2004 Nissan 350Z
Catch Some Z’s
If you have a child you would like to put to sleep, it’s not an altogether bad idea to strap her into a Z’s seat and take her for a ride. In no time, she will be fast asleep. Note: keep your foot down at all times.
Words + Camera: Peter Orosz | Pictures: Balázs Fenyő | Video editing: György Szeljak
Think sports cars and you don’t think sleep. Perhaps you think another pastime commonly associated with the bedroom, perhaps you think pupils narrowed to a pinhole to focus on the road ahead, you think red and electric blue and Miura green, think clouds overhead but you don’t think of sleep. And would you think of cranky children in need of a nap? Someplace more comfortable than a child seat perched on top of hard suspension, blankets instead of strut braces.
Why, then, is there a sports car named Z?
Two, in fact, as BMW makes another one, but let’s focus on the first, produced by Nissan since 1969. You will recall its program manager Mr. K’s last-minute move to rebadge the first version from Fairlady to its current moniker, which has stuck for four decades now with a varying sprinkling of numbers up front. You would think of anything but sleep when you think of the early models, hairy-chested straight-six coupés built for thrills and of cheap plastics. The later models became high-tech exercises in Japanese turbo wizardry until a pause and a flirt with retrospection later Nissan arrived at what you see here: the 350Z.
Aside from the butch, Porsche-esque shape and the humongous brace arching over the rear suspension, the novelty of the 350Z is its VQ35DE engine. It puts out 287 horsepower and 274 pound-feet of torque but it’s the manner it puts them out that matters. It’s a large-displacement rev-happy V6, spinning free of superchargers or turbos, thundering hello to passersby through large-bore twin exhausts which frighten children and eat cats for snacks.
But step inside and the thunder mellows into a soporific rumble. Inside, it’s dark and cozy, twin bucket seats sink you down down down into the tarmac and all you hear is a happy burble signaling plenty of road ahead and even more behind.
We all have our memories of dozing off in cars as children. Our eyelids drooping to a set pattern of streetlights as they tap-tap-tap by. Only waking up at that last corner which leads to the driveway, always waking up at that last corner, then shuffling off to proper, deep sleep.
Inside the Z you sleep like inside a magma chamber, all you hear is that subaural rumble and all the world goes by, sunflowers bloom and ripen and drop their heads and still you sleep your V6 sleep.
What synapses will the developing mind form in that environment? What will its model of the world be? A world where no matter what, you will keep moving moving moving, tucked deep into three thousand pounds of black upon black and even if we do run out of petrol at some point, why, every Z has got an ion drive.
Just ask Mr. K.
∞ Published on Monday, May 11th, 2009