Translation: Japanese cars were thought of as cheap tin boxes that would never make it through a Minnesota winter. That was the mentality of the American consumer until the last couple of decades. It does help that several Japanese automakers set up shop building vehicles on our soil to change our collective minds.
The turn of the 1970s was a time of transition. It was clear that Richard Nixon wasn't going anywhere. His administration oversaw the first landing on the moon by human beings, but the escalating war in Vietnam dogged his leadership. In 1968, many thought Nixon was the peace candidate for President. He would end up sending more USA troops into Southeast Asia.
The unveiling of the Z Proto was proof that Nissan was committed to the continuation of a legacy. A legacy that cemented the intentions of the Yokohama-based company to be a different kind of automaker. Different, as in showing a sporty side and making it their focus at a time when vehicles from Japan were attracting global customers in increasing numbers.