Nissan 300ZX

First introduced in 1990, the Nissan 300ZX is a sporty two-door coupe that became an instant hit when it made its debut. While the Nissan Z had been around in one form or another for years, the fourth-generation 300ZX provides the fastest and best handling model of the line.

More on the Nissan 300ZX
Nissan 300ZX Origins

While the car sold well initially, the dollar’s poor performance against the Japanese yen in the mid-1990s drove the 300ZX’s price up. This had the effect of making the 300ZX not such a great bargain after all. Drivers found that for the kind of money they needed to buy a new Z, they could just as easily purchase a European sport model. This led to a downturn in sales, and Nissan ultimately chose to discontinue the model in 1996. This is arguably less of a reflection on the quality of the model than on the conditions of the day. In the mid-1990s, people with disposable vehicle income snapped up SUVs, and the sports car market dropped, taking down the 300ZX along with other models such as the Toyota MR2 and the Dodge Stealth.

About the Nissan 300ZX

Fast, maneuverable, and with a sleek, low profile, the Nissan 300ZX was one of the fastest, most head-turning sports cars on the market in the early to mid-1990s. The car’s performance, power, and attractive styling, make a dramatic impression with drivers and reviewers alike. With a twin-turbo engine, a dazzling exterior design, and a four-wheel independent suspension, the Nissan 300ZX offers excitement on four wheels at reasonable price to boot.

However, as the dollar fell and the yen climbed, the 300ZX’s price tag climbed along with it, leading to a decline in sales. Still, even more than a decade later, the 300ZX remains an impressive sport model that’s worth a look for anyone interested in picking up a previously owned Japanese sports car. The 300ZX is known for being reliable up to a point, and market depreciation means you can often find them at bargain prices. However, it’s worth noting that during the 300ZX’s run of production, Nissan loaded the model up with technological features, many of which have gone wrong over the years.

Nissan 300ZX Features

1996 was the final year that Nissan produced the 300ZX. This falls during the Nissan Z’s fourth generation. In its final year as a production model, the Nissan 300ZX came in four different models and as a convertible or a coupe. The four models produced in 1996 include: the standard coupe, the 2+2 coupe, the convertible, and the 300ZX Twin Turbo coupe. The 2+2 has a wheelbase that measures five inches longer, providing room for a pair of vestigial rear seats.

Regular versions of the car contain a 24-valve, 3.0-liter V-6 engine that produces 222 horsepower and 198 lb-ft of torque. While the coupe could come with or without the turbo engine, the convertible and 2+2 were not available with the additional power. Turbo versions of the engine feature intercooling and a single turbo for each of the cylinder banks. Turbo versions of the 300ZX’s engine generate 300 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. Both versions of the engine mate to the same standard five-speed transmission and limited slip differential. Nissan also offers the option of a four-speed automatic. When equipped with the automatic transmission, turbo models experience a slight reduction in horsepower to 280.

Stylistically, the 300ZX changed only slightly over the six years that Nissan produced it, and in 1996 it remained one of the leanest and meanest looking cars on the road. Not only does the car look good, but its hatchback body design also facilitates a reasonable amount of utility. The coupe version comes with either a solid roof or a T-top with removable panels. Despite the 300ZX’s rather hefty 3,500 pound curb weight, the car offers good performance and maneuverability.

Nissan brought the 300ZX into compliance with the latest emission regulations for its final year of production.

Nissan 300ZX Evolution

Produced from 1990 through 1996, the 300ZX represents the fourth and final generation of Nissan’s long-running Z line. During this final period, the Japanese automaker made only minimal changes to the model line. These include the addition of driver-side front airbags in 1992 and the introduction of the convertible version in 1994.

1994 also saw the introduction of remote keyless entry and a passenger airbag that permits the use of manual seatbelts.

Turbo models manufactured between 1990 and 1995 feature variable camshaft timing; Nissan discontinued this feature in the car’s final year of production. While horsepower remains at 300, some claim that this modification caused a discernible drop in power.

Select a Nissan 300ZX Year

1996 Nissan 300ZX

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1996 Nissan 300ZX marks the last model in Nissan’s Z line.

1995 Nissan 300ZX

Convertible, Coupe, Hatchback, Sports

The 1995 Nissan 300ZX continues a long tradition of namesake cars that began in 1983.