16 Sep
Nissan's Restoration Club brings back champion 240Z

Now here’s an automotive reanimation we can get behind. The fine people over at Nissan’s esteemed Restoration Club have turned their meticulous eyes on one of the brand’s pioneering world rally vehicles from the 1970s: the Safari Rally Z. The successor to Nissan’s Bluebird rally car (aka the Datsun 510, as Nissan was called in the States at the time), the Safari Rally Z won two East African Safari Rally Championships in 1971 and 1973, elevating its place to Datsun Nissan’s Great Vehicle Pantheon. Past cars rejuvenated by the Restoration Club include the legendary 1964 Skyline racecar, the “Fuji” and “Sakura” Datsun 210s, and a 1947 Tama electric vehicle.  As Nissan explains:

“Ever since it was formed in 2006, Nissan’s Restoration Club has made it a habit of bringing Nissan cars with a rich motorsports heritage back to life. The Nissan Restoration Club is comprised of a small group of volunteer members from the company’s R&D department who all share a burning passion to see Nissan’s historic racecars fully operational again, not just displayed as a static show piece.”

The Datsun 240Z, or “Fairlady Z” — possibly the favorite car we’ve ever been lucky enough to own — was one of the most beautiful vehicles of the era, a low budget homage of sorts to cars like the Jaguar E-Type that were far out of most young men’s financial grasp. Sporty, minimal and smoothly elegant, the Fairlady Z has recently seen a renaissance in its collectability, which only further justifies the timely restoration. This particular specimen set to be restored is the winner of the 19th Safari Rally in 1971, driven by Edgar Hermann and Hans Schuller. The Safari Rally Z features a closed, fast-back coupe body and 215 horsepower 2393cc OHC inline-6 engine, and is scheduled to be completed by December of this year. We’re looking forward to seeing the final product at an auto show near you…

Datsun’s legendary “Safari Rally Z” in full rock-spewing action in 1971…

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