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Z32 300ZX in Pop Culture: Gran Turismo

 This post is the beginning of a Blaster Z Blog Series about the appearance of Z32 300ZX in digital media and pop culture. 

Episode 1: Gran Tursimo

Gran Turismo was released for the Playstation console December 23, 1997.  Titled as "The Real Driving Simulator" for many of my generation this was our first taste of driving and modifying beautiful sportcars from around the world. In the days before everything could be googled, the descriptions of the vehicles featured in the game was somewhat an encyclopedia of general sports car knowledge. 1990s era video game featuring sports cars would not be complete without our beloved Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. In the first two installments of the game the 300ZX was offered as Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX Version S TwinTurbo 2 seater (Z32) '94" and Nissan Fairlady Z 300ZX Version S 2by2 (Z32) '94 offered in street trim and racing livery. 

The Car as described in GT1:

"The Fairlady Z has always been very popular in America as well as in Japan. The current car was launched in 1989. The line-up basically consists of a two-seater and a two-by-two, with a convertible added to the range in 1992. Power is delivered by a 3.0-litre V6 DOHC twin-turbo, and its NA version. Both original bodies can take either engine, although the convertible only accepts the NA version. The top model is the twin-turbo engine model. The 3.0-litre V6 VG30DETT engine uses twin-turbo to produce 280 PS and 39.6 kgm, while the NA 3.0-litre V6 VG30DE engine offers 230 PS and 27.8 kgm. Eight years on from its debut, the Fairlady's actual driving potential has slipped, but the twin-turbo model offers thrills only found in a turbo rear-wheel drive, while the NA version provides a well-balanced ride."

Gran Turismo 2:

Gran Tursimo 2 offered 2 Z32 cars, first being the Nissan 300ZX 2 seater (Z32) '98, this car would be available for the remainder of the series with it being added to Gran Turismo Sport in 2018. Also available only for GT2 was a Nissan 300ZX-GTS GT (JGTC) '97 which was powered by a turbocharged VH45DE.


Gran Turismo 3:A-Spec: 98' Jspec 2 Seater Slicktop

Gran Turismo 4-6

Gran Turismo 4 offered a Nissan 300ZX 2seater (Z32) '89 coming in Slicktop Trim. This model was available in GT4, 5, and 6. 

 Nissan 300ZX description as it appeared in GT4,GT5,GT5:

"Transformed with a new, wide body, the 4th generation Z became a global market sportscar."

The Z32 appearing in 1989 was the first complete transformation for the Fairlady Z. It came in a wide, flat body, turning 180 degrees from the narrow, long body designs that lasted 3 generations. It was a size for a global sports car, not restricted by the size classes of the Japanese market.

Its steering characteristics were changed drastically. As soon as the steering is turned, the nose slices into the corner, and the wide tread gave it a high level of potential. This Z opened new doors as a cornering machine, while maintaining its performance as a GT. Again, the Z dropped European thoroughbreds into a hole of despair.

At the heart of this car was a compact V6 with a low center of gravity. Even though it is an FR, it was a given a front midship layout with the engine located as far back as possible, to make the front/rear weight distribution close to 50:50. Aiming for the global market, the engine size was fixed at 3L, and producing 227 HP in the NA, and 276 HP in the twin turbo, its performance decorated the end of the 20th century. Its suspension used advanced designs as well, and even features like an ABS that does not transfer shock to the brake pedal, were things that went beyond the usual standards of the time.

In 1992, a convertible model was added to the lineup, and was greatly welcomed in its main market of California.

But the Z32 had an unfortunate fate. The economy slumped in Japan, and Nissan faced a major reconstruction plan. Because of this the Z came to a pause for the first time in its 31 year history. It then entered into a blank period of 3 years, until the ingenious Carlos Ghosn became the president of the company, and announced the return of the Z."

(Holy Cow, that last paragraph did not age well!)



 Gran Turismo Sport:

 As part of Update 1.28, released on September 26, 2018. The 300ZX was offered for Gran Turismo Sport. 



The next episodes will dig in to other games of the 90s and early 2000s. Let me know your favorites in the comments.

Below is a video showing the evolution of the Z32 throughout the series:

For more information on the Gran Turismo Video Game Series, I recommend the  Gran Turismo Wiki

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