Nissan has fielded a series of tenacious rally racers since the 1960s. Hard-charging Nissan Rally Cars models like the 240Z, Safari Rally Pickup, and GT-R showcased Nissan’s engineering at its extreme. Let’s look back at Nissan’s most iconic rally machines.
The Original Fairlady Of Nissan Rally Cars
In the late 1960s, Nissan rallied its sleek, inline-6 powered 240Z sports car internationally. The lightweight, rear-wheel-drive coupe proved itself a formidable competitor despite modest horsepower.
The 240Z achieved podium finishes at East Africa’s grueling Safari Rally thanks to reliability and agility. While underpowered, robust construction and balance allowed the Z car to outrun exotic European makes. Nissan proved its capabilities in motorsport.
Hardbody Pickup – Safari Rally Hero
Nissan next developed a rally-prepped pickup specifically for Africa’s punishing Safari Rally. The compact Hardbody packed a race-tuned inline-4 to withstand endless punishment.
In 1983, the Hardbody truck finished first in class – outlasting high-powered cars from Audi, Toyota, and Porsche. This durable underdog demonstrated Nissan’s ingenuity and extreme durability by conquering the world’s toughest rally.
Group A Glory – Skyline GT-R
In the late 1980s, Nissan deployed its Skyline GT-R sports coupe into Group A touring car racing. Rally stages proved perfect for showing off the ATTESA all-wheel drive system.
Despite stringent regulations limiting power, the Skyline GT-R dominated the field with tenacious grip and stability at high speed. Nissan captured the 1991 driver’s and constructor’s Group A championships in commanding fashion. The GT-R legend was born.
Nissan Rally Cars’s Modern Rally Dominators – the Patrol
More recently, Nissan adopted its Patrol SUV for rally raid events like the Dakar Rally. Extensive modifications prepare it for 8,000 miles of brutal terrain and conditions.
The thirsty V8 gets a fuel efficient Eco Boost motor for greater range between refueling stops. Beefed up suspension and chassis components withstand relentless pounding. The Nissan Patrol regularly finishes inside the top ten – a testament to durability.
Nissan’s Rally Reputation
Throughout decades of intense rally competition, Nissan earned respect for performance engineering. Unlikely vehicles like the 240Z and Hardbody pickup achieved giant-killing feats.
Both rally cars and sports sedans like the GT-R benefited from racing development. Nissan embraced motorsport early on to hone capabilities that influenced production models. These thrilling, hard-charging rally machines built the brand’s formidable reputation.