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By: Matthew Doucette
(For all cars, visit Xona Games' Cars.)
Stock: black, 2006 Nissan 350Z (Fairlady Z, Z33), built on Nissan FM platform, base trim, no spoiler, 18" rims, 2 seater, 6-speed manual transmission, 3.5L (210 cu in) naturally aspirated V6 engine, 7,000 rpm redline, 8,000 rpm tachometer, 155mph (250 kph) top speed limiter, or ~170mph (~275 kph) without.
This equates to a power-to-weight ratio gain equivalent to 311.6 hp (+11.6 hp).
More technically, the stock 2006 engine is a VQ35DE 3.5 L (210 cu in) V6, 300 hp (224 kW; 304 PS) at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb·ft (353 N·m) at 4,800 rpm. The engine is an improvement over the 2003..05 version which produced 287 hp and 274 lb·ft of torque. Even though the peak torque is lower (260 vs. 274), it is flatter and performs better.
The rims are 18", not 19". The smaller profile of the car gives the look of a larger rim. For example 19" rims on a 2013 Ford Mustang may be in proportion to 18" rims on a 350Z. There are only two seats, it is not a 2+2. (Check out the Infiniti G35 coupe for a 2+2 "version" of the 350Z.) When you look inside a 350Z, you can see there's no room for even the smallest of seats to make a 2+2.
I specifically sought out a 350Z, considering a G35 as a backup plan. When it was all said and done, I considered ten different 350Z's over the course of months. I test drove four (two 2003, two 2006) and put two on the hoist (one 2003, one 2006) before making a decision. The year 2006 was the year I wanted most, due to its relation to the 35th anniversary model and minor fixes from previous years. The 2006 happened to be the best car. I originally wanted black, then light gray, and then had to settle on the black. I still believe the light gray to be the most sporty color.
Modifications / Upgrades / Weight Reduction:
List of modifications:
*Pictures of these mods below.
This totals to a 3,268.8 lbs and 305 hp . A savings of 70.2 lbs and a gain of 5 hp, which equates to a power-to-weight ratio gain equivalent to 311.6 hp.
More on weight reduction: It is interesting that I actually shaved 122.4 lbs off my car, not 70.2 lbs, but I also added ~35.2 lbs with my stereo and did not count 17.0 lbs weight savings from removal of my personal 'junk'. Removing personal junk still counts, as most people have junk in their cars. However, I cannot honestly say I lightened my car 17.0 lbs when I was the cause of the extra weight in the first place.
My ultimate goal, not including a 440 hp (352 lb/ft) Vortech Supercharger, is to shave 300 lbs (can it be done?) and bump the horsepower to 320 hp (via intake/exhaust), giving the same power to weight ratio as 350 hp.
More to come!
Stock, all 350Z's are electronically limited to 155mph (250 kph), but if disabled is capable of a top speed of 165..175 mph (266..282 kph), likely about 170 mph (274 kph). Here is a video of a stock "350Z HR" going 172mph (277kph), with the speed limiter removed:
The "350Z HR" in the video above is a 306hp VQ35HR (HR = high rev) 2007..08 model. It has 6 hp more than a stock 2006 model, or about 1 hp more than mine.
Personal Top Speed:
I have driven it to 138 mph (222 kph) in a safe and closed course condition (always), as measured by the digital speedometer. I was nearing the end of the fifth gear. It was a smooth ride and there was still power left and a sixth gear to move into. The sixth gear is a racing gear, unlike cruising sixth gears found in some sports cars such as the C5 Corvettes where their top speed is obtained in the fifth gear, and their best fuel effeciency is found in the sixth gear.
2005 35th Anniversary Edition vs. 2006:
The 2006 model is special, as mid-2005 Nissan produced a 35th anniversary edition, to which only the 2006 model maintained some of its features. So any 2006 model is quite unique. The new features included an updated engine, bi-xenon projectors, a revised front fascia, new LED rear lights, and changes to the interior trim.
Infiniti G35 Coupe:
2003..06 vs. 2007..08 Hood Designs:
The 2007..2008 model featured a different hood design (see above and below), that was looped, instead of the two straight lines found on the 2003..2006 models which I prefer. The new hood design was required for additional engine room.
