New Nissan Z Does Retro Right

Aug 19, 2021 3 min read
New Nissan Z Does Retro Right

American automakers could learn a thing or two here…

You undoubtedly have been saturated with news about the all-new 2023 Nissan Z. Plenty of automotive sites are gushing about the huge power bump of 400-horsepower (are you paying attention, Toyota?) among other technical details. However, the thing that’s most striking to me that I don’t think is being talked about enough is how well Nissan executed the retro design.

See how a Nissan 350Z absolutely wrecked a Cadillac dealership here.

Since the 90s American automakers have tried producing retro-styled cars. Almost all have been awful flops, one of the most notable examples being the current Dodge Charger. It’s not just that the modern Charger has 4 doors, a point on which so many enthusiasts get hung up. It’s that the Mopar looks almost nothing like the Chargers from back in the glory days.

What’s ironic is the modern Dodge Challenger is perhaps the best-looking retro-styled modern American car. Ford and GM fans might not want to admit that, but it’s still true. However, I think all three of the Big Three or whatever we want to call them these days can learn something from Nissan’s example.

Instead of just trying to rip off styling elements from past generations of the Z, Nissan honored them through tasteful, modern adaptations. Sure, the new Z is much larger than the S30, but when you look at them side by side you notice the resemblance in the nose. They’re not exactly alike, but it’s like noticing some facial features of a grandfather mixed in with his grandson’s unique looks.

Same thing goes for the rear fascia of the 2023 Z and the Z32. It would look artificial if the Nissan designers had just lifted the iconic taillight configuration right off the classic car and applied it using modern LEDs onto the new Z. That kind of grave robbing of automotive history happens all the time, but it feels disrespectful not only to the old vehicle and those who designed it, but also to the fans. It’s like the kids who tried too hard to be cool, buying Cokes for everyone at lunch while being as socially toxic as possible at the same time.

And just for the record, I think Toyota and Honda can learn something from this as well. After all, the current Supra and NSX aren’t exactly lookers. And don’t even get me started on BMW, Mercedes, and other European automakers. The point is if these companies want to tug on our nostalgia strings they need to do it right, otherwise we have creations which look more appropriate on The Island of Doctor Moreau.

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