Presented by Centric Parts and its StopTech performance and racing division

January 25, 2011

Is the Nissan 350Z an Instant Classic?

We spotted this segment on YouTube featuring a 2003 350Z with StopTech brakes...

The host asks if the 350Z is an "instant classic" or not. It's a good question. The Z line from Nissan is the world's most popular sports car of all time.

That doesn't make it a classic. N*Sync was at the top of the charts once too, though we doubt they will ever qualify as a classic, let alone be considered an instant one. So what is it about the Nissan 350Z that has sparked the "instant classic" debate?

For one, the 350Z is groundbreaking on the performance-for-your-dollar front. Though the car came in several flavors (i.e. enthusiast, touring, track, roadster), all options each year has the same engine. Coming in on the bottom rung got you the same nail-biting cornering ability, zippy acceleration and commendable top speed. That bottom rung was under $30k.

Tuners instantly fell in love with it. For a fair price they got a blank canvas to work with under which beat the heart of a very track capable car. Drifters (as in drivers, not wandering homeless people) also adopted the Nissan 350Z as their car of choice.

Like, arguably, all prior iterations of the Nissan Z, the 350Z does have a look that seems likely to turn heads and inspire emotions beyond its years. Think about it. When a well maintained 300ZX drives by, it still fits into the modern aesthetic of performance sports cars, yet that car is pushing 20 years.

These points make a strong case for giving the Nissan 350Z instant classic status.

StopTech is particularly fond of the 350Z, even if only for business reasons. "We sold, and still do, a lot of brakes for the early Nissan 350Zs," notes Pat McCleish, Centric Parts primary mechanic. "People burned through those OE brakes pretty quickly and wanted more stopping power."

The company offers many options for the 350Z across its divisions. Centric Parts branded components make great OE replacements. Power Slot offers rotors that provide an immediate upgrade on a fair budget. StopTech also weighs in with a wide range of ultra-performance options including full-blown racing Big Brake Kits.

One of this blog's authors has a Z. It's a yellow 2005 Nissan 350Z Roadster with the Touring package. Amazingly, it only has 16k miles on it. However it already was up for new brakes. He kept the OE calipers for now but dropped in Power Slot Enhanced Brake Rotors with StopTech Street Performance brake pads and is reporting a huge improvement in stopping power.

Another friend of StopTech, Cheston, also tools around with a 350Z. StopTech featured the story of that Nissan in this installment of their Brake Decisions video series...