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The Colorful History of Nissan Fairlady

Updated on October 8, 2015

If you're a fan of the Japanese car industry and prefer JDM cars, perhaps you have heard of the Z-car, which is a series of very popular sports cars produced by Nissan. The Z-car actually has quite a rich history, ever since its inception in 1969. In the 1960s, Nissan was actually quite an obscure automaker, which is very unlike its popularity today. Since Nissan did not have a small, affordable roadster in its lineup, the executives at the time realized that the company needed a roadster to compete with other big named Japanese manufacturers. This was when the Z-car first came out and has since become quite a JDM household name.

Nissan 240Z: The first generation Nissan Z-car started in 1969 for both the Japanese and United States auto market. It was at that time that the Fairlady Z became the name that was fondly associated with these roadsters. Since these cars had stunning performance, attractive body styles, and an affordable price, it's no wonder that the popularity of the Z-car skyrocketed. Subsequent years included the 260Z and the 280Z, which featured some new engine displacement and performance enhanced parts. The first generation Fairlady Z definitely made a name for itself among the Japanese auto giants.

Nissan 280ZX: the second generation Fairlady remained relatively unchanged from the previous generation but was slightly altered due to consumer feedback. The 280ZX boasted a more luxurious upgrade of comfort and even had a 10th anniversary edition complete with gold emblems, two toned paint, leather seats, automatic climate control, and much more. Unfortunately, it's difficult to please everyone, which means that the 2nd generation Fairlady also had to incur criticism from consumers who complained that the 280ZX was too luxurious and didn't have enough performance parts. However, the 280ZX was still widely popular and converted many car enthusiasts to be diehard Fairlady fans.

Nissan 300ZX: The third generation Fairlady was completely redesigned and reintroduced in 1984, with sleek styling and high performance features, this generation became the 2nd highest selling Z model to date. Throughout the entire production, Nissan continually made changes to upgrade the car with stylistic and performance based features. As the years went on, Nissan added more powerful brakes, upgraded manual transmission, special editions, Recaro seats, and much more. This model even won Motor Trend's "Import Car of the Year" which is pretty prestigious, given that it had to compete with some of the bigger name JDM cars in the market.

Nissan 350Z: This is where the Fairlady Z starts becoming household names, as you can still see plenty of Nissan 350Z on the streets today. The fifth generation Z-car was released in 2002 and became an instant sensation. The 350Z has plenty of options for consumers, including seven trim packages, starting with Base model. Trims go up to Enthusiast and Performance as some of the more common options. Performance wise, people can opt for the Touring, Grand Touring, Track, and then the ultimate Nismo. The Nismo trim is a high performance based trim that is well sought after in the JDM car industry and many drivers choose to get the performance trim. Although the Nismo trim is significantly more than the Base trim, it still remains relatively popular with a high demand.

Nissan 370Z: This is the current generation Fairlady Z that was introduced in 2009, with the coupe and the roadster. This is the fastest performing Z and is available in both manual and automatic transmissions. There are tons of stylistic upgrades from the previous generation, including refreshed taillights and headlights as well. The body style went through quite a significant change as well. The Fairlady is due for another facelift sometime in the near future, but since the 370Z is so popular among young drivers, there really is no telling when there will be a refreshed face lift.

The Z-car is definitely a tale of the underdog, since the Nissan brand was not very well known when the Fairlady was first introduced. Now it's become such a household name and one of the most popular sports cars on the road today. It's changed from bare bones stock sports car to something luxurious with new LED rear fog and other performance upgrades.The Fairlady captures the style and the finesse of an agile sports car, as well as the hardiness of a performance vehicle. It's no wonder that the Z-car is one of the most sought after choices.


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