Thursday, November 5, 2020


This is not what I would call either a beautiful, or iconic example of car design.

Clearly, Nissan’s Director of Design, Alfonso Alibaisa, wants us to believe it reflects the styling cachet of the original 240Z – and maybe in some of the cues it does remind us of that initial design – but as for being a classic interpretation of current trends and classic throwbacks, I think this car fails every test.

First, as you look at the car head-on the squared-off grille is just simply ugly and pedestrian. As for the rest of the car, it depends on what angle you look at it.

There are elements of design simplicity mated to contemporary execution – however, for me, it doesn’t really work on exciting me to lust for the car.


However, I should allow Alfonso the opportunity to talk about where he was coming from, and how that led to the final design statement.


“This one is definitely where the 300 comes in. Jun Shimizu was the head of design of that year [of Nissan 300ZX], and he very much had this dream that modern manufacturing was going to create this seamless, perfectly flushed, and integrated car, and it did. The 300 was so inspiring to me.


It was my first trip to Japan and I walked into the studio and I saw the 300.

I literally packed up my pencils and I wanted to go home crying because I couldn't believe that a car can be so dreamlike—simple, and still take your breath away.


So, Tai-san  [Satoru Tai, Nissan executive design director, below] and I really wanted to revisit this sense of seamlessness.

Satoru Tai - Director, Nissan Exterior Design

The mood of the car; we want the audience, the buyers, the lovers, to feel this seamlessness and [say], "Wow, how did they get this car to come together so cleanly?" but still be an homage to the 240.


So these ideas, they're not in opposition, but at the end, this is why this design was selected as our desire because it mixed tomorrow with our love of memory.”


Although, exterior design was led by a very enthusiastic Satoru Tai, enthusiasm doesn’t always relate to success.

It’s new and different, but it’s not distinctive, and I think I can name a few European designers who would have relished a ‘go’ at re-imagining the iconic Nissan coupe.


It is much more workmanlike design, than automotive art. By now Alfonso has probably listed me for being ‘rubbed-out’, but a threat to be extinguished by Mexico’s most-feared gangs does not change my view of this example of car design.


Paul Gover

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