Few cars have had such a significant impact on the import performance scene as the 1990 Nissan 300 ZX. Overnight, the car went from a soft, mild-mannered boulevardier to a taut, tuned performer from the factory. Its clean, high-tech styling inside and out was cutting-edge at the time, and aged well until the model's untimely demise in 1996. The Z's arrival opened the doors for other Japanese exotics such as the Acura NSX, Mazda RX-7 twin-turbo, and the JZA80 Supra.
Whereas some cars flash onto the scene with a great deal of fanfare and fade into obscurity just as quickly, the enduring popularity of the '90-'96 Z is a testament to its sound engineering, durability, and lasting curbside appeal. Chris Ditty of Ft. Worth, Texas, fell head over heels for this Asian beauty. A former multiple-Mustang owner, the Z won him over to Nissan's precision engineering, prompting him to also buy a '95 240 SX treated to a Silvia makeover, and a '01 supercharged Frontier for those weekend trips to Home Depot or the lake.
This particular Z-car has led quite an eventful life. Previously painted a custom white pearl/purple paintjob, it appeared in numerous ads for Enkei Wheels and Stillen. After its first 15 minutes of fame, Chris decided the car was ready for an encore performance. To give the car its piquant new paintjob, he enlisted the expertise of Tommy Nguyen of Complete Auto Body in Arlington, Texas to re-paint the vehicle to its current head-turning Ferrari yellow. Up front, the Stillen GTZ-R front fascia adds an understated dose of authority, accentuated by the dual PIAA driving lights. Stillen side skirts continue the clean and mean theme.
Chris works as the marketing manager for Enkei; he wanted to showcase the biggest and best his company had to offer. To accommodate the steamroller-sized 295/30ZR-19 Pirelli P-Zero Asimmetrico rear rolling stock and flash the custom 19x10 Enkei Aegis three-piece wheels, the rear wheel wells were cut and widened. The work is so well integrated that it takes careful pointing-out and a trained eye to see the surgery. Around back, a Stillen rear valance was hand-blended into the bumper, and accented by Strosek Skyline-style taillights. The very trick-looking bi-plane rear wing comes from an unlikely source. It is a Saleen SR 351 wing, with the mounting points modified to fit snugly on the Z. Though it was meant for a Mustang, it couldn't look more at home on the Nissan.
The eye-catching exterior hue is carried over to the interior with a Katzkin two-tone Dark Graphite and Maize Yellow leather interior. But the main attraction on the inside is the competition-quality sound system. The system starts off with an Eclipse 5303 R head unit and 5961 six-disc in-dash CD changer, mixed by an Xtant P500 processor, pumped up by Xtant 301A and 302 amplifiers, and routed to the Xtant speakers and subs by Streetwires wiring. To surround the driver and passenger in sonic ecstasy, the door panels were custom-modified to accommodate dual 6-inch midrange speakers. Special thanks to Troy Gillette of Madison Heights, Mich. for bringing the audio madness to life. A Stillen carbon-fiber dash kits adds the finishing touch to the stylish interior.
The naturally aspirated engine is internally stock, but has been uncorked with the addition of a Stillen Hi-Flow intake, HKS Twin-Power ignition, Stillen ceramic-coated headers, X-pipe and rear mufflers. A Stillen short-throw shifter channels the power to the monster meats crouched under the wide rear fenders.
Though it might not be king of the quarter mile, the car is more than ready for the corners with Eibach Pro-Kit springs and Tokico five-way adjustable shocks at all four corners. Stillen front and rear anti-roll bars and adjustable front tension rods keep the attitude neutral around the curves. And if you come hot on the tail of a Winnebago coming around one of those curves, the 13.5-inch Stillen/AP six-piston front Big Brakes and rear cross-drilled sport rotors with Goodridge braided stainless lines will keep you from submarining under Fred and Mildred's prairie schooner.
Though a 12-year-old Z may qualify as old school in some people's books, the cleanliness of this execution is proof that even the seasoned veterans of the scene can make a comeback with a whole new attitude.
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