Nissan reveals one-off Safari Rally Z Tribute

Datsun 240Z homage isn't electric or four-wheel drive or even automatic – and all the better for it

By PH Staff / Tuesday, 31 October 2023 / Loading comments

While it unquestionably looks the part, the initial response to the not-for-Europe Nissan Z was not uniformly complimentary. However, it is a rear-drive sports car and does feature a manual gearbox mated to a hearty 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 – so we’re prepared to give it quite a lot of rope in this day and age. Even more so in its latest guise as the Safari Rally Z Tribute, a one-off homage to Nissan’s motorsport heritage built by Tommy Pike Customs and destined (obviously) for the manufacturer’s stand at this year’s SEMA show. 

What heritage specifically? Well, ‘a multi-decade legacy of rallying success’ of course – but really it’s the Datsun 240Z that won the 1971 East African rally which has been plucked from the curio hat. Granted, the victory is probably not in many people’s rallying top ten, but on the basis that the long-running event covered over 3,800 miles, we’re going to say that the success of driver Edgar Hermann and navigator Hans Schuller was no mean feat – especially in the good old days of (often terrifying) long distance off-road racing. 

Moreover, it provides a neat starting point for a tricked-out Z because the model is so flagrantly indebted to the 240Z’s design. So while Nissan admits it has leaned ‘into the trend for rugged, go-anywhere “safari” builds’, it’s safe to say that the show car rather suits its combination of raised suspension (by two inches) and 17-inch prototype Nismo Safari wheels (shod in Geolander all-terrain tyres). It ought to sound the business, too, with a Nismo track cat-back system sporting 2.25-inch stainless steel piping. 

More importantly, the concept retains the VR30DDTT motor (tuned beyond 400hp here) and its six-speed manual – oh, and just the one driven axle. Throw in a custom roll cage and Recaro Pole Position seats with four-point harnesses, and we’re willing to bet that it’s probably as fun to drive as it is to look at once you find it some gravel to throw around. As much fun as the vintage replica of the rally-winning 240Z that Nissan found to photograph it alongside? Who knows. But it’s safe to say we’d try either ahead of the 1,341hp Hyper Force concept that the manufacturer revealed in Tokyo last week. Go figure. 

  • 2023 Nissan Z | PH Review
  • Nissan Hyper Force concept previews electric GT-R

Latest Japanese cars articles

Nissan reveals one-off Safari Rally Z Tribute

Fast for £8k | Six of the Best

Subaru Impreza EZ30 | PH Private Area

Is this the future of the Mazda MX-5?

Toyota FT-Se officially unveiled at Tokyo show

Source: Read Full Article