HISTORY OF THE Z32

1989-1990: In the spring of 1989, Nissan debuted the dramatic fourth generation of Nissan's Z-car, the Z32 Nissan Fairlady Z (300ZX). That fall, the Twin-Turbo variant of the 300ZX was introduced.

Nissan's all new DOHC 3-liter engine (2960 cc) and retained the 300ZX name, even though it was a complete redesign of the Z31. The stanndard Z32 was naturally aspirated and was rated at 222 hp, and was soon joined by the top of the line Twin-Turbo with an incredible 300 horsepower .

The redesign featured tighter proportions and a much more aggressive stance. Nissan had a certain hit on its hands, as 39,290 units were sold in 1990 (extended model year). American Z-car sales reached the one million mark in 1990, making the Z the all-time best selling sports car.

1991: Manual climate controls discontinued (except in convertible).

  • New electronic climate controls allowing control over air flow direction, but no more ambient temp gauge.

  • Nissan logo put on the front fascia of the car.

  • Driver's airbag now optional.

  • Air conditioner evaporator valve changed from aluminum to steel for better sound insulation.

  • North American brake rotors changed to NA units. Previous NA rotors were 4 mm thinner.

  • CD player option added for both the TT and NA; it was previously only available in the NA.

  • Bose stereo head unit changed.

  • Logo on floor mats changed from "300ZX" to "Z".

  • Hardtop coupe available at mid-year (NA only).

  • Brake master cylinder changed to new unit in February 1991.

  • Keyhole on driver's door and interior light illuminated when driver's door handle was pulled.

  • Sales: 17,652



  • 1992: Driver's airbag made standard.

  • Brake caliper material changed from aluminum to iron, to help warpage/shimmy problems.

  • Dashboard and door complimentary material changed from fabric to suede.

  • Separate mirror heater switch eliminated (combined with rear defroster switch)

  • Mirror heaters made standard.

  • Power adjustable driver's seat standard on TT.

  • Sales: 6,708



  • 1993: Turbo oil line insulation changed for better heat dissipation.

  • Seat belts redesigned; they were moved from door mounts to true pillar mounts.

  • Convertible option added.

  • Upgraded Bose stereo made standard.

  • AIV/reed valves removed.

  • Sales: 11,599



  • 1994: Rear spoiler design changed to a higher and bigger pedestal one.

  • Super HICAS system changed to an electrically-actuated unit (previously oil pressure actuated).

  • Passenger's side airbag made standard.

  • Keyless entry added.

  • The convertible's manual air conditioning was replaced by automatic climate control.

  • Titanium keys discontinued in November 1994.

  • 'Reset' button removed from clock.

  • Off-white 'Pearl' color is dropped. Future 'Pearls' are more of a semi-metallic white.

  • Sales: 5,320



  • 1995: Front fascia became body colored instead of gray strip.

  • Sales: 3,135



  • 1996: Variable cam timing dropped. Factory HP rating remained at 300hp as seen on original 1996 model year window stickers and third-party dyno testing.

  • OBD II electronics introduced.

  • Driver's seat back rest no longer included adjustable side bolsters.



  • In 1996, Nissan ceased production of Z32 for export. The last exported Z32 now sits in the Peterson car museum with the special plate that reads "300/300". Japanese market production ended in 8/2000.

    ACCOLADES

    The Z32 was critically acclaimed by many magazines as being a complete turnaround from the Z31, which many critics felt was a sloppy-handling GT, far from the agile, sporty 240Z of years past.

    Motor Trend named the 1990 300ZXtt "Import Car of the Year".

    Motor Trend also named it “One of the Top Ten Performance Cars”.

    Automobile Magazine honored the 300ZX as its “Design of the Year” and named the 300-ZX Turbo to its “All Stars” list.

    Automobile Magazine also named the Z32 to its "25 Most Beautiful Cars" list in August 2006 and "20 Greatest Cars" in April 2006.

    Road & Track named the 300ZXtt “One of the Ten Best Cars in the World”.

    Car and Driver named the 300-ZX Turbo “One of the Ten Best Cars” for six straight years.

    From the year it was introduced, it won many comparison tests against similar sports cars such as the Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth and the Mazda RX-7, as well as the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Thunderbird, Toyota Supra and the Porsche 968.

    RACING HERITAGE

    From 1990 to 1995, as well as dominating the GTP category, now with a newly-designed chassis and engine, the 300ZX, which was campaigned by Clayton Cunningham Racing, was championed by Steve Millen in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and its GTO and GTS classes. He was ranked as the #1 Factory Driver for Nissan for 7 years, as well as two IMSA GTS Driving Championships and two IMSA GTS Manufacturer's Championships before the car became banished from competition altogether.

    The Z32 also holds a land speed record in the E/BMS class. A joint effort between JUN Auto and Blitz was able to produce a 300ZX that reached 419.84 km/h (260.932 mph) at the Bonneville Speedway. This record remains unbroken.






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