Yutaka Katayama, the legendary executive who made Nissan a powerhouse in America, had an idea back in the 1960s. He proposed that Nissan build a car like the Jaguar E-type, only as reliable and affordable as a Ford Mustang. In 1970, the Datsun 240Z was introduced. Over the last thirty-five years, some 1.5 million Z-cars have been sold around the world; Mr. K's idea worked out pretty well.
77,767 examples of the sixth-generation have now reached the street since it came to us for the 2003 model year, far more than nearly all the experts predicted. Its continuing strength proves that Z-car consciousness runs deeper than the experts realized.
The thirty-fifth anniversary 350Z starts with the '05 Track model (one of the five different iterations), including Brembo brakes, eighteen-inch wheels, and a revised 3.5-liter V-6 that produces 300 hp thanks to variable valve timing and a 7000-rpm redline. There are also plenty of features from the Z-car's option list, including special seats and a navigation system. The anniversary 350Z is available in Mr. K's signature color, pearlescent yellow (as well as silver and black).
The Z-car still has its detractors, who whine about silly things like the difficulty stowing a couple of golf bags under the rear hatch. Let us remind these weenies that the Nissan 350Z is a sports car, not a golf cart.