Driving purists know that Nissan’s Z cars are one of the ‘go to’ tools.
That’s been the case for 50 years, so Nissan is now offering 50th anniversary models in two hard-to-ignore livery schemes of the 370Z.
There’s a choice of white with red bonnet, red A pillars that connect right through to the hatch, plus red mirrors and two semi-chevron-like side stripes.
Or you can get it in silver with black in the same set-up.
The theme continues inside with wreathed Zs stitched into the seats and accents on the door sills, tachometer and shift knob.
Our white and red scheme was a definite head turner, especially as it was school holidays.
It was great to stop football kicks, trolley handling, ice cream licking and balloon holding while children rubbernecked as the 370Z rolled past.
So did a lot of their dads.
The retro decals in the famed BRE livery from 1970s success in the US is revered among staunch Nissan/Datsun fans.
They also make the 50th anniversary edition look like a race car on the street.
Good news for buyers is prices have been considerably realigned throughout the 370Z range,and now start at $49,990 for the 370Z Coupe while the soft-top Roadster starts at $60,990.
The premium Nismo version is from $61,490 and the 50th Anniversary Edition is $53,490 for the six-speed manual and $55,990 for the 7-speed automatic.
You do get a lot of car for your money.
The cabin is a civilised and very comfortable place.
The test car had a Bose sound pack which has a little dog known as a sub woofer in the rear where a spare wheel is usually found.
Like most little dogs it can make quite a racket with your favourite compact disc playing.
There is also keyless entry, Bluetooth handsfree phone, Satnav on a 7.0-inch touch screen, cruise control, heated seats and climate control airconditioning.
For the uninitiated, this is a true two-seater sports car and comes with very little stowage space.
Two gym bags will go as will two duffle bags, a passenger and one cup of coffee. Yep, you may have to share.
Alternatively, you can still get a 370Z without all the anniversary hoopla, and in a choice of four models and five colours.
Push the start button and there is a familiar smooth vroom from the 3.7litre V6. It is a well balanced engine that gives 363Nm of torque at 5200rpm.
It can haul along at 50km/h in 6th gear if you like, without complaint. Peak power is 245kW at 7000rpm.
There is a VVEL timing (variable valve event and lift) that comes on at 5000rpm and gets headier at 6500 all the way until the shift light engages at 7000rpm.
This thing has long legs.
There is a lot of engine flexibility and well-mated close ratios to really exploit.
If you get it wrong there is bags of torque to claw out of most situations. Get it right and it is quicker than you would give it credit for among all the turbo cars out there these days.
The chassis is very positive and has that fabled 50/50 weight ratio.
It’s great on the road.
Comfy, quiet inside, well set out driving instruments and controls.
The low down hum of the V6 spurred with a bit of drivetrain noise allows you to feel nicely connected to the surefootedness of the Z.
Pushed hard there is no understeer, just crisp turn in with control.
The 370Z can dispatch a succession of turns very capably giving just the right amount of roll and pitch to feel stable regardless of mid corner bump.
There is a definitive weight to the pedal feel, steering and gear selection that makes you respond positively to get feel and rhythm into your drive.
It all adds up to connectivity with the car and the road which is rare these days.
In some moments one could think wow, this would make a great grand tourer but then again it could be a weekend track car or a daily driver just as easily.
If you can forgo the space it is such a good driving machine there is no wonder there is a lot of love for Zs the world over.
The Anniversary model is shod with red-ringed 19-inch Rays wheels and Advan Potenza RE050As that do a superb job of containing the ponies at the tarmac.
The 370Z anniversary edition looks and feels as good as the best Zs and proudly celebrates it outside and in. One for fans and purists alike.
This particular offering commands attention and plucks at heart strings with its retro livery.
Some could argue it’s dated but it has held true to its original design and delivers very solid reliability with the performance to match its looks.
The 370 is good package for the money at $53490 for the manual and $55990 for the automatic.
The 370Z feels like a familiar friend to manual drivers. It delivers all the best in a classic front engine rear drive layout. It also throttle-matches downshifts, even if you don’t heel and toe.
If you are game, turn off the traction control and it can throw the back out under power, the old fashioned way.
You may need private health cover though unless you are well practised at getting it back in line.
And speaking of health cover, it’s not the easiest car to get out of, especially for keen old diehards pushing towards their 80s.
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