Home » Nissan Should Bring Back The 2+2 Nissan Z Car

Nissan Should Bring Back The 2+2 Nissan Z Car

Two Plus Too
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George Lazenby as James Bond. U2’s “Pop” album. Are there automotive equivalents of these less-than-loved products of a brand? I mean, something that is an important part of their history and not necessarily horrendous but typically ignored or brushed aside by fans? There’s plenty of cars like that, and a good example would be four seat versions of iconic sports cars.

One of the first examples of trying to make a two-place GT more popular with the masses never actually reached production. When the Corvette “C2” Sting Ray was being prepared for launch in 1963, there were some that though it might be worth looking at a stretched version to carry more passengers as an option to more family-oriented buyers. This might have been spurred on by the fact that Ford went from a two seater Thunderbird in 1957 to a much larger four seat model in 1958, massively increasing sales numbers. These photos for the four seat ‘Mid Year’ Corvette prototype resurfaced a few years back from GM, with the black and white image of the original for comparison:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Sport Coupe 1 2

Vette
General Motors

The story is told that the Corvette team was never keen on the idea. They were apparently quite happy when, during a presentation to upper management, the seat latch refused to work and trapped an executive in back of the prototype until tools could be retrieved. While this might not have been what killed the project, it certainly didn’t help; the ‘Vette has remained a two seater to this day. While most Corvette fans thought this 2+2 mockup deserved to die for its crimes against humanity, I really don’t think it’s that bad. If you’d never seen the more balanced two seater original, you might not mind it nearly as much. Besides, I’ve always found most any Corvette to be pretty pretty damn big for something that only seats two.

Jaguar did go ahead and make a two plus two E-Type with a stretched wheelbase. The more vertical windshield and tall greenhouse don’t do it any favors (seemingly worse than the 2+2 ‘Vette) but the model did indeed find buyers. In fact, the 2+2 sold at nearly the same numbers (or more) than the two-seat closed coupe each year it was made.

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Jag 2+2
Motorcar Trader, PostWar Classic

Nissan seems to have followed Jaguar’s lead with their “Z” series of sports/GT cars. The 240Z was as much of a smash success when it debuted in 1970 as the XKE, so they likely realized that a four seat model could be the ticket to keep the sales juggernaut going. Beginning in 1974, Nissan offered a 2+2 version of every Z car it built up until 1999 (well, 1996 in the US).

Zs 1
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The later 2+2s were not as dramatically different since they kept the same basic rear window form; on the last Z32 300ZX you often need to see if the gas door was in front (2 seater) or behind (4 seater) the wheel to tell the difference. I’m not sure if they even sold the two-seat versions of the Z31 and Z32 in Japan or Europe, where taxes, insurance, and size of this “large” car meant that it wouldn’t have been economically feasible.

Zs 2
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There actually was a 2+2 version of the later 2002 Z33 Z Car, but many don’t realize it since it was rebodied and sold as the Infiniti G35 coupe. Nissan likely saw the demographics of the 2+2 Z car buyer (typically older, more money) and realized that the Infiniti brand might be a better place to sell the larger four seat sports coupe. They’re nice cars, but they’re just not Zs.

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Nissan

Purists typically hate these things, finding the extra length, weight, and taller rooflines unappealing. The fact is, they weren’t that much heavier or longer (typically around 10 inches), and the extra wheelbase resulted in improved ride and less twitchiness at the limit. More importantly, having only two seats locks out a huge market. Families with two cars make up a large portion of the car buying public, and most of them don’t want or can’t afford a third “toy car” that the kids can’t fit in. The bigger, stretched model might not be ideal, but a four-seat Z car beats no Z car at all in my book. You can rip on a guy’s E-Type 2+2 all you want, but he’s sure as shit got a Jaaag sports car and you don’t, do you?

I can attest to this situation myself, since our four person family had a couple of four seat Z cars (an S130 280Z and a Z32 300ZX, both rather rare-for-2+2 manuals). We only had parking space for two cars, so a two-seater wasn’t happening. There was another major factor as well: it was about five foot four inches tall, wore Talbot’s clothes, and we called her mom. Maybe your mom liked Camaros or cool British sports car, but I doubt it. Mine liked Volvo and BMW wagons like this one. Somehow, my dad got 2+2 Zs to pass muster with her as a second car; they were, after all, reliable six cylinder Japanese products (well over 150,000 miles attained on each of them). Even when we got too big to ride in back, the seats folded to form cargo space around double what you’d get in the two-place models.

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With the just-released RZ34 Z car, Nissan has reached way back to the original S30 model for styling cues. The appearance is so close to our old US spec 280Z 2+2 that it appears the front bumper has fallen off. Jason has mentioned this rather odd-looking giant rectangular grille-to-the-ground look as well.

