Two iconic Nissan models celebrate 50th anniversaries

Few vehicles in the world can be instantly identified by just three letters, but to motoring enthusiasts everywhere, “GT-R” has become synonymous with excitement, high performance and unparalleled refinement.

While the original Datsun Z that debuted in 1969 was a revelation for the automotive world. An affordable, reliable sports car with style and comfort that could be used for daily driving was unheard of at the time. In short time, customers around the world were enjoying their newfound freedom to explore their favourite winding roads in style. Sales jumped to more than 40,000 globally in 1970.

Making its debut at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, the 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition takes the nameplate to a level that was unimaginable when it was first introduced 50 years ago. To celebrate the half-century of the GT-R, engineers challenged themselves to find undiscovered performance potential while still making sure the car can be enjoyed by drivers at any level.

“A GT-R is about total balance management,” said Hiroshi Tamura, Chief Product Specialist for the GT-R.

“It is not about chasing a power figures, but creating a new GT-R, where no aspect has been overlooked. This is appropriate to celebrate the GT-R 50th anniversary,” Tamura continued.

Also revealed at this week’s New York International Auto Show, was the 2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition, with a distinctive racing livery appearance that pays homage to the #46 BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) Datsun 240Z that won multiple SCCA National Championships with John Morton behind the wheel.

“It’s no secret that the Datsun 240Z started the ball rolling for Japanese sports cars in the U.S.,” said Ivan Espinosa, Nissan’s corporate Vice President of Global Product Strategy and Planning.

“After the BRE 240Z debuted in 1970, Nissan/Datsun became one of the most successful companies in American motorsports – with thousands of victories over the past five decades,” added Espinosa.

The 2020 Nissan GT-R 50th Anniversary Edition in detail

The 2020 Nissan GT-R will come in three trim levels in most markets: GT-R Premium, GT-R Track Edition and GT-R NISMO.

The special edition car will come in three heritage-era, two-tone exterior colour combinations meant to represent the GT-R’s liveries from the Japan GP series – of which the original GT-R was born to dominate in.

Inside the 50th Anniversary Edition is a special gray interior colour scheme, which gives the cabin a sense of luxury, reminiscent of the atmosphere of the night sky after the twilight hour (the colour is also available on select other 2020 GT-R models).

Additional 50th anniversary features include unique steering wheel and shift knob trim, special seat embossing, an Alcantara headliner with unique stitching, Alcantara-wrapped sunvisors, and more.

While many believed that the refinement and performance of the GT-R’s 420kW 3.8-litre V6 24-valve twin-turbocharged engine – each handcrafted by its own takumi technician – were so high that there was no room for improvement, the car’s engineers had a few tricks up their sleeves.

Among them was incorporating new turbochargers, which help increase the engine’s low rpm response due to an abradable seal, providing tighter clearances and a five per cent increase in efficiency.

Overall, they provide even sharper engine response in and out of corners, making the driving experience more rewarding and richer than ever before.

The exhaust manifolds, inspired by racing technology, have optimised turbo flange attachment points, which allow for easier servicing and potential tuning, without touching the exhaust manifold.

GT-R features a revised 6-speed dual-clutch transmission with a refined “R mode,” made for both road and track.

It features more aggressive downshifts to better anticipate swift cornering exits, with gear selection happening during ABS engagement, resulting in reduced understeer and a more driver-intuitive feeling.

The adaptive shift control is programmed to change shift schedules to fit the user’s driving style, making it possible to drive according to the law on public roads, with full brute force available on the race track, without needing to manually change shift modes.

The GT-R’s signature exhaust note is the product of a new titanium muffler, featuring titanium finishers with burnished blue tips.

The electronically controlled suspension has been tuned to provide better cornering stability and a smoother ride. While steering will more linear and precise than ever, requiring minimal corrections at speeds of up to 300k/h.

A new brake booster increases the initial braking response by engaging with less pedal stroke, resulting in enhanced stopping power and feel.

The distinct driver-oriented cockpit has comfortable yet supportive seats for both front and rear passengers.

The dashboard is designed to convey a “horizontal flow,” delivering a sense of high stability for front seat occupants. It comes wrapped in a single, seamless piece of hand-selected Nappa leather, artfully stitched with takumi-style precision.

The centre dashboard integrates navigation and audio controls and an 8-inch capacitive touch-panel monitor. The large icons on the display screen inform the driving experience without distracting from it.

