When Nissan brought the new Z to last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon, it teased the world with a one-off wearing a distinctive mug. This was the Z Customized Proto, with flared arches, orange-and-black paint and, most notably, a grille evoking the rare, homologation-special Fairlady Z432R. Some fans begged Nissan to bring the car to market, as an alternative to the stock Z’s polarizing grin. The automaker kept quiet on the topic for a year, but at last weekend’s 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, it relayed some good news: the split-nose design will be available as a dealer-installed option, per Japanese Nostalgic Car.
In Japan, anyway. Jalopnik has reached out to Nissan USA to ask about the prospects of it coming West, and we’ll update this story with whatever we learn. The brand unveiled an updated version of last year’s Customized Proto — now called the Customized Edition — on the show floor, and it maintains pretty much all the best characteristics from the earlier concept, like the splash of black on the hood, sill graphics and, most of all, those timeless Watanabe-style rims.
Personally I never had a problem with the grille design of either the original Z Proto or the production car, but as it’s overly simplistic and pretty straight-edged, I can understand how it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The Z432R-inspired design looks good too, and gives a little more retro flair to a car that is all about heritage. Plus, more choice is never a bad thing.
The Aston Martin Vantage equipped with the “Vane” grille, at left, and the “Hunter” grille, right.Image: Aston Martin
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The decision to offer a different front-end design reminds me of what Aston Martin did with the grille on its Vantage. There was the original, motorsports-inspired “Hunter” design with its prominent lip around the upper end of the grille, but that looked a little too conspicuous on the less track-focused versions of the sports car. Eventually the brand rolled out the “Vane” grille as an alternative, with its classic netting available in silver or full black. If I were speccing out a touring-minded Vantage, it’s the one I’d go for.
So yes, more factory-supported face swaps, please. Of course, there’s one Z look that we haven’t seen yet — that of the long-awaited Nismo version.