Nissan 300ZX Turbo

Just when we had given up on the bloated lounge-lizard boulevardier that the once-great Datsun 240Z had become, along came the fourth-generation Z, the 1990 Nissan 300ZX-more specifically the Turbo-and we fell for it all over again. No, it was better than that. This reincarnation not only brought the Z back from the dead, it pushed it into the exalted status of one of the twenty greatest cars built during the first two decades of Automobile Magazine. We adored it. It was once again beautiful, so sleek and tight and shimmering that it still looks great ten years after it went away. The closest cars we had in comparison were that German sports car paragon, the Porsche 944 Turbo (in its last year), and Detroit's own icon, the Chevrolet Corvette. Nissan's boldest Z blew both of them away with its stunningly superb 300-hp, 60-degree V-6, whose twin turbos delivered maximum horsepower with no discernible lag, a rarity fifteen years ago, and a sweet-shifting five-speed. The Turbo was 30 percent cheaper than the Porsche and about twice as sophisticated as both the Porsche and the Vette, with Super HICAS rear-wheel steering that made up handling ground that would have been lost due to the Turbo's nearly 3500 pounds. The Germans whined that the supple Japanese GT couldn't handle prolonged and repeated braking, and they were right, but an aftermarket set of Brembos proved to be an easy fix. The only reason the 300ZX Turbo didn't win the 1990 Automobile Magazine Automobile of the Year was that Mazda had out-astonished us with the Miata roadster, completely reinvigorating an entire category. Still, the 300ZX Turbo won an All-Star award that year, and then four more in a row. Speaking of stars, the Turbo was our first Four Seasons test car (in five years of such test cars) to win a perfect five-star rating, attesting to a bulletproof level of reliability to go along with our unflagging devotion after twelve months of hard driving. It was such an unfettered beast on the road and such a joy to drive hard that it was a wonder we all avoided jail that year. Nissan discontinued the 300ZX Turbo after six years, when emissions restrictions became too expensive to meet, insurance companies started jacking up rates on turbocharged cars, and interest in coupes flagged. But for those brief years, it was a magic time, a time when we wrote: "The 300ZX Turbo is a dance; it's a song; it's rolling, roaring automotive art. There is no color that doesn't suit it. There is no mood-lifting chemical substance it can't replace."

GaryZ1990
I bought a 1990 300Zx twin-turbo new.  I still have it today.  I relocated from the D.C. area to S.F. in 1997 and drove it cross country (northern route) which included Montana.  I achieved 153mph in Montana at which point it was very light and unstable and I backed down rather than leave the road.  
It has had some modifications done in the last few years and dyno's now at about 400hp at the rear wheels.  The mods included new CPU, high-performance turbo's and intercoolers, intake and exhaust manifold changes, low restriction exhaust, StopTech racing brakes and cross-drilled rotors (larger than stock in front) and an adjustable boost controller on the dash (where the Bose center channel speaker grill was) and a  high performance clutch.
It has 198,000 miles (no oil burn between changes)  and dusts most any car that it comes up against except truly exotics like new Ferrari's, Lambo's etc.  No crazy cam was installed (yet) so it is so street drivable that people can't believe how smooth the idle is and then when it is opened up it accelerates like a scalded cat!
It just received a new paint job from a high end body shop and all new leather interior including a re-covering of the original steering wheel.  The wheels have been changed to 18" Enkei Racing and bigger Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires.  
This has been a daily driver for me and my commute to work has been mostly 35 miles each way.  I so much prefer driving it to my very recent BMW 3 series.
I guess 25 model years now makes it a "classic".  So, I think I'll keep it!
Sorry I don't have any photos to post right now but maybe I can take some this weekend and put them up.  It is totally stock looking and isn't tricked-out outside or inside.   I get more people than I can count pulling along side me on the highway and giving me a thumbs up.  It's a great feeling!
BTW.... all the work was done by a great tuner in San Jose, CA by the name of Rob Fuller.  He''s the most knowledgable Z expert I have ever met in the country.  He owns ZCarGarage (look it up online) in San Jose and he's an incredibly great guy.  His personal 300Zx TT  dyno;s  at 500+ horsepower.  It's a beast but can easily be driven on the street.!  He's waiting for my motor to 'give up the ghost' so he can put a new one in with the same mods as his!  Should be fun.  :-)

Read more: http://www.automobilemag.com/features/collectible_classic/1411-collectible-classic-1990-1996-nissan-300zx/#ixzz3Fhf6jed0 
Follow us: @AutomobileMag on Twitter | AutomobileMag on Facebook

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP