Porsche 911s styled like the rally cars that competed in the East African Safari Rally back in the 1970s and ’80s have become popular in recent years. Porsche even launched its own last year in the form of the limited-edition 911 Dakar.
However, Porsche wasn’t the only automaker that found success in the Kenyan rally. Nissan was another, initially in 1970 with the Datsun Bluebird 1600SSS. Nissan even won the event several more times, including in 1971 with a Datsun 240Z.
At the upcoming 2023 SEMA aftermarket show, Nissan plans to pay tribute to the rally-winning 240Z with a modern take based on the current-generation Z sports car. It’s called the Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute, and it’s a one-off concept built by South Carolina’s Tommy Pike Customs, the same company that built the Datsun Sunny Truck powered by a Nissan Leaf electric powertrain for last year’s SEMA show.
Among the upgrades is a custom suspension containing parts from Nismo and KW. It raises the ride height by 2.0 inches and helps to accommodate prototype 17-inch Nismo Safari wheels wrapped in chunky Yokohama Geolandar M/T (G003) tires.
Underbody protection, including a front guard and skid plate, is also featured, as is additional lighting lifted out of the Nismo Off Road catalog. Interior upgrades include a custom roll bar with harnesses and Recaro Pole Position bucket seats with custom trim.
More power was also added to the Z’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6. No figure was given, but Illinois’ AMS Performance has tuned the engine for more than the stock 400-hp rating.
Nissan will present the Safari Rally Z Tribute at the SEMA show together with a replica of the 240Z that won the 1971 East African Safari Rally. There’s no word on whether the automaker plans to offer a version of the Z along the lines of this SEMA build.
The show runs Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 in Las Vegas. Nissan will also show up with the recently revealed Sentra DET concept.
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