2009 Nissan 370Z Touring: Not for Touring
May 26, 2009
Had some business over the Memorial Day weekend with motorsport photographer Jesse Alexander at his studio up in Carpenteria and it turned out the 2009 Nissan 370Z was my ride of choice.
We looked over some pictures he'd taken of the very Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that won the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans. After its racing days were done, it was rebodied as a street car and Alexander drove it on the street in Europe as he drove to racing circuit to racing circuit, taking some now-famous pictures of racing.
Not a bad way to spend a morning, especially as we ate lunch down the street at Sly's. James Sly is pretty famous in his own right, a French-trained chef who cooked for a CART Indy-car team during the days of glamorous hospitality at the Indy 500 in the early 1990s. At the same time, he also wrote pretty insightful stuff as the technical editor of a small magazine devoted to European cars. Now his steakhouse in Carpenteria is where everybody in Santa Barbara who knows anything about cars comes to eat. Some of Jesse Alexander's most famous images hang on the walls.
But for all this stroking around with notable ex-racing guys, the 370Z didn't prove to be the right ride. Sure, I really get the Z-car and even spent Saturday morning looking at the Nissan 350Z that Steve Mitchell drives in the Redline Time Attack series, a high-tech piece with a 580-hp Cosworth-built Nissan V6 that's probably the fastest Z-car in America. But the 370Z proved to be just terrible on the freeway to Santa Barbara. About 90 minutes of driving at a time proved to be as much as I could stand.
It's the tire roar. It's bad enough when you're driving on asphalt, but the grooved concrete of freeways in Southern California really makes this car a penalty box on any kind of real trip. And it's not the tires themselves; it's the lack of acoustic refinement from the car. It makes the 370Z seem like a cross between a dump truck and a National Guard Humvee. As near as I can remember it, the 350Z was a whisper-quiet limousine in comparison.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor @ 6,650 miles