Remember This Glorious Nissan 300ZX Super Bowl Ad

Steven Symes
Remember This Glorious Nissan 300ZX Super Bowl Ad

A famous director was behind this dream-like sequence.

Before we cry over the current state of Nissan’s Z-Car, which has been in sad shape for about two decades, it’s best to remember the good times. One of the best of those times was this 1990 Super Bowl commercial called “Dreamer.” It successfully portrayed the Nissan 300ZX as a kind of crazy-advanced spaceship on wheels instead of just a car. Take a look.

Car and Driver said back in 1989 the “300ZX is, quite simply, one of the most alluring cars to appear on the U.S. market in years.” Dare anyone say it was like something out of a dream? Nissan capitalizes on that feeling with this memorable commercial and it works so very well.

Obviously, the 300ZX couldn’t outrun an F1 racer or a jet fighter, but that hyperbole in the ad did communicate that the Japanese sports car was not to be trifled with. After all, it pretty decimated any American muscle cars from the time and a fair amount of European performance vehicles. You might not like that fact, but the Z32 was a performance powerhouse when it debuted in 1989.

Of course, at the center of the potent performance, as mentioned in the Super Bowl ad is the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6 DOHC engine (some came with the naturally-aspirated version, but twin turbos are so much more fun). This paired with an advanced chassis with features like four-wheel multilink suspension, super HICAS, 4-piston aluminum caliper disc brakes, and even the short front overhang for better handling.

What most people don’t know about this commercial was Ridley Scott, the science fiction legend, directed it. That explains the unique flavor it immediately establishes, all without the aid of CGI.

As is too often the case, especially today, a bunch of pearl-clutching advertising watchdogs set about to cancel this commercial. They argued it was encouraging the youths to drive fast by glorifying speeding, especially with that jump at the end. Nissan pulled the commercial but thanks to the internet we have it lovingly preserved to corrupt future generations.

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