Maintenance & Up Keep:
It has never seen a winter or salted roads, which any Canadian will tell you can destroy your car. It looks new outside, inside, and underneath. It looks more new, in fact, than brand new cars on Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada car lots that do not escape our winters.
Personalized Vanity Plate:
I'm looking to get a vanity plate that says "XONA" or "XONACOM", but not sure which yet. One shows off our xona.com address but might be misread as a full word "Xonacom" and the other is more true to our Xona Games name and looks more unique with less letters, but does not inspire one to check out our website:
(License plates generated by ACME License Maker.)
Update: just ordered the XONA plate. I figured I didn't want my car being an ad, even though it was cool to be able to fit our xona.com web address within a license plate. Here are some pics:
All these pics were taken at Short Beach, Nova Scotia, Canada:
Some pics of the interior:
The price was $46,198 in 2006, which is $53,658.81 CAD in 2015 dollars considering inflation.
Here's the details and sources:
The base retail price of a new 2006 Nissan 350Z was $46,198 - $53,698 CAD. In 2014 dollars, it would be $53,658.81 - $62,370.03 CAD (according to Bank of Canada on September 8th, 2015). My car, the "Performance Coupe" model, would be at the lower end of that range, $53,117.15 CAD.
2006 Nissan 350Z
Weight Reduction #1:
So I decided to get into weight reduction. Here's the details. I took out all the "junk" in my car, anything unnecessary:
I left my insurance paper and vehicle permit, two pieces of paper! That's the only things left in my car!
The savings were 59.6 lbs (42.6 lbs from stock parts, 17.0 lbs from personal 'junk'). This is the same power to weight gain as having an extra 5.5 hp. Enough to notice. Counting only the savings from stock parts, 42.6 lbs, it is the same power to weight gain as 3.9 hp and brings my curb weight down from a slightly heavy 3,339.0 lbs to a more respectable 3,296.4 lbs.
P.S. I have two aftermarket 8" subs in my car, which add weight. I have addressed this added weight in my overall weight calculations.
Weight Reduction #2:
An easy way to shave weight is to drop unneeded fluids. The two main ones that stand out are a half tank of gas and windshield washer fluid. For now, I just cut the gas. A half tank of gas saves 60.7 lbs, based on 91 octane fuel weight and a 20.0 gallon tank. Of course this varies, but if you make sure to never go above half, you have at least this savings.
Check out the 350Z-TECH Weight Reduction Guide for more tips.
Weight Reduction #3 (Failed):
There's talk on 350Z forums of a rear hatch counter weight that can be removed. Unlike the forum title, it does not weight 12 lbs. More like 2.5 lbs. It generally exists on 350Z's without spoilers, to make up for the lost spoiler weight. I have no spoiler, but when I looked I also had no rear hatch counter weight. Nothing to remove!
Why bother saving 2.5 lbs? I actually want to remove the rear wipers, motor, and wiring too. That's why I was messing in the trunk to begin with. Eventually I will do that if I can find these parts locally:
Performance Upgrade #1:
My PowerAdder air filter, pictured below, broke on me! So I had to replace it.
This adds about 5 hp, for 305 hp total.
Lake Doucette Street Car Challenge:
I tracked my car at various Lake Doucette Street Car Challenge events. It is an event I co-founded which allows people to test their street cars on the Lake Doucette Motor Speedway track.
Breakdown of my lap times:
Check out my post mortem of the first time I tracked my car.
More Pics (2014-NOV-20):
Storing the 350Z at the Yarmouth International Airport for winter.
Blog entry: 350Z: Winter Storage.
More Pics (2015-DEC-14):
Putting the 350Z away for winter storage at the Yarmouth International Airport. There was a late winter this year in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Blog entry: 350Z: Late Winter Storage.
More to come!
About the Author: I am Matthew Doucette of Xona Games, an award-winning indie game studio that I founded with my twin brother. We make intensified arcade-style retro games. Our business, our games, our technology, and we as competitive gamers have won prestigious awards and received worldwide press. Our business has won $180,000 in contests. Our games have ranked from #1 in Canada to #1 in Japan, have become #1 best sellers in multiple countries, have won game contests, and have held 3 of the top 5 rated spots in Japan of all Xbox LIVE indie games. Our game engines have been awarded for technical excellence. And we, the developers, have placed #1 in competitive gaming competitions -- relating to the games we make. Read about our story, our awards, our games, and view our blog.
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