LAMBORGHINI DID IT with the Huracán Sterrato, Porsche slayed with the 911 Dakar and even Mercedes-Benz envisioned it when it collaborated with Virgil Abloh on Project Maybach. But the wickedly thrilling trend of swapping out low-profile tyres for off-road rubber and raising the ride hight of a sports car, ready for rally action is not done yet. Enter: Nissan’s Safari Rally Z Tribute, a lifted, high-stacked retro-inspired beauty to make you rethink a Z coupe’s place in the world.    

Celebrating the Japanese car maker’s rally car winning the punishing near-6100km 1971 East African Rally, where driver Edgar Herrmann and navigator Hans Schüller slid and bounced their way to victory in the #11 Datsun 240Z, the latest dream machine from the Japanese carmaker is a collaboration with US-based muscle shop Tommy Pike Customs. Want to lift your Z? Here’s how they did it.

The seventh-generation Nissan Z has been given the full 1971 livery treatment and to get it to the gravel, it’s been customised with KW Safari suspension and NISMO suspension parts to raise it by raise the coupe’s ride height by 5 cm and stacked with 17-inch prototype NISMO Safari wheels and off-road-ready Yokohama GEOLANDAR M/T G003 tires. The build adds a new front bash plate and night and dust-racing NISMO Off Road LED lights have been added as well—because every car looks great with rally lights.

Under the hood, is an AMW-tuned 300kW twin-turbo V6 and the six-speed manual transmission has had an upgraded twin-disc clutch and revised flywheel. The engine has also been given a NISMO Track cat-back exhaust system, carbon fibre engine cover and a bunch of kit to help it better deal with heat, such as cold air intake, coolant expansion tank and heat exchanger. Australian dessert-ready, anyone?

But wait, there’s a watch to match.

For the celebratory drop, Nissan has partnered with Seiko—which also sponsored the original 240Z rally car at the time—on a very limited edition NISMO Seiko Safari Watch for rally fans. Limited to 240 pieces, the sporty timepiece matches the original livery and will be individually numbered on the caseback. 

Sadly for us all, the car is only a one-off, and will be shown off at major US muscle car show SEMA, but that doesn’t mean we all can’t start a campaign to entice Nissan to bring this beast to Australia, right? Regardless, once again, this proves that everything looks good safari’d. The question remains, who might be the next maker bold enough to do it next. Ferrari? McLaren? Mazda? We’re waiting.


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