RE: Nissan 350Z GT-S: PH Heroes

RE: Nissan 350Z GT-S: PH Heroes

Thursday 21st December 2017

Nissan 350Z GT-S: PH Heroes

Remember when global carmakers still publicly revelled in the silliness that resulted from letting its engineers work late?



Calling 2006 a more innocent time might be stretching it a wee bit, but when you consider the background of the one-off Nissan 350Z GT-S it's rather easy to become wistful for a year when the word Twitter applied almost exclusively to starlings. The manufacturer's UK division - home to the European Technical Centre at Cranfield - had tweaked the Z-car for effect before, although this was typically been limited to the use of add-on bits that Nissan (or more specifically, NISMO) made itself.


For that year's Goodwood Festival of Speed though, mostly at the press office's bidding, the firm sent half-a-dozen engineers into full skunk works mode (or, as they did it in Bedfordshire in their spare time, backroom boy mode is probably a more fitting description). The stated objective was a 'Club Special' variant of the 350Z - one which could be used for a commute to work and still dress itself down for the weekend.

The result was the installation of a single-stage, radial flow supercharger; nestled so close to the 3.5-litre V6 that Cranfield didn't even have to adjust the bonnet line. The blower - supplied by Swiss-based manufacturer, Novidem - when allied with a recoded ECU, supplied a 25 per cent hike in the 350Z's output: making 300hp into 383hp, and 260lb ft into 313lb ft. Both figures eclipse the contemporary Porsche 911 Carrera S.


But the really cool bit - the bit that earns the GT-S PH Hero status - is saved for the inside. Rather than simply having the supercharger decouple via an electrically-operated clutch when not required, Nissan took the whole split personality thing to the next level by installing a home-made on/off button just next to the gear lever. Cue the instant gratification of every adolescent fantasy built on the groaning, dusty charisma of Max Rockatansky's Pursuit Special.

Of course, being a centrifugal compressor, the GT-S's supercharger doesn't whine - but there's still a distant psssshh as the belt and blower come to life, especially if you hit the Novidem button when the V6 is already at middling revs. This you will frequently find yourself doing because a) time has not been tremendously kind to the car's naturally-aspirated delivery and b) the extra vim of its forced induction is downright moreish.


While the Kompressor can be heard noisily pirouetting at the top of every cog, it's impossible to mistake its involvement with 4.5 bar of boost pressure gusting through the internals. Naturally, the V6's torque curve flattens, but it's the rousing and progressive whoosh towards higher engine speeds that best exemplifies the GT-S's heavyweight charm - that and the noticeably greater speed suddenly being delivered by the forged matt bronze RAYS wheels.

This is sufficiently plentiful in fact to arguably make the switch redundant. But then you'd never have the fun of switching it on or the lengthy build-up where you deliberately abstain, as though you too were attempting to save precious fuel to go beyond the Thunderdome. For Nissan's part, the supercharger was favoured for its resistance to lag; the turbochargers of 2006 deemed too tricky to drive on the limit.

'Hairy-chested' was the metaphor commonly chosen to describe the 350Z's handling, and while the GT-S sports a reworked version of the standard multi-link suspension and wider tyres, the description still paints an appropriate picture. Over a decade on, it can be cheerily extended to the rest of the car, too: the clutch and manual six-speed gearbox (apparently unchanged from standard) are roughly as substantial as a hammer and anvil, and therefore not out of kilter with the decidedly old-school hydraulic steering rack.


Nevertheless, the car feels assured on its Bilstein dampers, and its physicality is all part of the GT-S fun; blended as it is with the racy soundtrack being coaxed by a silencer-bypassing valve from a revamped exhaust. Sadly, the wider world never got to sample the supercharged 350Z and its idiosyncratic button - Nissan rolled it out triumphantly for the Festival of Speed and then rolled it back into cotton wool at Cranfield immediately afterwards.

Its one-of-a-kind status means that it will remain a mere footnote in the Z-car history scroll, but that doesn't prevent us from saluting its fleeting existence; if anything it amplifies it. And the GT-S's salient lesson has hardly been forgotten: accessing massively more grunt at the flick of a cabin-mounted switch remains peculiarly satisfying - and as the age of the petrol-electric hybrid looms ever larger on the horizon, that prospect might just be prominent in the silver lining.


SPECIFICATION - NISSAN 350Z GT-S

Engine: 3,498cc, V6 supercharged
Transmission: six-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 383@6,850rpm
Torque (lb ft): 313@5,130rpm
0-62mph: 4.8sec
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
Weight: 1,549kg
MPG: 24.1
CO2: 280g/km
On sale: 2003-2009
Price new: £29,500
Price now: standard 350Z £4,495-£12,300

Inspired? Buy a Nissan 350Z here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author
Discussion

diddy_p

Original Poster:

19 posts

170 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
i love it all, except for the rear bumper/numberplate (I prefer the original numberplate location).

those were the days when the z car went toe to toe with M3s and the like... sure the GTR is great (a bit long in the tooth though)... what are nissan up to these days?

blade7

7,994 posts

149 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
'4.5 bar of boost' are you sure?

