A Nissan Z SUV concept will be presented next month at the 2023 Tokyo Auto Salon, but it wasn’t developed by Nissan. Instead, students at the Nissan Automobile Technical College in Japan created it.
The concept is called the Nissan Fairlady X, and was built by students learning how to repair crash damage and add modifications. Nissan’s technical college, which helps cultivate the next generation of automotive specialists, has five campuses, and the campuses in Aichi and Kyoto were involved in the Fairlady X project. The students also built a Serena minivan with styling borrowed from the Cedric sedan.
The Fairlady X concept is based on Nissan’s second-generation Murano crossover that debuted as a 2009 model, and integrates design elements borrowed from the latest 2023 Z sports car, known as the Fairlady in Japan.
The Murano was picked due to being similar in width to the Z. However, blending the low-slung Z’s styling with the high-riding Murano’s body proved to be a major challenge. Another major challenge was reducing panel gaps to a factory-like level.
Nissan itself has explored the sports car-SUV mashup with the Gripz concept from 2015. While the automaker doesn’t have any plans to put a vehicle like the Gripz or this Fairlady X into production, other automakers have started to offer sports cars with SUV-like capability. In the past month, Porsche unveiled its 911 Dakar and Lamborghini revealed the Huracán Sterrato.
The Tokyo Auto Salon is scheduled for Jan. 13-15. Nissan will have a diverse collection of concepts and production models on display, including the new Z fitted with official accessories the automaker plans to roll out shortly.