We’ve written a lot about both cars, particularly the 350Z and enjoy answering questions about these popular Japanese performance cars.
One of the most common questions we see asked is people wanting to know what the Z actually stands for on 350Z/370Z.
So, what is the meaning of the “Z”?
In this short edition of Car Facts (where we answer your automotive questions) we take a closer look.
The Last Word In Performance/Sports Cars
One of the most popular theories about the origin of “Z” on Nissan sports cars is that it is meant to represent the fact that Nissan is the “last word” (or in this case the “last letter”) when it comes to performance cars.
As we all know, Z is the last letter of the Latin alphabet.
As such, it is believed by many that the Z on Nissan’s Z-cars represents the “ultimate” nature of the car itself.
This theory does make sense, but our research doesn’t lead us to believe that it’s correct.
Z = Development Name
From what we can gather, the origin of the Z name is a bit more boring and mundane (as is often the way).
As you are probably aware, the Z-Car has been around for quite some time … it is basically a single sports car that has been produced over six (soon to be seven) generations since the late 1960s.
At the time of development of the first Z car, Teiichi Hara (head of design of the Z car at Nissan’s design department) gave the designation “Type Z” to the project because most of the other letters of the Roman/Latin alphabet had been used on previous projects.
This is where the Z comes from in 350Z/370Z – it is a throwback to the original Z Car.
For more information, make sure to read our short article on the meaning and origins of Nissan’s Fairlady name, which explains further the naming of Nissan sports cars and goes into more detail on this topic.