Goodbye 350Z. Hello Future


By @autobusiness

Last week, after 25 months of driving and 41 months of ownership, I sold the Silverstone Silver Chrome Nissan 350Z (H/T to commenter Confused!). It was my first sports car.

It wasn’t particularly pre-meditated but nor did I ever, not even once, imagine I’d keep it indefinitely.

So off it went. I won’t be replacing the 350Z with anything else. It’ll just be the ever-steady Mazda Protege5 filling schedule gaps between test cars. I’ll miss having a pitch-perfect benchmark in the CarEnvy Garage, but owning a car that’s driven 10 times a year is a lunatic luxury for a 26-year-old. Even this one. A local Sheriff who commutes 100km each day will be introducing the Zee (Zed?), which had only 78,000km at the time of sale, to its first winter.

So how was the overall ownership experience?

Except for maybe the Mazda RX-8 I drove earlier this summer, there’s simply no way to have more fun, more reliably for under C$15,000. (If you can think of one, drop me a line). As an owner who prizes value above all else, that’s the highest compliment I can give. Overall, I was very content with the ownership experience and with the transactions that bookended it.

Looking back, the highlight of my time with the Z was probably two years ago when I made a 1,100km road trip to Invermere BC for a weekend of golf. I drove by myself both ways, accompanied only by the open road and, briefly, a friendly hitchhiker. The 350Z was truly in its element on the open highway. With tall gearing and torque for days, the Z slurped down those miles like a lemonade on a hot day. Like in any relationship, where she was happiest, I was happiest too. In the city, the Z was never quite comfortable. It just rode too firmly. But on the highway…

Now that I’m good and misty-eyed, let’s turn our gaze towards the level of material indulgence I’ve actually enjoyed over the last 41 months and the economic dent the 350Z made. The following costs are near-enough approximations:

  1. Depreciation: C$5,350
  2. Insurance: C$1,500
  3. Gas: C$2,500
  4. Maintenance: C$4,500 (tires, brakes, rim repair, more tires…)

Total cost of ownership over 23,000km was C$13,850 or $0.62/km. On a monthly basis, that’s C$337/mo of ownership but C$554/mo of driving. Running a brand-new Ford Focus Titanium Hatchback (that you could actually drive year-round) would be about as costly. That might not be an informative comparison, but it’s an interesting perspective nonetheless.

Having recently driven her successor, the far spendier Nissan 370Z, I’ll give myself-at-age-22 some credit for the original purchase. I can honestly say that I would rather own a 350Z than a 370. As brilliant as SynchroRev is, and it’s exceptional, the longer wheelbase of the more senior model imbues it with greater stability and the driver with more confidence. While the 350Z’s on your side if you’re brave enough to finesse its considerable mass through the bends, the smaller, lighter 370Z can’t settle down under pressure (even Chris Harris agrees). Yes, both cars are ultimately grand tourers in the vein of the original 240Z but the 3.5L model maintains more of the driver’s edge. That the 370Z is thrice-as-costly and less classically beautiful just makes the choice between the two that much easier.

What does the future hold? I still think a Fiat 500 would be ideal for my lifestyle so I’ll see if the P5 (and my impulses) can wait until they’re sub-C$10k on the used market. That’s assuming they maintain some measure of reliability too… Honda Preludes also hold some appeal, but I hear they get stolen a lot. Really though, thanks to the privilege that are manufacturer-provided test cars, there’s no rush.

Besides, there’s still a wedding next summer, a few more trips upcoming, and it never hurts to have some cash on hand should an investment opportunity arise. Sense, it seems, has prevailed.

Goodbye 350Z. Hello…?


[Photo credits: author]