In the words of Jason Cammisa, “the world has changed dramatically in the last 50 years since the Z became a thing.” In what may be the best review of the 2023 Nissan Z ever, he argues that we have less money for toys and this has changed the sports car from a roadster to a coupe. But what if the “400Z” as we like to call it went back to being a roadster, a true one, not a convertible?
Well, we do have autocross and such, but the days when everybody went racing on the weekends are over, which is why a sports car today has to be practical, a commuter too. But if the Nissan 400Z was a successor to the raw sports cars of the 1960s, we’d end up with something like this.
Digital artist Sugar Design has created a 400Z that’s virtually topless. There’s no roof that pops over your head at the press of a button because the windshield it’s supposed to attach to is less than a foot tall.
You could argue that this looks more like an early Corvette or AC Cobra, but in saying that, you’d indirectly suggest this is a British/European sports car.
Alfa Romeo, Bristol, Aston, Ferrari, Jaguar – they all offered these super-sexy, tiny 2-seaters that honestly made the world a better place. And while the 240Z is Nissan’s most famous sports car, there was another before it.
From 1959 to 1970, right in the heat of the roadster era, we had the Datsun Sports, also called the Datsun Fairlady. In America, it was known as the 1500 initially, and the 1600 post-1965, and it basically put the Japanese automaker on the map with several famous motorsport victories.
You wouldn’t exactly call the 400Z “small and agile”, like the Datsun 1600. And with a twin-turbo V6 under its hood, it certainly packs a heavier punch. But we can’t help wanting this 400Z Roadster rendering to be in production, offering a very real alternative to the Mazda Miata and teaching the BMW Z4 a thing or two about being exciting.
But it’s looking increasingly unlikely that Nissan will offer such a car, since the market simply isn’t that interested in open-top experiences. So the rendering serves a double role, also being quite entertaining. We turn your attention to the tiny windshield, which requires four wipers to be cleaned. Back in the day, you wouldn’t even have wipers in this situation because they added weight. Just grab a rag, reach out and do the job by hand!