Image credits: © Nissan.
2006 Nissan 350Z GT-S Concept news, pictures, and information
Its first public outing will be at the Goodwood Festival of Speed (7-9 July) where it will join other exotic road cars in the Supercar Paddock and on the famous hillclimb course.
Although boasting a power hike and a substantially modified chassis, the GT-S is far from being a stripped out racing car wîth a rock hard ride and a peaky power delivery.
Nissan's Communications Director Wayne Bruce says: 'The GT-S has been created as a real car not an ornament.
'We wanted to build a ‘Club Special' that could still be used to commute to work during the week but would provide added thrills at the weekend: a weekday workhorse and a weekend warrior in one distinctive package.'
The project's technical leader Steve Robbins – who during the week is a senior engineer in the new vehicle evaluation team at NTCE – gathered together half a dozen like-minded enthusiasts to work on the project.
Working after hours and at the weekend, the team members came from within NTCE and also from outside suppliers and was known internally as the S-Club Seven.
The principal changes made to turn the 350Z into the GT-S center on its engine and chassis. Úsing a supercharger installation from Swiss manufacturers Novidem, power has increased by more than 25 per cent from 300 bhp to 382 bhp, while torque rises from 260 lb-ft to a heady 314 lb-ft.
Performance gains are expected to include a one second cut in the benchmark 0-60 mph time (5.8 seconds for the standard 350Z) wîth 2.5 seconds slashed from the 0-100 mph time.
And it sounds better, too, thanks to an electronically controlled by-pass valve that enriches the exhaust note at a pre-determined engine speed.
NTCE engineers have undertaken the suspension changes. Working closely wîth specialists from Bilstein, the changes concentrate on optimizing road performance, wîth improvements in both handling ability and ride comfort, particularly on British ‘B' roads. Wider wheels and tires complete the chassis alterations.
A wind tunnel developed body/aero kit from German firm Strosek not only gives the all-black GT-S a distinctive look, but also improves the 350Z's aerodynamic performance wîth increased front and rear downforce at speed. The package is completed by a NVH pack which makes the GT-S even more civilized than the standard 350Z.
Steve Robbins said: 'We could have produced a balls-out racer wîth huge power outputs and very little suspension movement. But while this would have created a superb racer, it would have been virtually unusable on the road. Instead we approached the GT-S from an engineering stand-point wîth a view to creating a 350Z that provides more of everything: performance, handling, looks, comfort and excitement.
'We also looked at the possible marketing potential of such a project and have designed the improvements as individual ‘packs' – an engine pack, a suspension pack, aero pack and so on – and kept a close eye on costs.'
So will the GT-S ultimately become more than a weekend project by a group of mavericks? Nissan is saying nothing officially, though insiders point to its appearance at Goodwood as a sign the company is giving the GT-S concept serious consideration.
Goodwood Festival of Speed
Source - Nissan
Nissan has been showing its 350Z in the Supercar Paddock for the last three years where it has attracted as much attention as cars costing up to eight times as much. This year's entrant, called the 350Z GT-S concept, is the most special yet. The same talented team at Nissan's Cranfield Technical Centre who tailored the current 350Z to European driving needs have taken the car another step further. And they've been doing it in their spare time. Supercharging takes the power output of the Z's much loved 3.5-litre V6 engine from 300PS to 380PS, the brakes have been uprated wîth different discs and pads, and the suspension has been retuned to accommodate the extra power as well as increasing grip in all conditions. Which includes Goodwood's famous hillclimb on which the 350Z GT-S concept will be making its first dynamic appearance.
The 350Z GT-S concept also sports a full body kit which has been developed to aid aerodynamics, increase down force and direct cooling air over the braking system. Wheels have been changed, too, but stick to the 18 inch diameter keeping weight to a minimum. The interior will also be going on a diet but this will be displayed at a later date.
Singer Duncan James (formally of Blue) took time out from promoting his new solo album to drive the supercharged 350Z GT-S concept in the Supercar Run on Sunday. And a fine show he put on, too. As if the crowd wasn't excited enough, Duncan slowed the car down on the straight, revved the engine, dropped the clutch and did a tyre smoking start – a superstar indeed.
As one of the first people to drive this special 350Z developed by engineers at Nissan's Bedfordshire European Technical Centre, Duncan was more than a little nervous of its 380PS power output. But after the drive, once he'd fought his way through the pack of photographers, Duncan said: 'that was absolutely amazing, what a great experience.'
As a Murano driver himself, Duncan was very interested in Nissan's other concept car debut, the turbocarged 340PS Murano GT-C. This ÚK developed special sports 22' alloy wheels, red AP brake callipers, darkened grille and handles, an interior lightened wîth tan and black leather wîth a beige headlining plus an original Murano glass gear knob and tray wîth cool blue LED illumination. It certainly got a great reception from visitors to Nissan's stand … as did the pink Micra C+C. And not just from girls. There was many a bloke wanting his picture taken by the eye-grabbing cabriolet.
