The 2023 Nissan Z Pulls Radical Vintage Design Cues From Classic Datsun Sports Cars

  • The 2023 Nissan Z brings retro 240Z design to 2023
  • Nissan replicated the taillights of the 300ZX
  • The entire car has been built with classic sports car proportions

Nissan is a brand that’s always looking both ways. Not before crossing the street, but both to the past and future. The Nissan GT-R is just as old-school as it is new, and so is the 2023 Nissan Z. In fact, the previous Z car was much the same. Now, the new model continues this with loads of nods to classic Datsun sports cars. These are all of them.

The RWD-only Nissan Z brings vintage design to 2023

A yellow 2023 Nissan Z shot next to a silver Datsun 240Z
The new Z car and the old Z car | Nissan

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We’ll start with the most obvious. The nose of the new Z is something that stirred some controversy upon the model’s debut, but it’s there for a reason. That rectangular grille is consistent in the large majority of Z cars, from the Datsun days till now. While the previous Nissan 350Z abandoned the circular inset headlights, they’re back for the 2023 Nissan Z, and the design is better for it.

That’s all the obvious stuff at the front end. Take a moment to look at the overall shape of both cars above. There’s a lot of striking similarities. Both the 2023 Nissan Z and the 240 have hood bulges and similar beltlines. Though many parts of the new Z car’s proportions are limited by pedestrian crash standards, it’s clear Nissan tried their best to preserve the overall aesthetic of the original Z car.

A 400 hp twin-turbo V6 is no classic sports car motor

The front end of the new Nissan Z in blue
The headlights and grille are a clear Datsun callback | Nissan

The best place to see that decades-old classic sports car aesthetic is in the side profile. The early Datsun sports cars, 240Z included, featured a sloped rear somewhat similar to the fastback models like the Audi RS5 of today. Just like those older cars, the 2023 Nissan Z’s rear deck does the same. There isn’t a flat surface on the back of the car until you hit the rear decklid. Speaking of which, there’s a lovely retro “Fairlady Z” badge on that not-so-flat rear decklid.

As the body slopes back, there’s also a chrome (or silver) body line that swoops along the roofline. Unfortunately, it doesn’t reach all the way to the front of the car, but we understand why. The dissected line is a little more modern, and chrome window trim is very, very 2003. Just under that is the famous “Z” badge, present on the original 240Z.

How much will the 2023 Nissan Z cost?

The rear of the Nissan 300ZX next to the 2023 Nissan Z in blue
The new Z’s lights are a nod to the 300ZX | Nissan

Finally, there’s the rear, heavily inspired by the AWD Z32 Nissan 300ZX. That’s certainly most evident in the taillights, but the proportions here are very similar to the ’90s JDM icon. While that’s a lot of nostalgia blended into one brand new car, the powertrain is distinctly modern. 400 hp, two turbos, a manual transmission, and an estimated $40,000 MSRP? Sign us up. Retro nods and all, we’re all in on the 2023 Nissan Z.

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