POTENTIAL. The Nissan 370Z has potential in spades and while the standard car has a playful rear-drive chassis, imagine what it could do with a modern turbocharged lump.
Nissan clearly agreed and as a one-off for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, it has built the Project Clubsport 23, which it bills as "a vehicle that owners could duplicate themselves using Nissan Motorsports or aftermarket parts."
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Originally a 253kW 370Z Nismo, the show car is wrapped in pumpkin orange, and gets a carbonfibre front splitter, a deeper front air dam, and a carbonfibre bonnet with flush racing latches. There’s more carbon for the mirror shells and a modified rear bumper and foglights. Throw in a set of RAYS cast aluminium 18-inch wheels and it’s enough to bring the still-handsome shape up to date.
It’s under the bonnet where the big development is though. Nissan has plumbed in the 3.0-litre twin-turbo VR30DDT V6 from the Infiniti Q50 Red Sport, giving us a tantalising glimpse of what the showroom 370Z could have become had Nissan not shut the taps on its development budget. This means power climbs to 295kW in stock tune, with plenty of potential for more.
The intriguing technical aspect of this vehicle is that the 3.0-litre hasn’t ever been paired with a manual ‘box before. In conjunction with MA Motorsports, Nissan has developed a custom clutch disc, pressure plate, and flywheel assembly, making it all mate to a Nismo GT Pro-Carbon two-way limited-slip differential and MA Motorsports differential cooler. Clever stuff, and it’s fair to say that this is something I don’t think I could duplicate myself.
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Suspension, cooling, steering and braking have also come in for some attention, while the interior gets a roll-cage and 240Z-homage diamond quilted vinyl.
In order to assist those that are a little more ham-fisted in the garage, Nissan is assessing customer interest at SEMA with a view to developing a kit form of the upgrades. Thus far, it’s fair to say this one has really lit a fire under Nissan fans.
What’s more, the 3.0-litre turbo engine seems a logical next step for any putative 370Z upgrade ahead of its eventual replacement, lowering emissions and giving the 370Z additional buyer appeal in its twilight years.