Monday, February 27, 2012
Car Of The Day: February 27, 2012
Today's car of the day is Soma's 1984 Nissan 300ZX.
300ZX is the name given, in much of the world, to the "Z31" and "Z32" generations of Nissan's Z sports car. Like all other versions of the Z-Car, it was sold in Japan as the Fairlady Z, regardless of model year.
Sold on the Japanese market from 1983 through 2000 and in the United States from 1984 through 1996, the 300ZX name followed the numerical convention initiated with the 240Z, put forth by Yutaka Katayama, the one time president of Nissan Motors USA. The "X" designation had debuted with the previous generation Z car, the 280ZX, to signify the presence of luxury and comfort oriented features. The Z31 model of 1983 through 1989 was the more popular model, with over 100,000 more units sold than the Z32.
The Z31 generation featured 5 different motor packages. A turbocharged dual over head cam 2.0L straight six (RB20DET, found in 200zr), a turbocharged single over head cam 2.0L V6 (VG20ET, found in 200Z/ZS/ZG), a naturally aspirated single over head cam 3.0L V6 (VG30E, found in 300zx), a turbocharged single over head cam 3.0L V6 (VG30ET, found in 300zx Turbo) and a naturally aspirated dual over head cam 3.0L V6 (VG30DE, found in 300zr). The Z32 came with 2 different motor packages, a naturally aspirated dual over head cam 3.0L V6 (VG30DE) and a twin turbocharged dual over head cam 3.0L V6 (VG30DETT). All Z31 and Z32 motors carried electronic fuel injection (EFI), and were mounted for a rear wheel drive set up. All models came in either right hand drive, or in North America, they came in left hand drive respectively.
Two Special Edition versions of the Z31 generation model were produced; a 50th Anniversary Edition celebrated the company's semi-centennial in 1984 and boasted additional luxury features, and a "Shiro Special", released 4 years later, boasted performance-oriented upgrades. The Z32 was virtually entirely new at the time of its release, with nearly nothing being carried over from the Z31. One of the most significant and obvious changes was the redesigned body, which had a wider footprint, a rounder profile with fewer hard edges and a reduced drag coefficient of .31 compared to the Z31's .30. Twin Turbocharged Z32s also featured a then-new active rear wheel steering systems called "Super HICAS", which was actuated hydraulically until 1994 when Nissan switched to an electric actuator. Nissan designated the final 300 units earmarked for North American sale in 1996 as "Commemorative Edition" cars, although nothing new or exclusive to the model was actually present; In fact, 1996 model years vehicles did not feature Nissan's NVTC variable valve timing system, which had been present on all Z32 generation models prior to that point. Production continued in Japan until August 2000, with styling updates and the addition of HID headlamps in 1998.
In racing trim, the 300ZX achieved several notable victories, including wins in the 1986 Trans Am series and 1994 24 Hours of Daytona. However, auto sports politics and a GTS-1 class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that same year prompted the International Motor Sports Association to declare the twin turbo engine illegal for future competition. The 300ZX also holds the E/BMS land speed record of 419.84 km/h (260.87 mph) from the 1991 Bonneville Speed Trial.
The Z32 300ZX was the first car to be sold following the introduction of a 280-hp power ceiling imposed by JAMA that remained until 2004.
The Z31, unlike its predecessors it featured a V6 engine in the 200Z/ZS/ZG, 300ZX and 300ZR, and the only Z31 to come with a I6 was the Fairlady 200ZR which was only available in Japan. In it's time it was a popular car that sold more models than the latter Z32, and followed the old S30 pricing of an affordable sports car for the middle class. The Z32 300ZX changed everything. It was praised by critics and journalists during its lifetime for its performance, styling, comfort and use of technology, but was higher in pricing through out its years, which damaged the sales. Car and Driver placed the car on its Ten Best list for 7 consecutive years, meaning it made the list during every year of its availability in the United States, and Motor Trend awarded it as the 1990 Import Car of the Year.
The Nissan 350Z, officially the Z33 generation Z-Car, succeeded the 300ZX in 2003.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Nissan 300ZX
While not the most realistic model on the market, the Soma does offer opening doors, clear windows, and an interior. We can't get opening doors on sub $3 diecast any more so it seems hard to believe that in the 1980s more brands had opening doors than didn't.
The Z31 chassis designation was first introduced in 1983 as a 1984 Nissan/Datsun 300ZX (the hatch lid had both a Datsun badge and a Nissan badge) in the US only. The 300ZX, as its predecessors, was known as a Nissan in other parts of the world. This continued in the US until 1985 model year when Nissan standardized their brand name worldwide and dropped the Datsun badge. A note can be made that all publications for the Z31 chassis 300ZX and its predecessors were copyright Nissan North America. Designed by Kazumasu Takagi and his team of developers, the 300ZX improved aerodynamics and increased power when compared to its predecessor, the 280ZX. The newer Z-car had a drag coefficient of 0.30 and was powered by Japan's first mass-produced V6 engine instead of an I6. According to Nissan, "the V6 engine was supposed to re-create the spirit of the original Fairlady Z.
This new V6 (2960 cc) Single overhead cam engine was available as a naturally aspirated VG30E or a turbocharged VG30ET producing 160 hp (119 kW) and 200 hp (150 kW) respectively. The engine was either a type A or type B sub-designation from 1984 to March 1987, while models from April 1987 to 1989 had a W sub-designation. The W-series engines featured redesigned water jackets for additional cooling, and fully floating piston wrist pins. The 1984 to 1987 turbo models featured a Garrett T3 turbocharger with a 7.8:1 compression ratio, whereas 1988 to 1989 models featured a low inertia T25 turbocharger with an increased 8.3:1 compression ratio and slightly more power—165 hp naturally aspirated and 205 hp (153 kW) turbocharged. Finally, these engines were equipped with self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters. The transmissions were a 5-speed manual or an optional 4-speed automatic (contrary to popular belief, all Z31 automatics were the E4N71B equipped with torque-converter lockup INCLUDING turbo models.) All Z31's were equipped with a Nissan R200 rear differential, April 1987 and later turbo models received an R200 clutch limited-slip differential except 1988 Shiro Special's which had a Viscous-type limited slip. There were three trim models available: SF, GL and GLL. The SF model was only available in Canada.
Similar to Chrysler's Electronic Voice Alert, the 1984-1986 Z31 GL and GLL models featured a voice warning system.
The Z31 body was slightly restyled in 1986 with the addition of side skirts, fender flares, and sixteen inch (406 mm) wheels (all directly from the 1984 50th Anniversary Edition with the exception of the fender flares). Many black plastic trim pieces were also painted to match the body color, and the hood scoop was removed to provide a sleeker look. The car was given a final makeover in 1987 that included more aerodynamic bumpers, fog lamps within the front air dam, and 9004 bulb-based headlamps that replaced the outdated sealed beam headlights. The 300ZX-titled reflector in the rear was updated to a narrow set of tail lights running the entire width of the car and an LED third brake light on top of the rear hatch. The Z31 continued selling until 1989, more than any other Z-Car at the time. Over 70,000 units were sold in 1985 alone. Cars produced from 1984-1986 are referred to as "Zenki" models, while cars produced from 1987-1989 are known as "Kouki" models signifying the change in body styling.