Screenshot (830)
Nissan

No problem; I fixed it here below. Now you can park this thing in the city with reckless abandon just like I did with our old car back in the eighties:

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The latest Z is, of course, only offered as a two seater. As before, you need to hit your Infiniti dealer if you’re looking for a coupe-with-a-back-seat in the slow selling G60. Still, could a four seat Z find the success that it did before, despite being viewed in a less-than-optimum light by some “enthusiasts”? Here’s a mockup that’s been stretched a little less than a foot, with longer doors and a slightly raise roof to make the tiny rear seat a possibility.

Side View
Nissan

From the front it isn’t that noticeable.

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Front 2

Front
Nissan

In back, the changes in length and the roof to allow room for the tiny seat are more obvious.

Rear 2a

Rear
Nissan

I mean, it’s not horrendous, and like the earlier models the extra luggage space alone might be worth it even if you don’t ever use the seat. Every newer Z car from the Z33 on has had pretty abysmal cargo area for anything that even purports to be an every day car so this would certainly help.

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Nissan

If you loved your old two seater Z car and LOATHED the long wheelbase one, just remember this: the 2+2 model likely helped to keep the model alive. Had Nissan (or Jaguar) not expanded the line with this more practical version, these sports car icons might not have existed for as long as they did. With sports cars currently being endangered species constantly fighting with SUVs for survival, maybe Nissan needs to think about the idea again.

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CivoLee
CivoLee
10 months ago

Late to the party, but YES! Only roadsters should be pure two-seaters! 2 seat purists shouldn’t buy coupes. And don’t “but dates” me, either, ’cause that car won’t be long for your ownership if that relationship goes anywhere (apologies to parental abstainers).

All 2-doors smaller than a Challenger should be 2+2 liftbacks. You are far more likely to use the extra cargo space than the back seat, but it works when needed. This was a foregone conclusion until the mid 90s or so, and shortly thereafter coupe sales began to wither. Coincidence? I think NOT!

LuzifersLicht
LuzifersLicht
10 months ago

Honestly, at least in the side view I like the more rounded roof of the stretched car better than the OG.

Boosted
Boosted
10 months ago

Wouldn’t a 2+2 Z be the Q60 Red if you go with the previous 350Z model?

Yes I Drive A 240
Yes I Drive A 240
10 months ago

Nope, please don’t. Any 2+2 Z is the least loved model by a long shot.

CSRoad
CSRoad
10 months ago

The Bishop, I think you have a winner in this one.
Now hows about a two door wagon/shooting brake?
A van?

Fernando Astorga
Fernando Astorga
10 months ago

Somehow it looks better!

Automotiveflux
Automotiveflux
10 months ago

Infiniti could probably use another G35 coupe equivalent with a 2+2 version of the new Z. Having owned 2 G35s I can attest that they are great cars for the money (just ignore the stigma surrounding them)

Knowonelse
Knowonelse
10 months ago

We loved our ’84 ZX T-top, drove it all over just for fun while living in Phoenix. We’d just go to the Grand Canyon for lunch. When we found out we were having twins, the ZX would just not work. Drove it into a Subaru dealer and told them I wanted to drive out in a Subaru wagon with no $ changing hands. Done deal. We miss the ZX.
I have a picture of a real hero somewhere with two kid car seats in the back end of their 911.

Dolsh
Dolsh
10 months ago

T-Tops first please! Or a Targa! I’d be lining up for the new Z right now if there was a version with an open roof driving option.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
10 months ago

The 260Z 2+2 is the best resolved 2+2 ever made. It is no less beautiful than the standard model, which is itself one of the most beautiful cars ever made. I strongly approve your message

The Jag 2+2 looks like a tumour

415s30
415s30
10 months ago

Fuck no, I as an S30 owner hate the 2+2s, they were awful Zs and E Types.

Adam Rice
Adam Rice
10 months ago

I always liked the original Z in its 2+2 incarnation—perhaps better than the two-seater.

I’m not a big fan of the new Z34’s looks—the roofline falling away right from the windshield doesn’t look right to me. I think this speculative 2+2 needs a little more finessing, but I like the direction its headed in.

That said, I acknowledge 2+2s are kind of dumb. No one can really sit back there. They may create more cargo space, but if that’s the goal, give me the better option: a shooting break.

415s30
415s30
10 months ago
Reply to  Adam Rice

Wow, all Z owners including myself hate you. We see them as a cancer.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
10 months ago
Reply to  415s30

Z owner here: I don’t hate him. A friend of mine wanted a z he can enjoy with his wife and kid so he bought a 2+2. Good for him!

Also garage monkey did an awesome 2+2 that really made me appreciate the LWB.

Adam Rice
Adam Rice
10 months ago
Reply to  415s30

Good, good. Let the hate flow through you.

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