This week at the Tokyo Auto Salon, Nissan finally showcased its world premiere of the Fairlady Z production model for the Japan domestic market. Known as just Z in the U.S., the much-anticipated and beloved sports car reemerged after 13 years in hibernation with design elements that hearken back to the old days like 240ZG-like headlamps and a rear end from the 300X. The rectangular grille, however, has been a point of contention.
For those on Team I Can’t Stand the New Z Grille, you’ll be happy to see that Nissan has taken cues from the vintage Fairlady Z432 and gave one vibrant orange version of the 2023 Z a split grin up front. Unfortunately, it’s a one-off custom prototype in Tokyo.
“The Fairlady Z customized proto is exclusively a study vehicle equipped with concept accessory parts to gauge customer and fan interest for potential future accessory offerings,” Nissan Director of Product Communications Dan Passe confirmed for me via email.
Translation: if the buzz factor is high enough and a lot of customers ask for it and are willing to pay for it, it’s possible that Nissan could make this a reality.
Starting with the Fairlady Z as a base, the custom version adds exterior concept accessory parts to show future owners what they could do to customize their own. Along with the split grille, the one-off has a different front bumper, 19-inch aluminum wheels (the production version uses 18-inch wheels), white lettering on the tires, over fenders, dual mufflers, a black painted hood, side striping, and a carbon fiber lip spoiler.
The Squid Yellow prototype the brand debuted in 2020 was “95 percent there” in regard to how close it was to production spec, according to Nissan CEO Ashwani Gupta at the reveal. He wasn’t kidding, as the production model is indeed a near-twin. The Z prototype had a carbon fiber front chin spoiler, rear diffuser, and side skirts, and so does the 2023 Z but in gloss black; the production model adds a body-colored spoiler.
Passe says 240 of the Proto Spec Z in yellow with yellow-trimmed interior interior) will be available in Japan, which is the same number of units we’re getting in the U.S. If more than that number of applications are submitted, Nissan says it will hold a lottery to determine who gets to buy them.
I don’t mind the grille on the new Z; in fact, I kind of like its unique look. However, the split grille is also appealing. What do you think?
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