Continuing with Nissan’s apparent mission to add tracks to an example of every vehicle it currently builds, the company would like to present you with a concept car based on the 370Z roadster and dubbed the 370Zki. If you looked at the photograph and pronounced it “370-Ski,” congratulations; you’ve won a dog that loves trucks! Pick him up at your local shelter. You’ll know him when you see him. Pickup-loving canines aside, what of this, the most zany application of snowgoing equipment that Nissan has yet pursued? Read on, snow speeder.
Set to bow at the Chicago auto show later this month, the 370Zki was a bit more of a production to create than simply bolting up a set of tracks to the rear and swapping the front wheels for a couple of skids. First, the whole drivetrain had to come out, followed by the fabrication of a custom three-inch lift kit to enable the 370Zki to better suffer the drifts and moguls of outrageous snowbound fortune. New mounts for the rear springs had to be fabricated, as did three-inch spacers to mount the 15-inch-wide American Track Truck tracks to the rear.
Up front, the suspension underwent some tweaking to work with the rear ride height, and custom adapters were required to allow for the travel and rotation of the front skis, which also came courtesy of American Track Truck. The skis themselves, 12 inches wide and 56 inches long, were simply mounted to the front hubs with some spacers. This is where the Z-car differs most from previous betracked Nissans, which were based on all-wheel-drive crossovers and had tracks in place of all four wheels. Notably, the Zki roadster (See, we’re getting into it!), utilizes the stock rear brakes, and up front, well, there are no brakes. Once the Zki’s track-and-ski setup was accounted for, the engine and transmission required a one-off mounting solution. A front skid plate protects delicate bits from harm in the course of dashing through the snow at Mach Zed in this 332-hp snowmobile.
The whole package was finished off with a wrap featuring a mountain-argyle sort of motif, and the headlights were tinted selective yellow in the manner of an old French car or modern GT-class racer. Nissan rationale for the colored lamps? Naturally, to remind the car’s audience of ski goggles. Once the Zki was all buttoned up, Nissan hauled it out to snowy Wyoming for some wintry hoonage and photography. Its tenure on the show floor in Chicago, regrettably, will be a bit more sedate.