50th Anniversary Z adds retro touches to Nissan’s venerable coupe

In its eleventh year of production, Nissan’s 370Z has acquired a bit of accidental retro glamour, and not without reason. It’s still the same blunt instrument it was in 2009, still available with a stick shift, still powered by a naturally-aspirated big-bore, short-stroke V-6 — and in an era where new-car prices have climbed at a dismaying rate, it’s become a bit of a bargain. There’s no longer much clear air between the flat-four Toyota GT86 and the lower half of the surprisingly comprehensive 370Z range, and if the Nissan doesn’t have quite the same knife’s-edge balance it has the advantage of being significantly faster.

2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary nose
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Nissan
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary side badge
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Nissan

2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary rear 3/4
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Nissan

If the Z has a successor coming, it’s not coming soon, so Nissan has been running out the clock with a mild refresh and a focus on customer-pleasing special editions. The 2019 Heritage Edition has been a success of showroom floors, so for 2020 the company will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Z-car with an Anniversary Edition that pairs unashamed retro appeal with savvy equipment choices. Available in two color schemes — white with red accents and silver with black — the Anniversary Z is meant to recall the multiple-SCCA-champion  #46 240Z run by Peter Brock’s BRE team,

As you’d expect, there are no mechanical changes, but the Anniversary car combines some unique visual touches with a savvy selection of equipment. Starting with the mid-level Sport trim, Nissan adds contrast-color striping on the outside, but the real story is in the cockpit, where the driver sits on uniquely-stitched seats, grips a special Alcantara wheel with centering stripe, and can view special kick plates and synthetic suede door inserts created specifically for this model. Bose provides a sound system with dual subwoofers, but the icing on the cake is probably the RAYS alloy wheels with unique color trim.

2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary side profile
2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Nissan

Given a choice, we’d prefer the 370Z Nismo, which offers maximum grip and handling in a package that is likely to be the toast of auction floors a few decades from now — but that model is priced closer to a base Corvette than it is to a well-optioned BRZ, and it doesn’t represent the kind of screaming value that the lower trims do. How much will the Anniversary Z cost? If it’s in the same neighborhood as this year’s Heritage car, then it will be of just as much interest to modern-day drivers as it will be to the retro set.

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