The Datsun 240Z was introduced in 1969 as a 1970 model. The engine was a derivation of the Datsun 1600. The Datsun 1600 engine was a copy of the 1960's six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz 220 engine, but with two less cylinders. By adding two extra cylinders in the 240Z the cylinder count was back to six. With 151 horsepower and 146 pound-feet of torque the vehicle could propel from zero-to-sixty in eight seconds. The independent suspension and the rack-and-pinion steering added to its quick response, performance, and handling. The front disc brakes brought the car to a stop from high speeds in just seconds. With a price tag of just over $3,500, it cost much less than anything else on the market. Due to demand, a year later Kelly Blue Book rated the value of a used 240Z at $4,000.
The 240Z dominated the SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) C-class production category for 10 years ranging from 1970 through 1979. In 1970 and 1971 John Morton, driving for Brock Racing Enterprises, was the first to claim victory in SCCA C-Class production racing using a 240Z. Bob Sharp claimed his first win in that category in 1972 and again in 1973 and 1975. Walt Maas continued the streak in 1974. The Z-car competed in the IMSA (International Motor Sports Association) where it captured many victories, including the IMSA GTU title. In 1982, Devendorf and his Electromotive racing team win Datsun's first ever IMSA GTO championship.
In 1985, Paul Newman set 10 track records in a 280ZX Turbo.
In 1994, a race-modified Z car won the 24 Hors of Daytona and the 12 Hours at Sebring. It also captured the GTS Class at the 24 Hours of LeMans, making it the only car ever to accomplish such a record within the same year.
In 1974, the engine displacement was increased to 2.6 liters and the vehicle was dubbed the 260Z. This brought an end to the 240Z series which had sold 116,712 examples during its life-span. The United States emissions regulations were increasing every year. Thus, the 260Z had less horsepower than its predecessor and was rated at 139.
The 260Z was available in 2+2 configuration. With the fold-down rear seats, the 260Z offered a higher level of practicality over the 240Z. During its first and only model year, 63,963 examples were produced giving it the all-time Z-car sales record to date.
In 1975 the displacement was increased to 2.8 liters and the vehicle dubbed the 280Z. A Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was included which helped bring increase the horsepower to 149.
In 1977, the horsepower rating was 170. A five-speed overdrive transmission was now offered, giving the vehicle better performance and fuel economy. The sales of the Z car once again hit a record high, with 67,331 units sold.
In 1979, the second generation of the Z-car was introduced as the 280ZX. It was more refined and luxurious than the previous Z's. The formula was correct and it was named Motor Trends 'Import Car of the Year'. A new all-time sales record was achieved with 86,007 units being sold.
In 1980, over 500,000 cumulative American Z-cars had been sold. It had reached the half-million sales mark faster than any other sport car. A new T-bar roof option was now being offered.
To add to the appeal and performance of the 280ZX, a turbocharged engine became available in 1981. Sales continued to remain strong through 1983.
In 1984 the third generation of the Z-car was introduced and was dubbed the 300ZX. It featured distinct styling and a new 3.0 liter V6 engine. The normal-aspirated engine produced 160 horsepower, while the turbocharged version offers 200 horsepower.
In 1989, the American automotive economy was continuing to evolve. Minivan's and sport utility vehicles were gaining in popularity. In response, Nissan introduced the fourth-generation Z-car in 1990. The new 300ZX featured improvements both mechanically and aesthetically. Under the hood sat an all-new DOHC 3.0-liter engine with a horsepower rating of 222. A twin-turbocharged version of the engine was available and brought the total horsepower output to 300. The body of the vehicle had been improved giving it a more aggressive stance.
Motor Trend awarded the Z00ZXTT 'Import Car of the Year' and 'One of the Top Ten Performance Cars'. Automobile Magazine honored the car with 'Design of the Year' and was added to its 'All Stars' list. Not to be outdone, Road & Track named the car 'One of the Ten Best Cars in the World'. Car and driver named it 'One of the Ten Best Cars'.
During the 1990 model year the one-million sales mark was achieved making it the all-time best selling sports car. The car continued to receive great reviews and awards by Magazines and publications. The year 1995 marked the 25th Anniversary of the Z-car. To commemorate this occasion, a limited edition was produced with the help of Steve Millen Sport Cars.
In 1996, the production of the Z-car ceased in North America. Decreasing Sales figures, and increased smog regulations and production costs were to blame. The price of the twin-turbo 300ZX was priced at $45,000, a cost that was to expensive for most consumers. Production of the Z-car continued in Japan until 1999, although it had undergone a major redesign in 1998.
In August of 2002, Nissan introduced the 350Z. This six-gear, two-seater was the fifth generation of the Z-car. Offered in five trim packages that included Base, Enthusiast, Performance, Touring, and Track Editions, the vehicle was an instant success. Base price was around $26,000 with the fully-loaded Track option costing over $34,000. Aesthetic and performance upgrades were available through Nismo, Nissan's motorsport and performance division.
In 2004, a roadster option was offered. The roadster was available in two trim packages which included the Enthusiast and Touring editions.
A special 35th Anniversary model was released in 2005 featuring twice the output of the original 1969 model.
Sales figures, race results, and satisfied customers have proven this to be one of the best sports vehicles ever produced.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2007
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