The Many Inspirations of the 2023 Nissan Z

The Many Inspirations of the 2023 Nissan Z

With the Nissan Z now falling into the hands of journalists and YouTubers to generate buzz around the forthcoming sports car, it is time we take a look at the car ourselves. Unfortunately, our press launch invite must have gotten lost in the mail, so we took the next best thing: seeing the Official Historic Sportscar Racing LLC.’s pace car!


We spotted this 2023 Nissan Z at The Mitty races at Road Atlanta the other weekend. The car has been in use as HSR’s official pace car and has done the work of guiding the likes of Sports 2000 cars and former IndyCars around U.S.-based motorsports venues. While the marshals were on a quick bathroom break, we snuck in to get a few close-up photos of the car, and here is what we saw.


In a dwindling market for sports cars, the Nissan Z, Toyota/Subaru 86/BRZ, Mazda Miata, and now the Toyota Supra are keystones of the affordable, 2-seat sports car market. Luckily for enthusiasts, all the above cars are available in a manual transmission (or will be soon), sometimes as standard depending on the model version.

This warms our tire-shredding hearts like no other. Seeing the Z in person was a special experience with its contemporary and dare we even say, timeless design. The outgoing Z features a very dramatic design, and while we appreciate it, the new car’s design will go a long way in terms of being considered one of the best-looking cars of all time. Designer Alfonso Albaisa cites the original Z and the 240Z G as being big influences on the 2023 model.


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A 240ZG pace car at the Fuji Masters 250km from the 1973 Grand Champion Series. (Via. A 240ZG pace car on a poster for the Japan Formula Junior Series in 1972. (Via.

The classic silhouette is there, but so are the subtle curves, headlight lighting designs, and trim design that the original Z is known for. Much of the debate online was that the grill was too big and imposing, looking like the USB port on the side of your laptop. However, this aspect of the car is much less pronounced than it originally was.

On the performance side of things, the new Z uses a 400-hp, Twin-Turbo 3.0L V6 engine and a RWD platform. If you do not favor the 6-speed manual transmission, Nissan offers the Z in a 9-speed automatic transmission. According to Nissan, the Z uses the same paddle shifter as the current Nissan GT-R. An interesting fact about the new Z is that the steering wheel was inspired by the R32 Nissan Skyline’s steering wheel. Albaisa noticed fewer people removed the OEM steering wheel from the R32 than they did in other GT-R models.



Nissan has gone with a circular daytime running light (DRL) shape to echo both their newly designed logo, and the Japan-only 240Z G. The 240Z G had clear headlight covers that smoothed out the area around the headlight, whereas the 240Z L had no headlight lens cover. According to a video overview of the car, the top half of the DRL is an amber turn signal.


Between those two DRLs is what appears to be a bi-LED projector headlight alongside another set of smaller LED projectors that serve as part of the high beam. Additionally, when the lights turn on, the DRL dims down.


The rear of the car features taillights inspired by the 90’s JDM icon, the 300ZX. While not as primitive as the 300ZX, the Z’s brake lights feature 3-Dimensional LED brake lights, with LED amber turn signals. The reverse lights are also LED. Notably, the open-wheel car brake light is missing from this model.

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Nissan has taken full advantage of LED technology here. We do wish that they had incorporated a sequential signal into the headlights and taillights, but that leaves room for brands like Morimoto and GTR Lighting to do their thing.


We are excited for the Nissan Z to get to people’s driveways. As with the 370Z, the new Z will be ripe for aftermarket support and customization. The design of the new car is striking and its place in the market holds a big weight of being one of the few manual, two-seat sportscars out there.

If you have any questions, be sure to drop us a comment or you can just say Hi! In the meantime, stay tuned to the Better Automotive Lighting Blog for your automotive lighting news and reviews. Check out our recent coverage on the leaked 2021 Bronco Morimoto LED headlight.

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