By on October 22, 2018

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, LH rear view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

These days, I find many discarded Nissan Z-Cars from the 280Z through 300ZX eras, with the occasional 240Z or 260Z thrown in to add variety. 350Zs, though, have retained sufficient value to evade the high-inventory-turnover self-service yards where I get most of my Junkyard Finds… until now. Just as BMW Z3s and Mazda RX-8s began showing up in these yards a couple of years back, the 350Z’s time in the U-Wrench-It yards has come.

Here’s the first (but not the last) of the 350Zs to appear in my local U-Pull-&-Pay yard in Denver.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, front view - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsAll the front body components have been removed, and I can’t tell if we’re looking at a crash victim with bent components removed for repairs that never happened or a huge score for a 350Z-owning junkyard shopper. The airbags aren’t deployed, but that doesn’t rule out a crashed-into-while-parked scenario.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, Paul Walker sticker - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe 350Z’s tiny quarter window is just the right size for a Paul Walker memorial sticker.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, interior - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe ’03 350Z got 287 horsepower out of its VQ35 engine. Like nearly all cars that are 100 times more fun with a manual transmission, this one has an automatic.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, baseball cap - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThis car’s final owner appears to have been a local hockey fan.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, emblem - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsBefore bargain-crazed junkyard shoppers went all Z-Car Black Friday on this Nissan, the interior was pretty nice. Once I start seeing more of these cars in places like this, I’ll have a better sense of what dooms them to this fate.

2003 Nissan 350Z in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsThe VQ family of Nissan V6s went into so many cars and trucks from the factory (and can be swapped into plenty of vehicles never so equipped) that a high-output example like this ought to attract some junkyard buyers. I didn’t look underneath for connecting rods dangling through raggedy oil-pan holes, but that sort of problem may be the reason this engine is still here.


Words fail.


The Japanese-market counterpart to that commercial gets more into Nissan history.


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38 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2003 Nissan 350Z Coupe...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Well, the “coupe” part of Nissan 350Z Coupe is still there

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    It’s disheartening to see so many junkyard cars with trunklids pried open. Since inside trunk lid releases have been common for over 20 years and the cars presumably were delivered with keys, why so many broken-into trunks?

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      I had a 350Z… I don’t think it had an interior trunk release; it was only electronic.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        sportyaccordy, I have a 2007, and there’s a hatch release under the stiffening crossbar thing. I haven’t actually used it, but as DeMuro would say, it’s there.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        Huh… really? I thought the glow-in-the-dark Jimmy Hoffa/little kid locked in trunk playing hide and seek releases were universal from around 2000 and on. I don’t know if it was a legislative thing or not, I just assumed all of the brands just started doing it for whatever reason. But as you say, maybe not.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      A disheartening percentage of self-serve junkyard pickers just don’t care about the next guy. Anything that is between them and the part they need gets destroyed with no consideration, even if it’d be quicker and easier to disassemble it the correct way.

      In fairness though, for most cars, trunk poppers have all been electronic for some time now and it’s really hard to get to the internal mechanical release unless you’re already locked in the trunk (and impossible if it doesn’t have folding rear seat backs.

      My current headscratcher is back seats cushions. Twice I’ve been looking for rear seats and nearly everyone of them is pried up and bent beyond usability – I must have found dozens like that. In both cars there were simple releases for the lower cushion that is much less work and much faster than prying up the corners but I guess fumbling around for the release is too much of a risky time investment for them. I assume they’re looking for lost coins, forgotten drugs or other contraband that people apparently must stash under rear seats to make it worth the time and effort and $2 entry fee to look for.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “Paul Walker memorial sticker.”

    why?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      He was handsome and he was in “She’s all That”.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      CAUSE THE BUSTER KEPT ME OUT OF HANDCUFFS! He didn’t just run back to the fort! The “buster” brought me back!

      • 0 avatar
        cimarron typeR

        because he’s a fan of “precision driving”. All fairness I tend to enjoy his movies, and reportedly a really good dude.Shouldn’t have went out like that. Gotta check the age of the tires before any one goes out in a 500hp car.

        • 0 avatar
          rev0lver

          A really good dude who happened to have an appetite for underaged girls.
          Yeah, stand-up bro.

        • 0 avatar
          sgtjmack

          Or simply slow the F down.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Tire age is a factor but it’s ridiculous to use that as any sort of excuse. Traction on street surfaces can vary dramatically regardless of tire condition.

          The driver simply ran out of talent trying to show off for his friend while driving an unforgiving car in an unforgiving setting. He may have been an excellent driver but he didn’t have enough respect for the consequences of a mistake in that situation.

    • 0 avatar
      sgtjmack

      Because he was an awesome guy that died too soon.

