Nissan began its sports car line in the U.S. with the 1970 Datsun 240Z – Japan’s first big hit with sports cars on these shores. Subsequent model designations evolved with engine displacement (260Z, 280Z, 280ZX) and the shift in branding eventually led to the Nissan 300ZX of 1990-1996.
After an extended absence Nissan’s halo sports car returned for the 2003 model year as the 350Z. It had the familiar ring of the comeback of an athlete who gets carried away with celebrity and comes back leaner and stronger – after a seven year stint in rehab and seclusion.
Unlike its 300ZX Turbo predecessor, whose sticker price approached the $50,000 mark by the end of its model cycle, the 350Z harkened back to Nissan’s affordable sports car roots.
A mid-front engine and rear wheel drive layout provided front/rear weight distribution of 53%/47%. The two seat chassis consisted of a rigid steel unibody with bracing front and rear supported by forged aluminum multi-link suspension, disc brakes and 17” wheels all around. Its distinctive styling also yielded a drag coefficient of just 0.29.
Motive power for the 3,300 lb. Z came from a normally aspirated 3.5 liter 24 valve V6, which initially delivered 287 horsepower (260 for the automatic) at 6,600 rpm through a six speed manual or five speed automatic transmission. Continue reading “The “Where Were You?” Nissan 350Z” »
The 2014 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is now in the books. One of the three top contenders won the race as expected… but a whole lot of other things happened too. Here’s the short, short version of events:
Audi took the overall and LMP-1 win with a 1-2 finish, an amazing 13th victory in 16 attempts, though it was not without drama. The third Audi (#3) and #8 Toyota were involved in a crash in wet conditions about 90 minutes into the race. The Audi was unable to continue while the Toyota limped back to the pits and was in the garage for about 50 minutes to repair the damage.
The winning team consisted of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer in their R18 etron quattro. Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen was part of the team that finished second in the sister Audi after the car experienced turbo problems. His teammates were Lucas Di Grassi and Marc Gene, both ex-F1 drivers.