The Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo was one of the most iconic sports cars of the 1990s. The Turbo Z, as it came to be known, was a fast, high-tech showcase of Nissan's engineering prowess, and one of a handful of cars that changed the perception of Japanese sports cars for good. Nissan has made plenty of Z cars since the 300ZX's production end in 2000, but no Turbo Zs. Until now. . . sort of.
For SEMA this year, Nissan created Project Clubsport 23, a track-ready 370Z that, like the 300ZX Twin Turbo, is powered by a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6. Sadly, it's only a one-off, though Nissan strongly suggests that many of the parts that make it up will be made available for purchase.
Project Clubsport 23's VR30DDTT V6 comes from the Infiniti Q50 and Q60 and serves up 400 horsepower, 50 more horsepower than the naturally aspirated 3.7-liter V6 in the 370Z Nismo. In the Q50 and Q60 this engine is paired to a seven-speed automatic, but here, it's bolted up to the six-speed manual that's standard in the 370Z Nismo. This transmission presented problems for Nissan, since the Infiniti 3.0-liter twin-turbo has never been offered with a manual of any kind. Maryland Nissan shop developed a new clutch disc and flywheel for the job, and Nissan worked on the programming side to make sure the engine and transmission actually worked together.
The other modifications weren't so complicated. There's a new exhaust system with exits through the bumper, a cold-air intake, a blow-off valve, and lots of upgraded cooling components. The braking system consists of Z1 Motorsports slotted rotors, and pads and stainless-steel lines from Nismo. As for suspension, there are stiffening braces from Nismo KW coilovers and Eibach springs. The wheels are 18x8.5-inch Rays flow-formed alloys, while the 285-section tires come from Hankook.
There are a lot of visual mods, too, including lots of carbon fiber exterior components and a wonderful orange paint job. Inside, there are Recaro bucket seats with diamond-stitched leather that pays tribute to the pattern seen on the original Z car, the Datsun 240Z.
In a press release, Nissan said it "may offer a 'builder's kit' that consists of hard parts and electrical components to assist customers with building their own ultimate track Z car" if there's sufficient interest. A Nissan rep confirmed to us that the engine and the hardware necessary for installation won't be made available, though. This is a cool engine to see in a new Z, but it doesn't really make sense for tuners, since there are tons of turbo and supercharger kits for the 370Z that promise greater horsepower gains.
So, this isn't the new Turbo Z so many of us hoped for, but it's still cool. And who knows? Maybe this engine will make its way into . We can dream.