From the Datsun 240Z to the Nissan 300ZX, this Japanese sports car is so popular right now that even rich muscle car collectors are buying them. And after a long period of stillness, Nissan finally launched an all-new Z for 2023. However, something is missing: the convertible version.
Every time we look at the new Z, we’re reminded of its predecessors. From the back, this 2023 sports car is supposed to resemble the technologically advanced 300ZX, especially in the taillight department.
And while the fourth-gen Z32 sports car, the 300ZX is known for its T-top, there was also a 300ZX Convertible on offer. If you bought one in red with the black roll hoop in the early 1990s, it looked like a Corvette.
Of course, the two generations that followed are far better known for their roofless incarnations. Launched in 2003, the Z33 cassis, came in 350Z Roadster flavor right from the beginning. This not only went well with the California-designed theme of the car but also competed with German rivals such as the BMW Z3/Z4 and Mercedes SLK-Class.
Here was a Japanese car that was relatively reliable and cheap, yet could keep up with sports cars thanks to its 3.5-liter V6. 0 to 60 mph sprints took about 6 seconds, while a 2003 BMW Z4 3.0i did it in 5.9 seconds.
The 370Z Roadster followed in 2009, and although it wasn’t a major breakthrough, the new 3.7-liter V6 made significantly more power. What’s more, the Z wasn’t Nissan’s first two-seat sports car.
The Z was a roadster before it was a Z
In 1959, Datsun began selling the 1000 roadster, powered by a 1.0-liter four-cylinder. This later evolved into the Datsun Sports Fairlady 2000. So the roadster body is just as historically important for this car as the coupe. But sadly, it doesn’t look like Nissan wants to offer the new model as a convertible.
If the 400Z Roadster was planned for mass production, we’d see test prototypes or concept cars by now. We know that sales of open-top cars are down, but Nissan made the abomination called the Murano CrossCabriolet. This is like a repeat of the “Why Dodge doesn’t make a Challenger convertible” discussion. If Ford and Chevy offer convertibles… everybody should.
We’ll leave that subject for the company officials to contemplate. In the meantime, here’s a 2023 Nissan 400Z Roadster rendering from Sugar Design. In his words, black and gold are “a symbol of sporty.” Do you agree?