My second car and my entrance to the world of sports cars was a Nissan 300ZX in 2010. I loved that car, but I destroyed it. This is my story.
I’d been looking for something to replace my N13 Pulsar for a while. I wanted a Nissan EXA (still do!), but I couldn’t find a good one, and while I searched my available income increased. I looked at 3rd gen Preludes, I graduated to the 4th gen, and by the time I hit 5th gen I had enough for the cream of the crop: the Z32.
We have rules in Australia that stop people from driving powerful cars when they’re young. I couldn’t drive a turbo or V8 anything, which starts to make the Z32 look like one of the best cars someone like me could drive. It looks great, it’s got a high-revving V6, the glass t-tops, the luxury, the RWD, the size, the excess. It was perfect.
The one I ended up purchasing was very nice. Condition was fantastic, price was right, it was Australian-delivered, the color was beautiful and rare (though I never properly appreciated it - I thought it was like a white that looked dirty all the time), and it had leather seats taken from a later model.
The car had an effect on me. I’d never driven something so intimidating, so awesome. The drive home from Geelong through the city was a nerve-wracking experience. I never really drove it hard, and for the first few months I was reluctant to overtake people as I felt I was still easing into the car. It sounds silly now, but imagine how you’d feel if you purchased a V12 Lamborghini, you’d be scared to push it too hard lest it bite back and destroy your bank account. With my modest income, and driving experience little more than mother’s Commodore and my old Pulsar, little me had that same feeling that I was driving something better than myself.
I loved that car. I washed it, polished it, babied it, took countless photos of it. But alas, it was not to last.
One fateful day in 2012 I was driving to work through a sweet twisty section of road nearby. It had been raining, but most of the road was dry except for where the trees sheltered it. I was stuck behind a car and couldn’t have much fun through the corners, so I decided to hang back a little and do one hard pull out of the tightest corner on the road to satisfy my urges.
I slowed, grabbed 2nd gear, accelerated hard. I liked the shove the car gave in 2nd. But I was right in the top-end of the gear where all the power lives, the road was deceptively damp and I still had the steering wheel turned for the last bit of the corner. The car kicked sideways, in my shock I didn’t even counter-steer, though it happened so fast. I spun nearly 180 degrees before the front-right fender hit a tree, hard. My head hit the b-pillar hard enough to draw blood. But I was fine, the car was not.
The next few minutes are remarkably clear in my memory. I walked around picking up pieces of my car off the road and swearing. I called my friend, who turned up in his Evo 6 TME and set off its flare. I called emergency services. I was questioned by the police. I left with my pride shattered.
I’ve never felt the same way about a car. I had a few more Zs later, I drove them harder to fill the void in my heart, I never had that same feeling of something being better than I could handle. But on the flipside, I drive my cars harder, and I know now both how to prevent a car getting sideways and what to do when it happens. It also opened me up to a world of wrenching myself, something I never did on the first Z, which lead to me joining the local 300ZX club and going on many cruises.
I made this tribute to the car, it lives in my bedroom. It features the 3 keys for the car (red valet which doesn’t open glove box or t-tops, black master, titanium master which are no longer available as blanks), the Z32 logo keyring and a piece of the actual paint off my car.
Lastly, a dump of photos of the car. Tell me it’s not the best looking Z32 you’ve ever seen! It makes red/black/silver cars look like shit, as well as anything remotely riced.