Mounted to the sporty steering wheel are shift paddles that allow drivers to change gears in mid-turn without taking their hands off the wheel.

The 2020 Nissan 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition in detail

For 2020, the 370Z will be available in four trim levels: the base model, Sport, Sport Touring and the 370Z NISMO. The 370Z Sport model is the foundation for the 50th Anniversary model, as it represents the true enthusiast spirit of the original model.

The exterior of the 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition mimics the livery of the original BRE race car and is available in two different paint schemes: white with red accents, or silver with black accents.

Key BRE design cues include the two signature stripes on the side of the car and the painted boot, bonnet, side mirrors and A-pillars in the accent colour (red for the white car and black for the silver car).

Along the side of the car, a thin line runs from the headlight to the rear glass, culminating in a small triangle inspired by the C-pillar of the Datsun 240Z.

The package also includes 50th Anniversary identification on the front fender, anniversary rear badging and special 19-inch alloy wheels with red accents.

The 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition retains the sleek profile that has defined Zs of the past, characterised by its low roofline, upswept quarter-window design and slope of the rear hatch.

High-intensity discharge bi-functional xenon “boomerang shape” headlights, with an auto on/off feature, and LED daytime running lamps combine with a distinct front bumper design for an aggressive, yet elegant face.

At the rear, the integration of the boomerang taillights, rear spoiler delete and wide, flared fenders highlight the car’s strong, athletic shape.

Inside, the driver-centric interior is framed by a deeply scooped instrument panel. A full-length centre console separates the driver’s seat from the passenger seat.

The design incorporates a “layer concept” with an information layer, an operation layer and a holding layer. Special touches include a “50th Anniversary” steering wheel wrapped in Alcantara, with a race car-inspired centring stripe.

The leather-appointed and suede-covered heated four-way power seats, which feature adjustable lumbar support, have unique stitching, graphics and the 50th Anniversary logo embossed into the backrests.

The information layer provides good visibility and easy access to all key data. The gauges are attached to the steering column so that the driver doesn’t have to choose between a preferred steering wheel position and gauge visibility.

The large upper steering-wheel opening in front of the gauges is designed to provide a good view of the readouts, while the special 50th Anniversary logo on the tachometer celebrates Z performance.

A Bose audio system with eight speakers (includes dual subwoofers), active noise cancellation and active sound enhancement systems is also standard on the 50th Anniversary model (U.S. models only).

Nissan’s famed 3.7 litre V6 engine is at the heart of the 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition. The engine produces approximately 250kW of power and 366Nm of torque. The innovative VVEL system optimises intake valve open/close movements, allowing air to be sent promptly to the combustion chamber at the precise time it’s needed.

Since the VVEL system can adjust to open the valves slightly, it improves fuel efficiency by reducing camshaft friction and fuel waste. It also provides cleaner emissions by allowing quicker warmup of the catalyst and by stabilising combustion when the engine is cool.

The 50th Anniversary model comes equipped with a close-ratio, 6-speed manual gearbox that features a synchronised downshift rev-matching system called SynchroRev Match.

It automatically controls and adjusts engine speed when shifting to the exact speed of the next gear position, essentially “blipping” the throttle to smooth out any up/down shifts. This allows drivers of any skill level to change gears like a professional race car driver.

The 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition is also available as a 7-speed automatic with Downshift Rev Matching, paddle shifters and adaptive shift control designed to offer quick, manual-like shifting when operated in manual mode, with a target time of 0.5 seconds between shifts.

The 370Z 50th Anniversary Edition features a fine-tuned double-wishbone front suspension that uses lightweight forged aluminium arms, a lightweight rigid aluminium-alloy cradle, and a hollow construction stabiliser bar.

The independent multi-link rear suspension is also stiffer and lighter than the previous generation’s design. The rear cradle is integrated into a single part without welding. Each corner has high-response shock absorbers that enhance ride comfort through reduced friction. A Viscous Limited Slip Differential makes sure the power gets to the ground.

Providing stopping power is a four-wheel vented disc anti-lock brake system, with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist, featuring 14.0-inch front and 13.8-inch rear rotors with four-piston front and two-piston rear aluminium calipers.

High-grip Bridgestone Potenza S007 tyres mounted on RAYS lightweight forged alloys – with special trim – round out the package.

Contact you preferred Nissan Dealer for more information about the availability of these special edition models in Australia.

Photographs by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd