When I was nothing but a gleam in my father’s eye, he raced his 1967 Mercury Cougar XR-7, with the 390 cubic-inch Ford V8, against anything that was up for the challenge.
Dad raced Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, Chargers, and virtually all other muscle cars that were around in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He didn’t win all of those impromptu races, but he had fun and knew exactly what to expect when challenged by one of the familiar American cars.
Then something strange happened. A small Japanese car wanted to race. Dad revved his engine, and the two cars bolted ahead.
The challenger was a 1970 Datsun 240Z, a car that went on to become a Nissan and dominate the hearts of sports car lovers everywhere.
Rumors surrounding Nissan’s next Z car have been shifting for a couple of years now. A new report points to a crossover as the most likely candidate to wear the next Z badge.
The Japanese brand has been weighing up a variety of options on where to take the famous Z brand as the current 370Z is phased out by 2017. It has considered a higher-powered sports car and a cheaper, more basic four-cylinder model – as previewed by the iDx compact coupé concepts that were revealed at the Tokyo motor show in 2013.
However, sources indicate that Nissan has settled on a more radical solution: making the next Z car a small sports crossover. It’s expected to showcase how such a model could look as early as the Frankfurt show next month.
I suppose the fact that the 370Z will be phased out should be the bigger news here, but Nissan seems to have a way of directing the spotlight away from that and onto something even more controversial.
Z purists will, how do I say this nicely, freak out if their beloved sports car dies and gets reincarnated as a Juke.
Nissan’s chief creative officer, Shiro Nakamura, thinks the company can weather that storm. He said,
We need to take another path…. I feel Z needs more revolution than evolution…. I think GT-R has to stay the most high-performance symbol of Nissan technology and Z is a more affordable sports car or a sporty car to get the younger people.
Get ready, because your future kids might one day tell the story of how dad’s CR-V got beaten to an open Costco parking space by a little crossover wearing a Z badge.
Should Nissan replace the 370Z with a crossover?
Used Mercury Cougar
Used Ford Mustang
Used Chevrolet Camaro
Used Chevrolet Corvette
Used Dodge Charger
Used Nissan 240Z
Used Honda CR-V
Used Toyota RAV4
Used Nissan 370Z
Used Nissan Juke
Used Nissan GT-R