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Lyn Woodward got to see the Z Proto up close for Kelley Blue Book.


Oooooooo, guys, I’m excited about this. Proto-type? Concept car? I mean, I’m going out on a limb to say this is a thinly veiled look at the new Nissan 400Z. First of all, let’s take a look at it. I love that there are huge nods to the original 240 all over this thing. First off, profile, check. Long hood and appropriately extended dash-to-axle ratio. Well raked windshield and sloping roofline with a slope that looks like you could ski off it. Appropriately proportioned rear overhang and even a near-perfect Lime-Yellow color.

The profile is my favorite angle here. OC: Moving to the front, I’m not as dazzled, but I can see where they tried to go old school here. The squared-off grille works for me. A little wider than the original Z, but I dig the nod.

The place I get lost is the headlights. While there is an attempt a the circular shape, it doesn’t quite jibe for me. But that’s not to say Nissan didn’t try. I got to speak with someone at Nissan Motorsports about it and they really did make an effort to get the recessed round headlights, but modern safety requirements made it impossible. They official get a pass from me.

The rear is another one for the win column. Again, it mimics the olden days nicely with double-stacked rear lights only this time of the 300ZX.

The only thing I think is missing here is louvers on the rear window. Please, Nissan, make that an option when this goes on sale.

Inside there are hints of the days of yore inside with the three gauges on the dash, but otherwise, this is a bonafide modern interior that’s not borrowed from anyone else. Eh, hem.

Okay, now for the good stuff. It’s no mystery what this car is gunning head to head for. The Toyota Supra. The Z gets it right in a lot of places Toyota falls short, at least on paper.

We still haven’t driven this, so will reserve judgment. However, the new Z will get a twin-turbo 3.0L V-6 mated to a manual transmission. An automatic will be available, too. Already it’s winning.

Hopefully, NISMO gets their hands on this for a higher-powered version. Plans seem to indicate that it will ride on the same architecture as the current Z model, but Nissan won’t really discuss that.

The classic Datsun owner in me is super excited about the Z Prototype. Now I just can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
 
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