It was fifty years ago that Nissan introduced the North American car market to their sporty Datsun 240Z. Since then, the model has carried on, thriving with enthusiasts and racers, and going on to become an affordable cornerstone of the brand’s performance image. To celebrate the car’s five-decade legacy, for 2020, Nissan is offering the 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition.
While attending the Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Annual Spring Rally, I had the chance to see, experience, and drive the special edition package, cruising along the curvy backroads around the famed Road America racetrack, in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Interview with Matt White
After my quick spin, I chatted at length with Matt White, Nissan’s Chief Marketing Manager & Planner for the 370Z. While the package is purely cosmetic, there was still much to discuss, including the brand’s perspective on the model and the major anniversary. “It’s a nameplate in our lineup that has lasted longer than anything else,’ said White. “Of utmost importance was celebrating the heritage.”
He also filled me how the brand continues to recognize the passion for the 240Z, noticing the increasing quantity that are getting restored by enthusiasts. “With this 50th 370Z, we wanted to create something a true collector would want,’ said White.
5 Facts on the 50th Anniversary Edition
Fifty years is a lot of legacy to impart into a special edition and Nissan worked hard to incorporate multiple references to the model’s storied lineage. Here are five facts about the new car.
1. It has double the horsepower as the 240Z
When the car first launched at the 1969 New York Auto Show, it had a six-cylinder, single overhead cam engine, rated at 150 horsepower. Fuel was fed through twin, SU-type, carbs while transmission options included a four-speed manual or a three-speed automatic. Today, the 370Z comes with a 3.7-liter DOHC V6 which makes 332 horsepower. You can still get it with a manual (a six-speed) or a seven-speed automatic, that can come with paddle shifters.
2. The colors harken to a 1960s race team
The vivid white and red color scheme is a throwback to the livery of the competition cars used by the Brock Racing Enterprises team. They ran Datsuns during the late 1960s and early 1970s, first using 510 sedans before moving to 240Zs. According to Nissan, ‘after the BRE 240Z debuted in 1970, Nissan/Datsun became one of the most successful companies in American motorsports – with thousands of victories over the past five decades.”
Those iconic racecars that won were painted white on the bottom half and either blue or red on the top half. Twin hash marks on the doors were also standard hallmarks. On this new car, the red is painted while the door elements are graphics. This 50th Anniversary edition can also be had in silver and black, too.
3. It’s the second 50th Anniversary Z
Not to be confused with the current 50th Anniversary, another 50th Anniversary edition Z was released in 1984. Instead of a model milestone, this package celebrated a company milestone, marking five decades since Nissan’s founding in December of 1933.
In total, there has been five special edition Zs, including the:
- 1980 Datsun 280ZX 10th Anniversary Edition: A total of 3,000 of these vehicles were made, with 2,500 of those receiving black and gold paint schemes. The remaining 500 had a red and black paint scheme. Inside, there was a dash plaque bearing the edition number. Other special touches include a golden Z hood badge and commemorative wreath decals on the front fenders and hatch. Power came from a 2.8-liter inline-6 cylinder engine, good for 132 horsepower and paired to a 5-speed manual transmission.
- 1984 Nissan 300ZX Turbo 50th Anniversary Edition: These cars came equipped with a 3.0-liter V6, capable of 200 horsepower. It was paired to either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. The car got commemorative badging and turbine-style alloy wheels with gold accents. Just 5,148 vehicles were produced for the U.S. market, with another 300 going to Canada.
- 2005 Nissan 350Z 35th Anniversary Edition: This package could be had in Ultra Yellow, Silverstone or Super Black paint. Engine output was bumped by 13 horsepower, bringing the total to 300. A 6-speed manual was the only transmission option. Other touches included unique 18-inch wheels, a front spoiler, Brembo brakes and special badging.
- 2010 Nissan 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition: Only 1,000 vehicles were made and all came in a special paint scheme called ’40th Graphite’. The cars also got red calipers and unique badging. The Z had also just undergone a name change from the 350Z to the 370Z, after the engine was bumped to a displacement of 3.7 liters.
4. There are wreath patterns in the seats
A wreath pattern first appeared on the 1984 50th Anniversary edition and this 2020 edition also bears multiple uses of the ancient symbol for achievement. You’ll find them most noticeably around the front fenders, encircling the ‘Z’ badge (which also continues to double as the turn signal indicator lights) and also on the front seat backs.
5. The C-Pillar sticker is inspired by the original 240Z
Along the side of the car, a thin red line runs from the headlight all the way to the rear glass. It culminates in a small triangle that Nissan reports was inspired by the C-pillar on the Datsun 240Z.
That styling element matches the wheels, which each receive a thin, red outline.
Availability & Pricing
The 2020 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition is on sale now and only available in coupe form with the Sport trim. It costs $2,600 above the price for a 370Z Coupe Sport.