To mark the 25th anniversary of the Nissan Z car in the 1995 model year,the automaker enlisted 1994 International Motor Sports Association GTSchampion and custom car impresario Steve Millen to come up with a specialedition Z.Millen came up with a car with so much raw power, with such nimble andlimber maneuvering that the logical question is, Where was Millen 25 yearsago? Millen gave the 3-liter, twin turbocharged, 6-cylinder engine a 65-h.p.infusion to 365 jolting h.p. How quick is it? If you travel the toll road, from the time you pay your40-cent tithe, you'll probably still be in 4th gear when you have to reachinto your pocket or purse for 40 cents for the next booth. And that's only aslight exaggeration. Raw, but smooth, power. A no-lag, no-hesitation turbo boost that propelsyou forward with no bucking or jerking or notchiness from the 5-speed manual. A smooth clutch that doesn't have to be hammered into the floor board toallow you into the next gear. This 5-speed has the manners of an automatic. The 17-inch wheels upfront and 18-inch wheels in back keep you sitting flatand straight even when the pavement isn't. Millen also tweaked the suspension,adding larger diameter sway bars and stiffer spring rates. Despite the power,the brakes bring you down from your high as smoothly as the accelerator liftsyou there. Perhaps the only complaint is the massive rear deck wing, somewhat similarto the Porsche whaletale. It looks great and it helps hold you to the road athigh speed, but when backing out of that tight parking spot, it's like tryingto see around a whale. It would be easy to bruise your collector piece gettingout of the parking lot. One other problem. The brake/ gas pedals are drilled metal that aresupposed to provide a non-slip surface. However, they are so large and soclose to each other you can hit both at the same time. Drivers with AAA shoeswill have less of a problem than those with EEEs. Only 300 Millen SMZs will be built through December. Base price of the300ZX turbo is $41,409. The SMZ upgrade runs $13,500 and includes deck wing,front spoiler, side skirts and louvered panel between the headlamps. In addition to the styling and mechanical goodies, the package includes aserialized console plaque and SMZ embroidered jacket. For details on where to locate an SMZ, call a Nissan dealer or Millen at714-545-2742. You may have a hard time finding one because most dealers saveshowroom space for Altimas and Maximas and not $55,000 SMZs.
|Jim Mateja||chicagotribune.com||September 10, 1995|
|Larry Printz||The Morning Call and Mcall.com||June 10, 1995|
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