The new Nissan Z’s gaping grille is probably its most polarizing design trait. Judging from reactions when the car was initially unveiled, chances are you either love the simplicity of it, or are put off by the scale of that rectangular maw. Some of those particularly adept at Photoshop grafted a solution onto the front end — a crossbar, aping the classic Z cars and the way their chrome bumpers would bisect the large intake.
It just so happens that Nissan is unveiling the Japanese-market Fairlady Z at the Tokyo Auto Salon this weekend. Alongside the production cars, the manufacturer brought one called the “Customized Proto” to commemorate the moment. It has a crossbar, of sorts.
The way Nissan went about integrating it into the nose is pretty clever, too. Rather than bolt it over top, it composes part of a totally unique front bumper where the space below the upper part of the grille is more concave than the rest. I happen to like the way the production Z already looks, but I’m into this leaner, wider alternative too.
Fans will note the similarity between the Customized Proto and the classic Fairlady Z432R — a high-performance version of the old Z with the engine out of the venerable KPGC10 Skyline GT-R. Just like this concept, it had a two-tone orange-and-black color scheme, with black rims. That makes this rendition an attractive tribute, and with any luck it could represent a special edition of the upcoming coupe.
Unfortunately there’s nothing to suggest that quite yet. Nissan’s press release is clear that the Customized Proto is merely a one off, although you’d think there’s nothing stopping the company from releasing the relevant parts as a heritage kit and making a lot of money. The Customized Proto also carries fender flares and a slightly reworked rear bumper, along with split-tip exhausts.
If you weren’t a fan of the Z’s nose before, does this new take win you over? The more I look at both, the more I can’t decide which I’d rather have.