Every May, Nissan/Infiniti fans look forward to the annual STILLEN Nissan/Infiniti customer open house at its headquarters in Costa Mesa, Calif. This year definitely didn't disappoint as over 600 Nissans and Infinitis of all models and generations packed the show area, with hundreds more lining the street for miles outside the show. With the emphasis on sport-tuned and racing vehicles, the area was packed with Sentras, Skylines, 300ZXs, Altimas, Maximas and of course 350Zs and G35s as far as the eye could see. No Nissan show would be complete without a significant Datsun presence, and plenty showed up, including a 510 with individual throttle bodies taken off a sport bike. STILLEN also provided wide-eyed fans with tours of the facility and tech seminars on brakes, superchargers and exhausts. There was a dyno, but that crapped out with electrical problems early on. And to show off just how far a VQ engine can be stretched, a custom-built engine was on display that featured Carillo rods, CP forged pistons, NISMO camshafts, JWT valve springs, ported and polished heads, ARP head studs, a polished lower intake manifold and a STILLEN supercharger.
Seeing the opportunity to sell some new cars to a captive audience, executives from Nissan North America in Nashville made the trek (probably to escape Nashville) to Southern California to debut the new NISMO 350Z coupe that debuted in April at the New York International Auto Show. They also surprised the audience by revealing a pre-production version of the 2008 Altima Coupe, and encouraged all in attendance to sit inside, touch, feel and ask questions. For the record, the Coupe is available with two engine options: the base 2.5-liter, 175hp four-cylinder and a 3.5-liter transversely mounted V6 that is rated at 270 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. You may also pick between a six-speed manual and continuously variable transmission (CVT). Base price starts at approximately $21,000 and increases to the high $30ks.