Car News:  Oversteer

The Nissan 300ZX Convertible Was a Weird 1990s Japanese Sports Car

RELATED READING
See all Nissan 300ZX articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2018

The 1990s Japanese-sports-car boom was a time we all loved, partly because there was so much cool stuff to choose from: the Nissan 300ZX, the Subaru SVX, the Acura NSX, the Toyota Supra, the Mitsubishi 3000GT, the Mazda RX-7 and even some ancillary models like "Si" versions of Hondas, the Nissan 240SX and the Acura Integra Type-R. These cars also had a few especially weird variations.

One of the weirdest variations was the Nissan 300ZX Convertible, which was sold from 1993 to 1996. The 300ZX Coupe came out for the 1990 model year, and Nissan apparently thought a convertible was so important that it spent three years in development before being released to the buying public -- who promptly ignored it.

Admittedly, it wasn't that surprising that they did it. Although convertible sports cars seem to belong in the higher-end domain today, back in the 1990s most sports cars had convertible variants -- including the Mitsubishi 3000GT, a top competitor to the 300ZX, which had a fully retractable power hardtop. But it wasn't just the 3000GT: The Toyota Supra and the Acura NSX both had removable roof panels, suggesting that many 1990s sports-car buyers wanted to drive around with the wind in their hair.

The weird thing about the 300ZX, though, was the styling. It looked like a normal 300ZX, except there was a massive fixed roll bar beneath the cloth soft top. The roll bar fulfilled several purposes: safety in case of a rollover, anchor points for the seat belts and structural rigidity to mimic the rigid feel of the coupe.

As mentioned, the 300ZX was largely unpopular -- partially because of this unusual styling detail, partially because of a general downturn in convertible popularity -- and it was canceled along with the rest of the 300ZX lineup after the 1996 model year. Every so often, I see one on the road and I'm mesmerized by the "forgotten" 300ZX.

MORE FROM OVERSTEER:
Video | Here's Why I've Already Spent $28,000 On My 2005 Ford GT
This Chrysler PT Cruiser Looks Like a London Taxi
Autotrader Find: Never-Titled 1997 Plymouth Prowler With Matching Prowler Trailer

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
The Nissan 300ZX Convertible Was a Weird 1990s Japanese Sports Car - Autotrader