Nissan is bursting at the seams to celebrate the iconic Z sports car's birthday. The car is nearing 50 years old, but that birthday won't actually happen until 2019. That's not stopping Nissan from a "happy birthday" Heritage Edition of the 2018 350Z Coupe, and it's not stopping it from launching that model in Spring 2017. Who doesn't like an extended birthday celebration?
A 50th anniversary would usually inspire us to go into a little bit of history of the car brand or model, but Nissan prompted us to do just that for the Z seven years ago when it rolled out the 40th Anniversary Edition. History hasn't changed since then, so we'll just give a quick nod to what might be the coolest Z of them all – the 1971 Safari Rally Z below – and jump right to the newest member of the Z family.
The Heritage Edition will be based on the 2018 370Z Coupe, which will include modest updates like a new Exedy high-performance clutch on manual transmission models, new front and rear light treatments, smoke chrome door handles and a new rear fascia paint scheme.
You'll notice the Chicane Yellow paint and black highlights look kind of like the 1969 Fairlady Z (pictured below). The Heritage Edition's side-view mirrors aren't set forward on the hood but they are black, as are the stripes and custom graphics. Alternatively, buyers can choose Magnetic Black paint with silver exterior accents. Both color schemes include yellow interior trim, which should jolt a drowsy driver awake on its own – no fancy alertness-monitoring system needed.
"Over the past five decades there have been a number of special Z trim packages that have added a sense of customization straight off the showroom floor," says Michael Bunce, Nissan North America's vice president of product planning. "The new 2018 370Z Heritage Edition honors that tradition, blending it with the modern design and performance of the 2018 370Z. We're pleased to be debuting the new Heritage Edition in New York, one of the top Z markets from the very beginning."
The Heritage Edition will be offered on the base-level 2018 370Z Coupe. It will rely on the standard 332-hp 3.7-liter V6 engine with choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic transmission.
So, to boil it down: Here's a couple of paint options, some graphics and a little yella around the interior – thanks for 50 great years, Z! It really feels like they phoned it in for the big 5-0. At least drop in a token 5 extra horsepower or something.
But Nissan does still have two years until the Z's actual birthday, so maybe there's something better planned. We'd love to see a throwback concept car (or next-gen Z) that bears a little more resemblance to the sleek, compact lines of the 1969 car. The 2019 Tokyo Motor Show should be right around the time of year the original car launched, and the Z is more than ready for a new generation, so maybe?
For now, it's just the 370Z Heritage Edition, which will arrive at US dealerships in Spring 2017, along with other 2018 370Z models. The package will debut alongside the the GT-R Track Edition at the New York International Auto Show, which opens to the media on Wednesday, April 12.