The Nissan 300ZX is a sports car produced in two different generations between 1983 and 2000. It appeared as a successor to the 280ZX, and was a big change with a three-litre, 230 hp V6 engine which replaced the previous straight-six power unit. It was sold in Japan from 1983 to 2001 and in the United States from 1984 to 1996. The addition of the “X” to the car’s name was taken from its predecessor, the 280ZX, to indicate the presence of luxury and comfort-oriented features.
The first-generation 300ZX, known as the Z31, was produced between 1983 and 1989 and became Nissan’s largest production Z-car. Produced as a 3-door coupe, the cars were equipped with a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The car was produced in both left- and right-hand drive versions and was marketed with a more angular design and partially concealed retractable headlights. The Z31 chassis designation was first introduced in Japan in 1983 as the Fairlady Z. It was powered by Japan’s first mass-producted V6 engine, replacing the inline sixes of earlier Z cars.
The 300ZX contained technology such as stereo with tone control and fully digital climate control.
It was the first car in history to have LED central brake lights in the 1987 model year. The Z31 was sold until 1989, more than any other Z car at the time.
North America was the main market for the 300ZX, as it had been for previous generations of Z-cars. In the United States, it was introduced in October 1983. In 1985, more than 70,000 units were sold in the US. Outside the US and Japanese domestic markets, large numbers of units were also produced for Europe and even for Australia. A total of 329,900 Z31s were produced between 1983 and 1989.
Its successor, the Z32, was a new design approved by Nissan management on 1st October 1986. The bodywork was wider, with a rounder profile and fewer hard edges. It was available in 2-door convertible, two-seat coupe and four-seat coupe versions. In an effort to become even more competitive in the sports car market, the second-generation 300ZX was redesigned to be faster and incorporate more advanced technology, but it was priced higher than its predecessor and steadily increased in price each model year. Accordingly, sales decreased year after year, and Nissan discontinued sales of new Nissan Z-cars in the United States after the 1996 model year, although the car continued to be sold in the Japanese domestic market in low production numbers until 2001. A total of 164,170 units of the Z32 were produced.
Later, the Nissan 350Z replaced the 300ZX, in 2003.
The car also entered motorsport, becoming a Trans Am winner at Lime Rock in 1986. This is the only Trans Am win with the 300ZX. The Z32’s greatest triumph was its victory at the 1994 24 Hours of Daytona.
In 2004, Automobile magazine named the Z32 one of the 100 best cars of all time.

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