QotW: What’s the greatest Z-Car?

Datsun 240Z East African Safari Rally

As we prepare for the 2014 ZCon this week, we can’t help but reflect on how influential the Z-Car has been to the JNC scene. We don’t usually devote a QotW to a single model but the Z has earned it over six generations and 45 years.

What’s the greatest Z-Car?

In 1971 the No.11 Datsun 240Z finished a five-day, 3,977-mile trek across the punishing landscape of East Africa and won the 1971 Safari Rally. That very car is still kept in Nissan’s Zama warehouse, battle scars and all, as a reminder of that fantastic feat. Incidentally, the designers of the 240Z, 300ZX TT and 370Z will all be in San Diego this week. at ZCon.

What say you, dear reader? As always, the most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of the last QotW, “What’s the coolest JNC stereo deck?” 

1989 Toyota MR2 AW11 stereo

The winner this week is Stuart Kayrooz, who lobbied for the AW11 MR2’s stock unit. We couldn’t find a pic of the Australian market stereo, so we used a USDM one. Nevertheless, it is a deserving champion, since we already know that the AW11 is the official car of 80s style electronica.

I hate to follow up one MR2 with another (not really ;)) but for me it’s the stereo out of my ’87 Australian Delivered AW11.

Not far off the Cressida in the main pic, with physical equalisers, tape deck, LED lighting that puts the feeble interior light to shame and all stereo and HVAC controls enclosed by a notoriously brittle plastic and faux leather surround.

2 feeble dash speakers (with an optional “active” sub under the seat) in such a small cabin makes your Guitar Wolf cassette sound even more low-fi than it already is, and the tweeters situated almost at headphone- position behind the driver and passenger allow all the distortion through you could possibly want. And more. (a lot more).

Although lacking logic control, it does feature something much more useful – a “defeat” button, allowing you to see off any competitor at the traffic light quarter-mile (or maybe it just makes the stereo ignore the EQ settings).

Ultimately though… the best part of the stereo is further back… and the harder you get pushed into the seat, the closer you get to the howling 4A-GE behind you 🙂

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash


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12 Responses to QotW: What’s the greatest Z-Car?

  1. Lupus says:

    For me the most important and influential Z was the ABR Hasoki Z:
    The TRUE Wangan Brute from the past upon witch the Akuma No Zetto from Wangan Midnight was based. The ultimate achivement in hi-speed tuning and overall research in weight reduction, reliability and handling. Not to mention the power and torque.
    Thanks to that particulair car i’m in love with Zed’s, so awsome it is.

  2. Kris says:

    240z, 300zx z32 and 370 z34

  3. Dave Jarvas says:

    The greatest Z Car is the one that either is sitting in your garage/driveway, the one your family/friend had, or the one that we all see in current advertisements. Reason its the greatest, is because it allows us all to connect to the beloved Z-car and keep the excitement of an affordable sports car alive.

    • pstar says:


      You get it bro. The greatness of the Z is that it was a sportscar for everyman, and more reliable and cheaper than any that had come before it. They were modified from the very beginning, at dealerships and right afterwards. True, most guys modified them the same, with slot mags and rear louvres, but the point was that they were just modifying their car, with what they liked, WITHOUT trying to make it look like any famous car in particular (in stark contrast to the dullards who make BRE replicas today).

      Mine is the one that my family friends had since 30 years ago, that they still have, that is waiting for me to welcome it into my garage some when in the future.

    • Rustrocket says:

      +2. The greatest Z car was my 1987 300ZX NA. It was my first. I bought it at 15 with money I had saved up working as an accompanist.

      I waxed it twice a month, covered it in the summer, and would sneak out from my parents house at night to do speed runs from Seattle to Spokane.

      It was the only freedom I had.

      I put 70k miles on it in the four years I had it, before some vandals decided to smash it to hell while it was parked in front of my parents house while I was at school. Every window, every panel (think Christine). They took the head unit, that’s it.

      Its ECU, MAF and wiring harness were among the things I kept when I tore it down, and soon they will live on in my 280Z now that I’m finally giving up on L-Jetronic.

  4. tennhogfan says:

    For me it is the S130. The arch nemesis of first generation owners everywhere. How do I know?
    Haters gon hate in 3…2…1..

  5. Ryan says:

    It HAS to be the S30 Fairlady Z432R. The most iconic Z-car shape powered by the most heralded and rare of all nostalgic Nissan/Prince engines, the S20 aka Hakosuka GT-R engine. Not to mention true racing pedigree as a homologated rally model.

    When an $80,000 platinum Tomica model is still cheaper than the real thing, I think you all know I’m right.

  6. SF says:

    The one built for the human race.

  7. Ken S. says:

    I think the natural, tempting answer is a s30 variant, but the Z generation that fits the term ‘greatest’ would have to be the twin turbo z32.

    Only because when looking at all the Z chassis in a chronological order, in terms of aesthetics, performance (in bold), and overall build quality, the z32 TT triumphs as the peak of the crest. s30/s130 was a nice incline leading up to the z32 delivery, and let’s face it, the z33/z34 are both relatively disappointing decline in comparison to the prime 90’s model.

    Though I love the raw feel of my current ’72 with ITB’s, I do miss the presence of my ’94 z32 that I had; driver centric cock pit, the super car feel, and over engineered build quality just oozes greatness.

  8. ryan says:

    Z32 300zx – Twin tubo, manual, short wheel base.
    hard to find a 32 with all those boxes ticked.

  9. max says:

    my #1 spot goes to the S30 but i give an honorable mention to the autobots 280zx trio who have protected us from the decepticons back in the 80’s. Transformers were awesome, and Prowl was one of my favorite. When i was a kid i never such a cool police, and it could transform into a kick ass giant robot! need more? there’s also Smokescreen who had nice race car livery.to make it look like the Electramotive Datsun 280ZX Turbo, the nuber 38 is also a nice tribute.And there’s also Bluestreak also known as Silverstreak or Jaseur in french(Québec), he’s a talker.Will talk without end for forever about nothing at all.
    i know the 280zx isn’t everyone’s favorite Z but that autobot trio make me want to own one so bad! TRANSFRORMERS were so cool!

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