Nanook

32,356 posts

120 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
blade7 said:
'4.5 bar of boost' are you sure?
Seems like someone has their units mixed up. I'm assuming 4.5lbf/in^2

liner33

7,161 posts

135 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Thought I knew my 350z's but never heard of this conversion



I had a Stillen Supercharger kit on my 370z and they are a lot more fun with boost




coldel

1,473 posts

79 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
There have been dozens of supercharged/turbo conversions done the the 350z by owners over the years, plenty of kits out there to work with too made up specifically for the car i.e. Stillen. Doesn't really make it that much of a one off nowadays unfortunately!
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liner33

7,161 posts

135 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
coldel said:
There have been dozens of supercharged/turbo conversions done the the 350z by owners over the years, plenty of kits out there to work with too made up specifically for the car i.e. Stillen. Doesn't really make it that much of a one off nowadays unfortunately!
How many have you heard with this Novidem kit ?

coldel

1,473 posts

79 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Pretty sure I have read about a few in the US (you might have to google it it was a few years back) but to be frank there are some pretty good proven SC conversion kits out there from more well known brands - not making 4.5bar of boost though... ;-)

Alias218

722 posts

95 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
4.5bar seems a tad strong. As Nanook said, more like 4.5psi. Wouldn't want more than that through a stock block anyway (which this presumably has).

Liner33 - how much boost were you putting out? I've always fancied supercharging my 350 but don't fancy it on a stock block (or at least stock compression) so much.

ReverendCounter

3,417 posts

109 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
I can't work out if those first two paragraphs are pretty pointless or actually appalling.

blade7

7,994 posts

149 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Alias218 said:
4.5bar seems a tad strong.
laugh 0.45bar more like. Who writes this stuff?

suffolk009

3,847 posts

98 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
These cars never really caught my attention when new - but I'm spending more time learning about them now.

BTW - Wikipedia tells me Twitter was founded in March 2006.

Nanook

32,356 posts

120 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
blade7 said:
laugh 0.45bar more like. Who writes this stuff?
I can't remember the last time I read a PH article that didn't have at least a typo, or some more obvious factual nonsense gone wrong.

Get someone to proof read your stuff guys, it's not difficult, and it doesn't take long.

coldel

1,473 posts

79 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
A sorted one now is a great bargain. £5k-£7k gets you an older one, not bad for a V6 two seat GT car.

Nanook

32,356 posts

120 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
coldel said:
A sorted one now is a great bargain. £5k-£7k gets you an older one, not bad for a V6 two seat GT car.
I spent 7 on mine nearly 2 years ago. I've since spent another £3k+ on it, but I'm a fussy bugger, wheel refurb, clutch, couple of big services, gear oil, dif oil, all the fluids etc. a new soft top, a few tyres etc.

Also, plugs!

What a tramp of a job that is, worse than an Impreza!

Edited by Nanook on Thursday 21st December 13:29

Alias218

722 posts

95 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Nanook said:
coldel said:
A sorted one now is a great bargain. £5k-£7k gets you an older one, not bad for a V6 two seat GT car.
I spent 7 on mine nearly 2 years ago. I've since spent another £3k+ on it, but I'm a fussy bugger, wheel refurb, clutch, couple of big services, gear oil, dif oil, all the fluids etc. a new soft top, a few tyres etc.
£10,300 for mine 4 years ago. Mines one of the first HRs (June '07). Looking at the classifieds it probably hasn't lost too much either! It's been nothing but reliable. Love it to pieces.

996GT3_Matt

85 posts

137 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
The 350z is a really solid all-rounder, if you’re prepared to look beyond the Nissan badge and naff interior. I enjoyed 4 years with my Kuro black GT which never let me down.

Quick summary;

The 3.5 V6 is not the most charismatic engine to rev out, but a simple panel filter and exhaust can see this right. I was highly impressed with Berk's high flow cats which free up a useful amount of power, without sacrificing too much torque or causing CEL issues.
An Abbey Motorsport remap does not appear to be very impressive on paper, but it transforms the car. Money well spent.
Unless you intend to go forced induction I would stop spending money on the engine at this point – my car made 299bhp in this state of tune.

The suspension is better suited to touring in stock form, but a simple spring and anti-roll bar switch (try the Hotchkiss kit form Adam at Z-store) will transform the chassis. The car was flat and composed on circuit once upgraded, but still plenty supple enough to enjoy on backroads. That said I would imagine that the majority of cars are now due a suspension refresh to some varying degrees.

Road noise can be decreased by fitting the deeper pile boot carpet.

With some carefully chosen modifications you can have a brawny, naturally aspirated RWD coupe with no sport mode, exhaust mode or suspension faff – just a great twist and go mini muscle car.

MPG would average 22-26 depending on driving conditions. As for the extremes; 7mpg at Bedford GT. 53mpg at 50mph with the cruise on.

Just look at the rear wheel arches… lovely and surely a future classic.

chow pan toon

11,035 posts

170 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
I paid £9.5k for my 2008 HR 3 years ago. I'm in the tricky position of not really knowing what to replace it with. I don't need 4 seats so no M3/C63 but to get a decent step up in performance I'm looking at mid 20s for a 911 or similar which although I can afford it seems a bit strong. Maybe I will just mod this one...

ZX10R NIN

11,578 posts

58 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Everyday is a school day I'd never heard of this car.


High Roller

58 posts

106 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
I have owned a 2006 Rev-up for 7 years and seem to have experienced most of the 350Z's "known issues", such as the failed boot struts / control arm bushings / differential bushings. All now fixed and am currently trying out a SMF (the jury is out on that one!) Lovely car and despite the aforementioned issues (I'm sure a couple of track days have contributed to these) it's been very reliable. I paid £13,400 for it in 2009 so depreciation works out at about only £1K a year!

hughcam

326 posts

98 months

Thursday 21st December 2017
quotequote all
Very interesting car however on a separate note I can't get on with the authors writing style.

Too much drivel.



Edited by hughcam on Thursday 21st December 15:18