In 1984 Nissan Motors produced 75,351 of its all new 300ZX for the United States market. Of these Z cars 5,148 limited-edition 300ZX Turbos were badged to honor Nissan's 50th Anniversary. An additional 300 vehicles were destined for the Canadian market. This Z came with no options except for a 4 speed automatic transmission. The cost of this Z ($26,000) was very pricy for the time.
The AE drivetrain and standard features were the same as the standard 84 turbo but the package included many extras. This consisted of two-tone silver metallic over black paint (color code #365), ground effects, rocker-panel appliqués, fender flares and turbo-finned 16” wheels with Pirelli P7 tires. Stiffer springs by 10% along with a stiffer recalibration of the adjustable shocks were said to have improved high speed stability.
Interior features included black leather upholstery with special gold-embossed AE emblems and full digital electronic instrument display. The AM/FM 80-watt, 8 speaker stereo with steering wheel control also featured a Bodysonic sound system. Just turn the knob and the seats vibrate to the beat of the stereo.
A car cover, floor mats and a gold key with the 50th logo also were standard features.
Exterior features included a T-Bar roof with mirror-glazed panels and bronze tinted windows. Triple gold pin striping along with gold turbo graphics and AE fender emblems top off this unique 300ZX Turbo package.
Power was supplied by a Turbocharged 3.0-liter (SOHC) 60-degree v6. This generated 200 HP @ 5200 rpm and 227 ft. lbs of torque @ 3600 rpm. The gear box is a 5-speed overdrive manual (4-speed automatic optional) and the final drive ratio is 3.545 This power plant was able to produce 0-60 in the low 7 second range and 1/4 mile times and speeds at 15.4 sec. @ 88 mph. Top speed is limited to 137 mph. Speeds in the 140+ mph range could be reached with the limiter disconnected.
Z Car & Classic Datsun Magazine picked the AE a sure bet for collector car status. I hope this info can be used as a quick reference for those of you interested in this limited edition package.
Important Note: Many Datsun/Nissan dealerships in 1984 attached AE badges (which were found in the glove box of most non anniversary edition 1984 models) to non-AE 300ZX's. These Z's were sold as, and to this day are being passed off as AE's. If your Z does not have the color scheme and features mentioned on this site you don't own a real AE.
Question: How can I be absolutely certain the car is a true 50th AE?
1) Open hood.
2) Identify Model plate on driver's strut tower.
3) Look at line that contains MODEL information.
4) Scan line for “L5”. If the line doesn't have “L5” in it, the car is not a true 50th Anniversary Edition.
There are only 6 possible combination of letters for this line for the North American 50th AEs. They are:
KHLZ31XT(N or V or U)GL5W
KHLZ31XAT(N or V or U)GL5W
If it isn't one of these numbers, it isn't a North American AE. The “N” is for Canadian models. The “V” is for Californian models. The “U” is for the other United States models. The “A” is for automatics.
What sets the 50th AE apart from any other 1984 300ZX Turbo?
These items could be found on non-AE vehicles as well.
Rumor: Only 5000 of these special cars were made.
Fact: According to the Nissan FAST software, there were 5,148 50th AE's designated for US sales. See the registry. There are approximately 300 models that were also bound for Canada. This would bring the total North American market 50th AEs to 5,448.
Rumor: The 50th AE's have a badge in their glovebox stating their number.
Fact: No US 50th AE came with this badge, only in Canada did they come with it.
Rumor: Only 1500 of these cars are said to exist.
Fact: This is a total guess by people who are trying to drive the value of their cars up. Truth is, NO ONE KNOWS how many of these cars are still around. Even after someone determines the VIN numbers for all of the 50th AE models, they still may or may not be able to find all of these cars. Some have even been exported to Japan or other countries. Not all the cars not found would be destroyed or in junkyards. There may be a few that are off the road for restoration. While I'd really like to believe the 1500 number, the evidence just doesn't support this number. Watch e-bay and look in the local autotrader. I see at least one 50th AE in every edition of the Phoenix Autotrader, and there's almost always at least one on e-bay.
Rumor: My 1984 300ZX has a 50th AE badge on the driver fender, therefore it must be a 50th AE car.
Fact: Not even close. Many dealers would take this badge (it was delivered in the glovebox with attachment instructions of most of the Nissan cars delivered to dealers that year) and stick it on the car. The more unscrupulous dealers (gee, dealerships lie?) would sell these cars as 50th AE cars and charge a higher price. There are lots of fake AEs driving around.
Rumor: My car has all of these things, so it MUST be a 50th AE. / My car doesn't have all of these things so it isn't a true 50th AE.
Fact: As with anything, people customize, accessorize, and modify things to make them their own. Just because the car has all of these items, it doesn't mean it came that way from the factory. Just because the car is missing a few things, it doesn't mean it came that way from the factory either.
Rumor: The 50th AE cars came with water cooled turbos.
Fact: No they did not. There was no difference mechanically between the 50th AE and any other turbo Z31 from 1984. Chances are, if you have a 1984 model (AE or not) with a water cooled turbo, the original owner (or previous owner) had it installed. Since the AE models listed for $26,000 ($10,000 above the base model Z31), and would surely have been marked up by the dealership, chance are the original owner didn't know much about proper maintenance and just destroyed the turbo. Since this would have taken at least a year, the technical service bulletin (a TSB is NOT a recall) specified to replace it with a water cooled type.