It was a sad weekend, a faithful fun friend of over 3 years passed into history. No ground clearance, no real luggage space, no glove compartment, just 2 seats... my original 350Z (no Tokyo Drift ripoff) was finally traded in for a different fun car. God I'm going to miss this beasty....
The most impractical car I have ever owned, and the first car I have purchased from new. An impulse buy made while I was still recovering from my motorcycle accident and thinking to convert to just 4 wheel fun instead of 2 wheels. It was the first year of production for the new 350z, I loved the styleing, the power, the way everything was centered around the driver. But most of all I was sold the moment the dealer stomped on the accelerator with the fun button pressed, the wild 2 seater was mine
Life with the Z started out very slow. For a start I was still in hospital being treated for my motorcycle injury. So rathr than have the car sit around getting dusty I had it sent up to those nice folks at Veilside for a little body work to give it a little more aggresive look and prepare for some engine work I had in mind but never got around to. FRP hood with and front end for looks and improved airflow for the engine (plan was for a Power Enterprise twin turbo setup) and matching aero mirrors and some driving lamps. All of this in 2003 while Tokyo Drift movie was just a twinkle in Hollywoods eye.
It was at this stage that not the most practical car in the world became very impractical. The changes made for a car with very, very little ground clearance. I have lost count of how many resturants, car parks and shops I have not been to because the car would not handle the parking entrances. Bad enough to see it ahead of time, worse when you get stuck half way! But the more impractical it was the more I loved it, it got you to concentrate on just driving, which is where it excelled.
A 350Z starts off with about 280hp out of the factory. Add a big sports exhaust system and a little tuning, and you have a 1360Kg 2 seater with around 300hp. That's a whole lot of fun. Nissan installs a whole lot of safety features on the car that makes it less likely to get into trouble and better handling.....for the novice I like to think that I don't belong in that category and was entitled to switch off those features and drive without all the silly traction control systems etc most of the time to fully enjoy the power of the car. Have too much fun and the dash lights up like some funky christmas decoration until you kill the engine. It's something to look at while the tyre smoke drifts away.
I will miss the Z. I have done track days with her, and road trips all over Japan including a marathon drive on a long weekend down to kyushu and back. The car really is something else, and I am jealous of who ever gets it next - right up to the last day it was still getting comments (ok not all good), and people taking photographs of it. Luckily I have traded it in for a car with a new type of fun factor....