23 Feb
Japan's first sports car turns 40

Just over forty years ago on October 22, 1969, Nissan (then known in the US as Datsun) delivered its 240Z on North American shores. At the time sports cars were dominated in Europe by tiny German, British and Italian roadsters, and in America by hulking muscle cars. There was no room for the Japanese, whose cars were considered compact and cheap — yet reliable — commuters. But when the original Datsun 240Z debuted, its design and performance were considered state-of-the-art, boasting a 150-horsepower 2.4-liter inline 6-cylinder engine and 4-wheel independent suspension, all for around $3,600. It ushered in a new era in affordable sports cars, and opened the floodgates to the Japanese market. To celebrate its seminal Z brand, Nissan has decided to release a 40th Anniversary Edition of its present day 370Z, the 6th iteration of the Z. Unfortunately for car geeks, Nissan’s special edition Z is little more than a regular 370Z Coupe Touring model equipped with manual transmission and Sport Package (which includes Nissan’s awesome SynchroRev Match™ technology). Sure they added some fancy underoos in the way of a premium “40th Quartz” exterior color, red leather-appointed interior and a bunch of 40th Anniversary badges here and there, but its mostly cosmetic. This is similar to their 2009 NISMO, whose modifications were more superficial than performance based. Too bad — I almost feel Nissan should have taken the opportunity to celebrate the pedigreed lineage of their Z line with some more actual balls. The 370Z 40th Anniversary Edition will go on sale early March for $38,860.

Several more pics and interior shots after the Jump…

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