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The 2009 Nissan 370Z is lit for the cameras tonight, and the bubble of white light around it holds back the darkness of this parking lot in Los Angeles. The Z-car believers have come to see the car in its first public showing, and Randy Rodriguez is one of them.
Rodriguez has come a long way to be here. Raised in British Columbia, his family ran a small gas station and car repair business and came to specialize in Nissans. His first car was a Nissan 240Z that he rebuilt with his own hands, and he's owned 10 early Zs over the years, though he's still only 31.
As with all Z-car people, Rodriguez doesn't quite fit in the box where you find most car enthusiasts; he's a little out of the mainstream, a little more open to doing things differently, and a little more serious about cars in way that only someone who has had to bring old, second-hand beaters back to life can be.
Rodriguez is exactly the person for whom this new Z-car is meant. Probably there's some kind of magic at work in the fact that Randy Rodriguez's day job is at Nissan Design America, and he was the one who first sketched the lines of what has become the 2009 Nissan 370Z.