In an era when automakers once expected their sports cars to clinch rally victories, Nissan’s tribute to its 1971 East African Safari Rally success in a 240Z is a compelling nod to those glory days. This one-of-a-kind rally Z, crafted by the skilled hands of Tommy Pike, makes its debut at the 2023 SEMA show, capturing the essence of past triumphs.
Tommy Pike’s creation has seen the rally Z lifted, thanks to the installation of KW Safari suspension, bolstered by a selection of NISMO components. The rugged appearance is complemented by 17 x 7.5-inch prototype NISMO Safari wheels shod in Yokohama GEOLANDAR M/T G003 tires, resulting in an impressive 2-inch increase in ride height.
Protection for the Z’s underbelly is paramount. Front bumper guards and a skid plate have been thoughtfully added to safeguard against rough terrain, while NISMO Off Road LED lights provide crucial illumination.
Inside the cabin, driver safety is a top priority, with Recaro Pole Position seats adorned with four-point harnesses.
Under the bonnet, the twin-turbo V6 has received the skilled tuning hand of AMS, pushing power output beyond the 400hp mark. This performance boost is made possible through a comprehensive list of enhancements, including a cat-back exhaust system, cold air intake, a carbon fibre engine cover, a coolant expansion tank, a street twin-disc clutch, and flywheel.
Visually, the Safari Rally Z Tribute is a striking sight, finished in red with a distinctive black hood. The design harks back to the iconic number 11 Datsun 240Z that secured victory in the 1971 East African Safari Rally, with Edgar Herrmann at the wheel and Hans Schüller navigating. This win marked a significant milestone for the brand, being the second consecutive victory following the Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS’s triumph in 1970.
Nissan’s homage to its rally heritage, as witnessed in the 2023 SEMA show build, serves as a powerful reminder of the bygone era when sports cars were expected to dominate rally circuits, and Nissan certainly left an indelible mark in those legendary races.