Does it make me kind of a jerk when I write slightly bitterly about automotive ideas I had in passing that became real? I’ve done it a few times before. I mean, its not like I get anything else out of these ideas I just burp out every now and then, so why shouldn’t I let everyone know, right? Damn right. So I’m going to do it again, because, according to our pals over at Japanese Nostalgic Car, the new 2023 Nissan Z sports car will have an option for a modified face: instead of the default large, gaping maw of a rectangular grille, a version divided by a bumper bar will be available, likely as a dealer-installed option. Nissan first showed a concept Z car with this divided grille last year at the Tokyo Auto Show, but, and I’m just saying here, I made a very similar mockup back in 2020 when the new Z design was first shown. Should Nissan maybe send me one of those baskets full of cheese and sausages and stuff? Maybe. Mostly, I’m just glad it looks like they’re planning to do it at all.
The reason this is a thing at all is because the 2023 Nissan Z, while I think quite a striking-looking car, has one design element that has proven controversial: the large rectangular grille.
Now, Z cars have actually had similar large rectangular radiator grilles since their introduction in 1969 as the Fairlady Z, but the grille was always divided by the thin bumper bar:
This effectively broke up the grille visually into an upper wide and narrow rectangular grille, and a less-prominent below-bumper air intake. It worked well, giving the Z a sleek look and a determined face that wasn’t quite so gape-maw’d. The Z shown at the Tokyo Auto Salon in 2022 clearly is a modern take on the old Fairlady’s bumper, and looks like this:
That one visual element really changes the look of the front end, I think for the better. And that’s probably why I mocked this up back in 2022 for an article at The Old Site:
Look at that! Sure, I made something that looked a bit more like an aerodynamic orthodontic device than the much more clean and refined version Nissan themselves made, but we were both playing with the same concept. If you look at the text below the image, I even talked about it being an option that could be added or removed, which feels close to what they’re planning with a dealer-installed version.
I think this will be a popular option, because, let’s be honest, it makes the car look so much better, I think. And yeah, I’m gonna claim I had the idea first, because, well, there’s the receipts, right there! So there, Nissan!
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I’ve been to see that Z432 at the salon a few times, that is not a normal Z. I tried to find copies of those wheels for my orange 71′ but they are super rare.
it was less heinous than pretty much every lexus grill, but definitely see the aesthetic benefits of the new nose.
I’ll believe it when I see it.
Thanks Torch, NOW I’m bitter about the Z not being sold in Europe.
Wait, really? Sounds ridiculous to me. Ford’s still selling several thousand Mustangs each year, there’s a big enough market for a couple thousand Zs a year.
really, really, unfortunately:( I am really pondering on how to import one when they hit the showrooms in the US, but the shipping and taxes here in the EU will probably make that hard to justify.
It’s an emissions issue apparently, not worth the investment.
As a European former 350Z owner I am very disappointed.
Also as a former 350Z owner I like the big square grill on the 400Z. I didn’t like the look of the 370Z, the lights were a mess, but I was really looking forward to getting a 400Z.
As it’s all basically the same car underneath maybe someone can do a kit of bits to make a 370 look like a 400, like how you could swap the front ends on Nissan S-bodies.
Actually Nissan had the idea in 2018 but with the disaster of a company they are it took 4 years to roll out.
In automotive life cycle and model changes planning, uh they actually probably had the idea before you. Really think their lightbulb just went off a few months ago and it was integrated that fast?
Not at all, but my post was in 2020!
I don’t like their rectangular solution at all. I like yours better. But, best of all would be if they could duplicate the original Fairlady Z nose, even with a thin chrome bumper. I just like the lighter, less bulky look of the original..
It had a more pleasing taper to it.
I was a big fan of the one with the broken up grille when they first revealed it but after seeing a few of the new Zs IRL last year, I think the big rectangle has grown on me a bit. I think it’s a lot less jarring in person.
I believe that, as an American, it’s your constitutional duty to sue Nissan for intellectual property theft. Lawyers need to feed their kids, too. Win or lose, though, I wouldn’t count on anyone from Nissan ever taking your calls again.
Personally, the teardrop lights bother me more than the grille.
If only they had somehow rounded them off toward the back of the lens.. to look like the sweet sweet original with the sweet sweet covers. Then give me one in metallic blue please.
Truly a visionary
I don’t mind the standard huge rectangle, and I think it’s unfair not to address that tuner culture is the reason behind it because the moment you look up almost any modified 240/260Z, you’ll see that most of them do away with the bumper and it’s nostalgia for that that Nissan was aiming for.
In saying that, the idea of a body colour divider definitely does work, but not in your mock up, or in Nissan’s actual execution. I can’t get behind the modified shape of the lower air intake, the widened and curved outer edges give it this frumpy frown now, it makes the car significantly less attractive.
I kinda prefer your proposal, as its a wider horizontal element splitting the grille (similar to what the bumper did on the original), and not just dividing the grille in two as Nissan seem to have done. It’s like they understood that they had to split the large grille, but didn’t understand the concept..
“Looks better than the regular grille”
me: “FIGHT ME MF”
I agree that looks better, you’re 100% correct!
but I also think they need to fix the headlights. This is a horribly quick 2 minute photoshop hackjob… but… hear me out; if you push them in a bit w scallops it looks better:
“Mostly, I’m just glad it looks like they’re planning to do it at all.”
I think that’s the right (and not-bitter) way to look at it, while reveling in the fact that you were ahead of the game.
“a determined face that wasn’t quite so gape-maw’d”
I suppose we could categorize cars like that as the Maw’d Squad.
Good one, A. Barth!
For those who didn’t catch it (and further subset: those who enjoy kitschy 60s/70s stuff), partake of your chosen intoxicant and search Mod Squad on yt. I’m betting you won’t be able to help laughing & cringing simultaneously. In a good way (imo)
Gracias for the clarification 🙂
I always wondered why manufacturers didn’t offer an option to get a different front grill. I figured a dealer could install it. Especially LEXUS… I would totally get an LX 600 if it wasn’t for the giant ass grill. Oh, and the lack of funds. But mainly the grill.
BMW too. The beaver teeth are a crime against humanity and if they’d take them off I’d gladly consider an M440i as my next car.
Just go all out, get one in brown and paint the grill a yellowish off white.
There you have it, the beaver mobile.
Some youtuber needs to do a wrap like this.
And don’t forget to add a ridiculously oversized spoiler.
They are basically just plastic, so maybe 3D print your own bespoke design?