Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Wall Poster Classics" 1990 Nissan 300ZX

The early 1990's was an odd time for the Automotive industry. Technology was finally starting to catch up with restrictive U.S. emissions. New engine development had made it possible for cars to reach horsepower levels similar to the power crazed muscle car era without destroying a rain forest with every tank of gas.

It was time for a Car company to take a leap of faith to show the U.S. and the world what was possible in new car design. Just as they had done in 1970 with the original 240Z, Nissan kicked off another decade with the amazing 1990 Nissan 300ZX.

This particular 300ZX is a 1990 2+2 model with leather, Bose, automatic and pretty much all the options available when new. It belonged to my parents and unfortunately this old girl was sold a while back. Affectionately named "Ruby," I have many fond memories of this amazing car.

The naturally aspirated 300ZX's 3.0 liter V6 produced 222hp and 200 lbs. ft. torque. Which was quite a lot of power for it's day. When the 300ZX turbo was introduced it produced an astonishing 300hp and 283 lbs ft torque! 100HP per liter was an amazing accomplishment. At the time it was the most powerful Japanese production car ever to be introduced to the United States. The 300ZX Turbo ran the infamous Nurburgring in 8 minutes 40 seconds, 6 seconds faster than the legendary Porsche 928GT! Putting all this in perspective, its easy to see just how fast this car was at the time. The Nissan 300ZX was in a league all it's own.

Soon after the 1990 300ZX hit the U.S. market. Other car makers were scrambling to play catch up with Nissan. It Took Mazda and Toyota several years to compete with their redesigned versions of the RX-7 and Supra. It even took Chevrolet 2 years to bump the mighty Corvette up to the 300hp mark.

I have driven both the N/A and Turbo 300ZX. The 2+2 model featured in the pictures wasn't really a rocket ship off the line (weight had become an issue). On the highway was a different story. It's mid range power was fantastic and I remember leaving many cars in its dust. Driving one today is still a blast. It takes big swooping curves with ease. It makes even the most timid driver feel comfortable at high speeds. The 300ZX Turbo's performance is still impressive even by today's standards, but the 300ZX did have it's flaws. I remember the breaks feeling very weak and maintenance can be quite expensive.

Many complained that the 300ZX had become big and heavy. Some even argued it had gone so far from the original 240Z, it shouldn't even be called a sports car anymore. Well, I agree actually. It wasn't.. It was a new generation GT car and a technological showcase for the time. It was the beginning of great things to come.

Towards the end of its run, 300ZX sales had dropped drastically. Pricing was high with very little changes until it's demise in 1996. I think Nissan never made any drastic changes because they didn't have to. They took all the risk and did everything so well, it was everyone else that had to play catch up. I still love seeing these cars on the road and although many have been butchered with aftermarket tuning, there are still nice original 300ZX's around. No doubt in my mind this car will become a classic.. and it remains one of my all time favorites.

No comments: