeted floormats ($155), the carpeted trunk mat with a Z logo embroidered in it ($105), a retractable cargo cover ($500), and a cargo net ($35). We’ll also pick up a Nissan-branded roadside emergency kit ($66), a Z-branded first-aid kit ($55), and a “trash bin” made to fit your cupholder ($45).
These are the kind of things that, 30 years from now, will be rare and highly sought after. Perhaps the best return on investment, though, is the owner’s manual portfolio ($25). If there’s anything future collectors will want, it’s a big stack of physical paper documents. We’ll also grab a frameless rear view mirror ($155) just because it looks cool.
In total, the options we added came to $1,375 in additional costs. That puts the total of the Z, including destination fees, at $51,335. This is what our 2023 Z would look like if we were to build one today. On the other hand, for a truly collectible Z, perhaps the prudent thing to do would be to wait patiently and see if anything comes of that NISMO variant.