Having just topped up the tank with 75 euros worth of premium for the last time, my travel companion turned to me and said, “I’m really going to miss this Z.”
“How the hell am I going to fit a giant suitcase I can barely lift into the limited cargo hold under the 370’s hatchback?”So was I.
Past experience has shown me that after the successful completion of an epic road trip like this, the chosen chariot will secure itself a permanent – and very special – place in the driver’s heart and memory. The car has been there with us through all of it, challenges and rewards, and ultimately got us to where we needed to be.
When that machine is something special to begin with, like this 370Z – Nissan’s enduring two-seat sports car – the odds are even better that the road trip will be a memorable one. And when said road trip takes place over 3,000 km of French (and Spanish) countryside, nothing short of catastrophe would prevent “our” Z from endearing itself to us.
Nine days earlier, flight-weary from an airborne hop over the Atlantic, we are handed the keys to this gleaming metallic black cherry 370Z from Nissan’s French headquarters in a suburb of Paris. The first real challenge of our journey sits at our feet right next to the Z.
“How the hell am I going to fit a giant suitcase I can barely lift into the limited cargo hold under the 370’s hatchback?”
Anticipating the Nissan being able to haul little more than ass, my girlfriend and I elected to share a single suitcase, stuffing it till it bulged and could only be lifted with a mighty heave and considerable grunting. As penance for selecting an impractical car, I was permitted enough suitcase space to pack a bathing suit and little else. Now, seeing the wheeled, nylon behemoth parked beside the Z, I envision needing either a trailer hitch or having to unzip and empty the carefully packed contents of the case into the cubbies and crevices in the Z’s trunk; leaving our personal items on display for all the good people of France to witness.
As a first stroke of luck for our trip, the suitcase fits under the glass, albeit after removing the privacy cover and squashing the end of the case nearest the back of the car. Whew. No souvenirs for us, I guess.
Doing a local tour? ZCon 2016: The International Z Car Convention Heads North
Off we go, travelling only a short distance to nearby Versailles where we’re immediately struck by the reality of navigating a car in an ancient place where the roadways were created (and scaled) long before automobiles were imagined. The 370Z is in no way a large car, but the underground parking garage presents enough twists and turns (and strangely placed concrete pillars) that a few multi-point corrections are required to navigate safely.
What’s more, the Z has extremely limited rear three-quarter visibility and those voluptuous “hips” known as rear fenders cause me to sweat the 370’s gorgeous forged Rays wheels every time parallel parking is required.