Nissan celebrates 50 years of Z-cars — here are five models steering the series to success

They are some of the zippiest motors made by the manufacturer and a new version is heading to the Middle East

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Nissan is celebrating more than half a century of its Z-cars by rolling out the latest model in the UAE.

Simply called Nissan Z, the newcomer will arrive later this year and caps off five decades of the sportscar's success. There have been scores of tweaked and remade versions of the years, but five stand out.

Each one represents a significant moment in the car's history, which first appeared in 1969 as the Fairlady Z in Japan and the Datsun 240Z in the US.

Since then, more than 1.8 million units have been sold worldwide.

Here, The National looks back at the key Zs ahead of the new release.

Datsun 280ZX, 1980

This vehicle was released to mark a decade since the model’s first arrival.

It had a limited run of 3,000 units and featured a gold-coloured Z hood badge, commemorative wreath decals and alloy wheels, all of which distinguished it from its predecessors.

Nissan 300ZX Turbo, 1984

The next key car in line was the 300ZX Turbo from 1984, which was released to mark almost 50 years since Nissan launched in the 1930s.

Fresh additions here included steering wheel audio controls, digital readouts and electronically controlled sport suspension.

Nissan 350Z, 2005

The 2005 Nissan 350Z is the third star in the heritage line-up, a car powered by a beefy 3.5-litre V8 engine.

This was a souped-up version of the model released a couple of years previously, with the company’s engineers squeezing the mechanics until customers were presented with a 300-horsepower vehicle.

Nissan 370Z, 2010

The fourth decade of the Z was marked by the Nissan 370Z, a name change prompted by the fact that the model’s engine size had been increased to 3.7 litres.

This one was different to the standard vehicle as it was fitted with front and rear spoilers, a special graphite paint scheme, as well as bright-red brake calipers and a series of 40th anniversary badges.

The classic 280Z from 1980. Photo: Nissan

Nissan 370Z, 2020

The line-up is rounded out by 2020’s car, which went by the same name of its predecessor and marked half a century of the Z.

Upgrades here included stripes on the side of the car and A-pillars in contrasting accent colours, as well as 50th-anniversary markings on the front bumper and alloy wheels with red accents.

What next?

However, if you want any of these cars you'll have to scour the used car markets, as Nissan isn't reproducing any more.

If that seems a bit tiresome, the most up-to-date version, just going by the name of the Z, was unveiled in the US in 2021 and will be rolled out in the Middle East and North Africa later this year.

Commentators suggest the vehicle will have a starting price of around $40,000 (Dh146,000). The latest version will be powered by a 3-litre V6 engine, which will produce 400hp and get you to 100kph in around 4.5 seconds.

Updated: August 11, 2022, 7:11 AM