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50th Anniversary Nissan GT-R and Nissan Z: First Look

  • The 2020 model year marks the 50th anniversary of both the Nissan GT-R and the Nissan Z car.

  • Nissan is marking the occasion with special editions of both performance cars.

  • The 50th-anniversary upgrades are mostly aesthetic, but the GT-R gets some slight performance tweaks for 2020.

2019 is a big year for Nissan performance cars. The very first Nissan Z car, which was marketed in the U.S. as the Datsun 240Z, made its American debut in New York a half-century ago. In the same year, the very first Nissan Skyline GT-R was released, which was forbidden fruit in the States for decades, but we now have in the form of the GT-R standalone model. To celebrate the golden anniversary of this iconic sports car duo, Nissan is building commemorative 50th-anniversary editions of both cars.

A Z by Any Other Name

The Nissan Z car has had a lot of different names over the years around the world. Whether you know it as the Nissan Fairlady Z, the Nissan Z or the variously numbered Datsun Z cars, the same blood pumps through their veins as an iconic performance coupe with a history of strong performance, stunning good looks and excellent value. In its current form of the Nissan 370Z, the car holds true to its roots of being a fun performance car at an affordable price point with a look that’s aging nicely, despite its design now being more than a decade old.

Celebrating the car’s 50th anniversary is an appearance package inspired by the #46 BRE (Brock Racing Enterprises) Datsun 240Z, which is legendary for its multiple SCCA National Championships helping to vault the Z car into the spotlight. This livery appears on the 370Z with a wide stripe spanning the top of the car and two diagonal stripes on either side. One of our favorite details is the laurel wreath around the Z emblems. This look can be had in either red/white or black/silver.

On the inside, the 50th anniversary 370Z has a special Alcantara-wrapped steering wheel, special 50th-anniversary leather-trimmed seats with unique stitching, 4-way power heated seats, Bose premium audio, and 50th anniversary badging on the tachometer, shifter base plate, and kick plates.

The 370Z 50th-anniversary edition is based on the Sport trim of the 370Z. Under the hood is the same 3.7-liter V6 that powers every other 370Z with 332 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. It can be had with either a close-ratio 6-speed manual transmission of a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters. 

Godzilla: King of the Monsters

The Nissan GT-R, which is endearingly and appropriately nicknamed “Godzilla,” is a famously refined and well-balanced sports car delivering incredible performance from its twin-turbo V6 and all-wheel drive. There are three special liveries available for the 50th-anniversary edition of the GT-R, which are inspired by the old Skyline GT-Rs that competed in the Japan GP series. There’s blue with white stripes, white with red stripes, and silver with white stripes all of which give a nice, retro-inspired touch to the decidedly modern-looking GT-R.

The GT-R 50th-anniversary edition comes with a special gray interior with unique trim on the steering wheel and shift knob, an Alcantara headliner, special embossed seats, and more. Inside, you’ll find all the refinement you’d expect of a premium sports car like this.

Some slight mechanical revisions have been made to the 2020 Nissan GT-R to make it more efficient and more responsive. The 3.8-liter twin-turbo V6 under the hood, which makes 565 hp and 467 lb-ft of torque in the Premium model, has new turbochargers that make it more responsive at low rpm and tighter clearances result in 5% better efficiency. The turbo flange attachment points on the exhaust manifolds have also been revised for easier servicing and tuning.

Both of these cars are nice nods to their racing heritage while offering modern performance and amenities. If you like the idea of a little retro flair on your modern sports car, keep an eye out for these special edition cars at your local Nissan dealer. Find a Nissan 370Z for sale or Find a Nissan GT-R For sale

Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt
Eric Brandt is an author specializing in Oversteer content, new car reviews, and finding the best car, truck, and SUV deals each month. Born and raised in Wisconsin, Eric can often be found exploring the north woods on his 1983 Honda Gold Wing when the weather allows it. Father of four, husband of one, and unapologetic minivan enthusiast. Eric mastered driving stick by having a 3-cylinder Chevy... Read More about Eric Brandt

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