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Interview with Randy Rodriguez, designer of the Nissan 370Z (video)

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The new Nissan 370Z has some old design cues, some new styling tricks, and plenty of excitement. Justin Pritchard spoke to Randy Rodriguez, the Z-car nut responsible for the new 370Z's design. Here are some excerpts from his video interview, which was filmed at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto.

2009 Nissan 370Z

JP:
Randy, the new car looks great. What have you done to it?

RR: Well, the whole car is new. We were asked to do a 'super-evolution' of the 350Z. The original was a great design, so we wanted to do something even better: take the best cues from it, and push them even further. I wanted to blend a bit of the first generation 240Z and last-generation 350Z together to make a more dynamic, emotional and powerful statement.

The new Z is more ferocious and stronger. The new car is smaller, which is unusual. It's shorter, wider and lower now, too-- more of a true sports car.

JP: So, what's remained from the 350Z?

RR: The 350Z had a great stance about it. The wheel forms were pronounced and it was very seductive. I pushed this one even further to make it look more 'race car'-- with bigger fenders, a stronger stance, and more passionate, emotive details.

JP: How long did it take you to actually come up with this, from the time you started?

RR: I have been drawing Z's my whole life, and done hundreds or even thousands of sketches. When this program started, I just went to work cranking out sketches and filling out sketchbooks with tons of different designs.

This is the one that felt pretty natural. I thought this is what the car should really be. From there, I developed it further and thought of all the new details. My first sketches were done about 4 years ago, so seeing the 370Z on the road now is sort of a delayed gratification. It's a total dream come true.

JP: Was there anything you wanted to put in the design of this car that you couldn't?

RR: We were able to get a design that pretty much looked like the sketch. The final work on this car was completed by designers in Japan, who kept the original theme and just improved and refined it, and made some improvements. I'm really happy with the car.

2006 Nissan 350Z