      • 0 avatar
        rev0lver

        He was a man in his 30s who dated 16 year old girls. He had a daughter the same age as his girlfriend when he died.

        If you think he was an awesome guy then you have a seriously warped sense of right and wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          sgtjmack

          While I do not condone pedophilia, I do have a little insight to this. Jasmine was 23 when Paul died. Meadow was only 15. Big difference.
          Yes, Paul and Jasmine met when she was only 16, but they didn’t start dating until later, and who says they were physical before she was 18?

          As far as Aubrianna Atwell, the same goes there. If there was something going on, do you think her father would have allowed it, and admired Paul as much as he did?

          You can read into anything you want to, but think about it from both sides before you judge people or speak about it.
          I can tell you from personal experience that when I was in my early 30’s, I was dating a young lady that told me she was 19, and so did her sister, aunt and cousin. She messed up on her actual 18th birthday, a little under 2 years after we started dating. I guess I should have asked for her birth certificate. No, I’m not saying these two incidents are similar, because I wasn’t with Paul when he met either of these women. But I can say, things happen.

          • 0 avatar
            rev0lver

            Things happen? Well I guess that’s a justification….

            I tend not to look at things from the side of potential pedos, just a bias of mine I guess.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            You need to look up the definition of pedophilia. It applies to prepubescent children. Like those who call everybody Nazis and fascists, you’re watering down the term. It should remain something horrible rather than becoming something questionable. It’s only in very recent times that 16-year-old girls have been considered children.

            Now, I do have trouble imagining how I could relate to a 16-year-old girl, and with the extended period of adolescence in western culture I think very few would benefit from relationships with considerably older men. But it’s not impossible.

            I don’t know much about Paul Walker but I don’t think Casey Stoner did anything wrong. Adriana appears to be living her dream with him and I’m sure her family doesn’t think he has a warped sense of right and wrong.

  • avatar
    sgtjmack

    Counter to popular belief, airbags don’t always deploy on heat on collissions, even though that is what the manufacturer leads us to believe. As I’ve said several times before, I have seen cars with severe collisions and the airbags did not deploy, and I have seen cars barely tap another vehicle in a parking lot and seen the air bags deployed, be it the side curtain or even the front bags. There isn’t really any science behind the sensors. If they get the ‘appropriate’ vibration, they send the signal.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Unless you have A Chevy Colorado ZR2, then the airbags are guaranteed to go off on your next bouncy road jaunt.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My wife’s car is almost finished in the body shop from me rear-ending someone and although it caused about $10K in damage to her vehicle, her airbags did not go off.

      • 0 avatar
        sgtjmack

        I know, I work in a body shop. I see this sort of stuff all the time.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The amount of visible damage has nothing to do with it. Good bet your bumper went under most of the crash structure of the vehicle in front of you. That pretty much guarantees a high repair cost as mostly sheetmetal took the brunt of the impact. That also means the firewall crash sensor did not “see” a high enough g force to tell the ECM to deploy the airbags, even though the front sensor gave a “deploy” command.

  • avatar

    A close friend drove her car into a curb at about five miles an hour.The airbag deployed and she sustained a broken neck.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    I never liked the styling of the 350Z. Not only does it have fat hips, the top of the window line on the doors looks awkward.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I once sat in a 350Z at a dealer. It was comfortable for my 6’2” self but I thought the interior furnishings particular the gauge cluster very much from the Carlos Ghosn bean counter.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I wonder why the video from “The run” commercial on intro of 350z wasn’t linked, it was a pretty high end production that was very well shot (in Eastern Europe iirc)

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Heh, one of my friends bought one of these when they first came out and after we got back from deployment. Come to think of it, another one of my friends also bought one within a year.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    I am thinking this car was impound lot fodder, it was probably pretty clean when rolled into the wrecking yard. They make great candidates for LS swaps as they make kits that allow everything to bolt right up, including the Nissan manual trans and even the exhaust. Sloppy mechanics is doing a supercharged 5.3L G35 6-speed right now. I liked his crazy turbo LS Fairmonts but look at what you get with one of these right off the bat. Handling, disc brakes, bucket seats, good options etc.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Not sure if I get the LS 350z swap, 2 seat LS V8s already exist in a cheap platform, the used Corvette. Especially because the 350z was never really considered a lightweight

  • avatar
    bkrell

    That Paul Walker sticker though….

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Heh. It’s sorta ricer meets redneck. A lot of folks in the Deep South sure love their rolling memorial window stickers (which to me, seems like a strange way to honor your late friends, family, and people you admire/NASCAR drivers, but it doesn’t do any harm and it’s a free country, so…).


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