QotW: What’s your favorite Z?

Nissan celebrated dual 50th anniversaries last week for two of its most revered models. We’ve inquired about the GT-R already; now it’s the Z’s turn. The beloved Z has gone through countless variations over the years, from the race-ready Fairlady Z432 of the disco age to the twin-turbocharged Z32 of the Bubble Era to the the long-lived 370Z of modern times. From the moment of its debut, the way the world looked at sports cars was changed forever. There are many to choose from, but if you could have any one, what would it be, and why?

What’s your favorite Z?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your favorite GT-R?

It was great to hear all your GT-R stories last week, from those who discovered the car in Gran Turismo to those who encountered one in the sheetmetal in Japan for the first time, and every generation was covered.

Michael Challen had a very specific build in mind, because he already owns his dream car. Angelo ‘s love for the R32 comes from a familiar place, playing with little toy cars. Erik V‘s passion stems purely from the S20’s sound. Josh made a stellar case for a variant of the oft-derided R33. In the end we had to go with GSX-R35, who made us chuckle imagining him agonizing over the question:

Whichever one gets my fizzy bits fizzing best at the time!

It sounds like a cheeky answer but let me elaborate. I’ve been a huge Nissan fan since I was a kid and a gigantic GT-R fan since I first played Gran Turismo 2. For me the R34 was the big daddy for the longest time and I was sad when production ended and the Motorex fiasco happened before I could get my hands on one in the States. I was skeptical the R35 would ever live up to the Godzilla legend but then it came out and I’m lucky to own one.

It’s now solidly my favorite GT-R of all time. Of course, I’m lucky to have one that’s heavily modded to a respectable 800ish whp on pump but it’s still well-mannered and reliable enough I’d let my own mother drive it – if she weren’t so worried about potentially dinging my baby. With Super GT, Bathurst, and FIA GT championship wins recorded, tuned examples raging past the 3000hp limit, and styling that’s unmistakably Japanese I have to say mission accomplished to Nissan in making a worthy GT-R successor.

But I also own a Nismo R32 which has been a long and seemingly never-ending restoration project. It has “only” half the horses of my R35, rides stiffer than a teenager that snuck into the local strip joint, and I’m cooking in it right now ’cause the AC is on the fritz so I should hate it, right? No, because racecar. Group A conquering, banned-because-it-was-the-only-way-to-stop-it racecar.

Oh, but I’d love a Hakosuka too because that was the OG. And who could say no to a super-rare Kenmeri. Even the “unloved” R33 has that magic Nismo 400R to aspire to. Even the R30 and R31 Skylines have quirky ’80s box charm going for them.

But I need to save up for that R34 I’ve always dreamed of having…

So yeah, what was the question again?


Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

This post is filed under: Question of the Week and
tagged: , , , , .

16 Responses to QotW: What’s your favorite Z?

  1. dbdr says:

    S130! It’s the perfect mix of 70s and 80s styling, and still powered by the cool L-series engines that made the Z so special. And the best S130 is of course the gull winged “Super Z” from Seibu Keisatsu!

  2. ZRay says:

    My beloved 1970 240Z was purchased new April 10 1970 at 1:30 pm, drove to home that afternoon. Has been a part of my life til last year. Had to sell because I’m 75, have a 70 510 and can’t devote (two Datsuns) running the way they should be. The 240z went to a lovely girl who loves the Z as much as I did.

  3. BlitzPig says:

    The S30. The original 240Z was, and is, the best of breed. It’s purity of purpose, taught styling, light weight, high reliability,, and just plain all around goodness have never been surpassed by the bloated boulevard cruisers that came after it.

    The S30 is a harmonious machine, pure and simple.

  4. Joel Rollins says:

    Z32. No question

  5. 91farladyd says:

    Easy answer, Z32. Why?

    The last exported Z32 now sits in the Peterson car museum with the special plate that reads “300/300”.

    The Z32 was critically acclaimed by many magazines as being a complete turnaround from the Z31, which many critics felt was a sloppy-handling GT, far from the agile, sporty 240Z of years past.

    Motor Trend named the 1990 300ZXtt “Import Car of the Year”.

    Motor Trend also named it One of the Top Ten Performance Cars.

    Automobile Magazine honored the 300ZX as its Design of the Year and named the 300-ZX Turbo to its All Stars list.

    Automobile Magazine also named the Z32 to its “25 Most Beautiful Cars” list in August 2006 and “20 Greatest Cars” in April 2006.

    Road & Track named the 300ZXtt One of the Ten Best Cars in the World.

    Car and Driver named the 300-ZX Turbo One of the Ten Best Cars for six straight years.

  6. Mazluce says:

    As a child of the 90’s the Z32 300zx left a huge impression on me. It won Car and Driver’s 10 best cars for every year it was offered in the states a magazine I used to read religiously. But what made my really want one and why I still like it was that toy commercial they released in the mid 90s. It was the absolute coolest car commercial I had ever seen.

