x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Top 5: Fastest and most fun Datsuns and Nissans

When at the top of its game, Nissan has few peers. Here are five of our all-time favourite fast cars from the Japanese marque.

Nissan Silvia CSP311.
Nissan Silvia CSP311.

Nissan Silvia CSP311

Widely recognised as its first proper sports car, this was also known as the Datsun Coupé 1500 and it was unveiled at the 1964 Tokyo Motor Show. So good looking it could have been designed by the Italian design studios, it was also highly complicated to build, having hand-beaten body panels that made each one unique and extremely expensive. With a twin-cam 1.6L engine and a low kerb weight, it provided a template for many of Nissan's more recent performance models and today it's highly sought after.

Datsun 240Z

We're seeing increasing numbers of these cars, dating from 1969 to 1978, on UAE roads - hardly surprising as it's one of the coolest, best looking Japanese cars ever made. The 240 in its nomenclature showed that it was a 2.4L straight six and there was 151hp on tap, but creamy engine aside, it was the styling that got (and still gets) everyone frothing at the mouth. As the years went by, the Z got bigger and more bloated, losing much of its appeal, but the dainty original will always be a Far East classic.

Nissan 300ZX

Internally codenamed Z32 to differentiate it from its appalling forebear, the Z was back with a bang in 1989. Another great looking car, the 300ZX also brought proper performance to the brand, with twin turbochargers boosting the 3.0L V6 to 300hp, even before the tuners got their grubby mitts on it. It was so good that the world's motoring press reckoned that if it had a Ferrari Prancing Horse badge on its nose, nobody would be any the wiser. There's not many around these days but surely its time will come.

Nissan 350Z

In 2002, after a three-year hiatus, the Z-car was once again in the limelight in the form of the 350. It had shrunk to a more sporting size, with short overhangs and a cutting-edge profile that was at once beautiful and unmistakably Japanese. Build quality was vastly improved and the 3.5L V6 engine was a dream. The 350Z won worldwide plaudits for its handling, performance and value for money, and it still represents an excellent buy. It's just tricky finding an unmodified one in the UAE.

Nissan GT-R

While models like the 350Z could tempt owners away from their Porsche Boxsters, the GT-R roared into view in 2007 and offered a genuine, half-price alternative to the mighty 911 Turbo. Possibly the performance bargain of the century, the GT-R has heritage aplenty, coming from a long line of mental Skyline models. It's a science lab on wheels and with it Nissan established itself as one of the true greats, offering neck-breaking acceleration, a top end of 314kph and permanent four-wheel drive. An undisputed classic.