2008 Nissan 350Z EnthusiastEnlarge Photo
Before disappearing for a seven-year hiatus, The 300ZX was considered one of the best Z-cars that Nissan Ever Made. However, unlike the original Datsun 240Z, the cars were moving into premium-price territory and disappeared in 1996 from the U.S. market.When Carlos Ghosen moved to become the President of Nissan he brought the backing that a new Z-car needed to return and what resulted was the 350Z.
Styling, the car was more of a revolution than evolution, sharing some traits of the past cars, while having plenty of its own unique exterior features. The Interior returned to a solely two-seater configuration with a gauge pod that moved with the steering wheel position and plenty of cargo space under the hatch. Later in 2004, the Roadster body style appeared, giving those who wanted a top down experience the chance. The chassis used the classic FR layout, but thanks to the compact V-6 Engine, the weight was shifted away from the front suspension to give a better weight distribution.
The 3.5L V-6, called the VQ35, was found in other Nissan models, but was more powerful in the Z-cars. Horsepower started at 287 in the first 2003 models, but with engine tuning and changes it ended up to 306 by the end of production, while torque stayed above the 260 lb-ft of torque range. Transmissions came as either a six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic with sports shift.
There were plenty of trim levels to the car. Those who wanted the essential 350Z could get the lighter base model. Prices went up for the better equipped Touring and Grand Touring models. The peak of the 350Z’s existence started with the Track trim, which featured Rays Engineering wheels and Brembo brakes. Later the Track was replaced by the Nismo, which came with the body styling used by the JGTC racecars, as well as new wheels, suspension tuning, and exhaust.
The car was praised for returning to its performance budget roots, costing below $30,000 when new. It offered plenty of go, and great handling dynamics. However, the material used in the interior was chincy, and the car had grown in size and weight like other performance cars.
Now with the new 370Z introduced, prices of the 350Z provide a great bargain for used car shoppers. Finding one for less than $20,000 with decent mileage and good equipment shouldn’t be an issue, giving plenty of cash to save up for aftermarket parts available.