  7. Joe Rotz says:

    My 72 Fairlady Z, purchased it in Japan in May 1974 and have owned it ever since, 45 years. Fully restored to better then factory. Has won 21 1st Place Awards and recently won the Award of Excellence Private Owner, out of a field of over 1500 cars at the Classic Auto Show.

  8. Duncan says:

    ’71 240Z purchased new with 14 miles on the clock. 6 years later she left with my first wife. Nuff said.

  9. Lupus says:

    A similair question was asked hre some time ago, “What’s the most iconic Z for you” or something like that. I pointed then the ABR Hasoki Z, as the original source of the Akuma No Zetto (Devil Z) from Wangan MidNight. So i need to stay at the loving of S130 chassis. The non-cult offspring of the S30 that became the foundation of the nest two Z iterations in terms of style, classification and overall feel. I would love to own a Z32 or Z31, but if i would need to make i life choice i would opt for the S130. Because it’s the least mainstream of the Z-herd.

  10. Tom Westmacott says:

    I’m rather keen on all the Zs, from the original S30 through to the current Z34. However, if the gods of Yokohama offered me one, I’d have to request a Z32 twin turbo two-seater in the rare factory purple, lowered on a set of the BBS-style wheels that look so good on the Z32. A modest turbocharger upgrade, say twin T25Gs, should see an easy 450hp, giving a car that’s seriously quick and fun to drive, while remaining comfortable and usable, and great-looking into the bargain.

    (Sshh, don’t tell the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department you’ve given it to me though, I don’t need the official documentation of my terminal velocities on the Wangan or Aqua Line 🙂 )

  11. Ant says:

    Original is best in this case – the 240Z has the purest design and remains rather fine to drive even half a century after launch. Compact, but punchy for its size, and entertaining without being too unrefined or difficult to drive. Set the formula for every Z that followed, and by definition has given us quite an impressive lineage.

    I do have a soft spot for the most recent 370Z Nismo though. Much more aggressive than other Zs, but great fun to drive and has a visual edge that the standard 370 lacks.

  12. cesariojpn says:

    Easy answer: the 1972 Fairlady S30 Highway Patrol Car in the Nissan Heritage Collection.


    Once sported by the Kanagawa Prefectural Police, it’s probably the only privately held example of a genuine used Japanese Police Car, and it’s a Zed-car to boot. It reminds me of videos I occasionally see on Youtube where they show how they dispose of old Japanese cop cars.

    One video showed former cop cars sitting under a highway overpass, with bird crap caking many cars; others in a coat of dust. Another was a driver going around a town area and stumbling up a fleet of cop kei-cars sitting somewhere, probably disused and retired. Still another one is a dismantling yard, where workers take hammers to lightbars and smash them; others are taking off parts. (wish I could find them again, stupid YouTube algorithms)

    And then I see video documentaries featuring a wide variety of Japanese Police cars……with well known 80’s-90’s era cars:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RD1xuO5mxA (Galant VR4)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS-y6z6isco (300ZX/Z33 Patrol Car?)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-aJo0IIZ2w (SC300)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KbnxPJ0IQ_M (GTO VR4?)

    Also news accounts and reports:


    And I have to wonder if that lone Fairlady Z Pato Car is the only one of it’s kind that has escape the sad fate of it’s brethren.

  13. エーイダン says:

    Favourite Z? Oh jeez……I’d have to say……..’74 260Z. The 260Z is a cheaper, rarer and almost forgotten child of the 240Z. It has the look of the 240Z, sleek and sporty. The 280Z….not bad, but beginning to look a little well….swollen. Then the 280ZX came along, basically just the face mask of the 240Z remained affront to the slushiest of the ’70s Z-cars. The 260ZG Fairlady would be my favourite particular version, if we are going to get right into specifics.

  14. Jeremy A. says:

    The 280ZX (S130). And it’s not just because I own one. (It mostly is.)
    I was born in 83, and spent my formative years seeing the S130 and Z31 on the streets, the S130 was in my toybox (Two transformers, and a number of Matchbox cars), and it was on TV. Heck, it was even going to be KITT for a while, until GM’s money came in and convinced Knight Rider’s showrunners that KITT should be an F-body.

    The S130 gives you the glassic Z looks, updated for the late bubble-era with more muscular haunches, square edges where it needed them and round where it didn’t. It introduced the Z to the turbo, stood up to and spanked the F-Bodies, Fox Bodies and Corvettes of the day, and it brought the car into the 80s, with a more refined interior, T-tops, digital gauges and a ride that was at home in the curves as it was cruising the freeway.

  15. Papa Smurf says:

    Any Z that utilizes nitrous oxide.

    In other words, the UN-Fairlady.

  16. The answer may be a bit uninspiring, but for me it is clearly the Z432-R. The unicorn of all Z’s,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *