It was September 2020 when Nissan unveiled the Z Proto concept. And while most of the world was waiting for this to turn into the 2023 Nissan Z, the production car going on sale in the U.S. this summer, a Japanese enthusiast wasted no time. Just a few months after the show car dropped, the man started working on a conversion kit that would make the 350Z look like the new Z.
The transformation might sound strange at first sight, but, as JDM fans will tell you, 350Zs have been customized to resemble the 370Z for years, so it was only a matter of time until somebody dropped such a visual upgrade involving the all-new machine. And, while we believe this is the first, it certainly won’t be the last.
Truth be told, the Z family tree that goes all the way back to 1969 does help those seeking a fresh image for their used sports cars. As mentioned when we discussed the history of the Nissan Z, the platform of the 2023 Z (Gen VII) is an upgraded version of the 370Z chassis (built between 2009 and 2020), which itself is based on the 350Z architecture (produced between 2002 and 2009).
The builder handling this Nissan Z cosplay is a diorama artist and, as he explains on Instagram, he likes to think of the ongoing project as being similar to his previous work, just on a 1:1 scale.
And since the aficionado handles other people’s cars, at least in terms of bodywork, he’s naturally doing the brewing himself, starting with a facelifted version of the 350Z that came in Silver.
It’s been a long and winding road
He kicked things off with the front bumper, introducing a 2023 Z-like grille and a splitter. Next up, he added the triangular-style element to the hood, which was one of the most time-consuming bits of the project.
The side skirts got add-on elements at both ends, while he also installed spacers for the rear wheels. Speaking of which, these appear to be R35 GT-R wheels that have been painted black.
At the back, the man added a diffuser, a lip spoiler, and possibly even extended the hatch’s sides in preparation for a future piece that would help the rear side windows replicate those of the 2023 Z.
The posterior, a piece that, on the 2023 model, reminds people of the second-gen 300ZX that came before the 350Z, was also a challenge. The central part, which features a new Nissan badge, was left black—toggling between this color and the main Pearl Yellow, which he applied himself (a Z Proto treat) is something the man did throughout the vehicle.
And while the taillights are still a work in progress, a Fairlady Z emblem, albeit a bit of a large one, now adorns the hatch—this is how the people know the Z car over in the Land of the Rising Sun.
At the moment, the vehicle still looks a bit rough around the edges, but the final adjustments can make a serious difference with such projects, so we’ll have to wait and see how this endeavor turns out.
What about the power?
On the tech front, the engine bay, which is visible in one of the images, doesn’t seem to sport anything different. And, based on the specs of the revamped 350Z’s naturally aspirated 3.5L V6, this would mean 306 hp, which is a bit short compared to the 400 hp delivered by the twin-turbo 3.0L V6 of the newcomer (here’s how the Nissan compares to the Supra 3.0 and the Mustang Mach 1 in a drag race).
Then again, this too could change once the car is completed. After all, the 350Z has been the recipient of some incredible engine swaps over the years, as this Bentley W12-animated example can attest.
Meanwhile, we’ve decided to nickname this build the Nissan 375Z (the halfway point between the 350Z and the unofficial 400Z moniker that many enthusiasts still prefer for the 2023 model).