That’s a nice way to honor your rally-racing elders

Believe it or not, Nissan is no stranger to rally racing. Back in 1996, the Japanese company raced at the Paris-Dakar Rally with a modded Terrano, albeit with zero success.

However, back in 1970, Nissan took a Datsun Bluebird 510 and made it into a rally car - dubbed the 1600SS - that won the East-African Safari Rally. One year after, in 1971, Nissan came back with a safari-style version of the 240Z. It, too, won the rally. That particular car is celebrated today with a one-off build based on the 370Z.

Chris Forsberg's 370Z Rally Car Tribute: Sideways Gravel Shreds! Exterior
- image 963024

The car Nissan raced in 1971 at the East-African Safari Rally was tweaked to the tune of today’s 911 Safari projects, at least visually. Of course, it was no 911 but with a curb weight of just 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds) and a straight-six L24 2.4-liter engine good for 207 horsepower and 230 Newton-meters of torque (169 pound-feet), it shattered the opposition with its agility and nimbleness on rough terrain.

Engine straight-six L24 2.4-liter
Horsepower 207 HP
Torque 169 LB-FT
Weight 1,000 kilos (2,200 pounds)

Such a stout performance is still echoing through Nissan’s history to this day as the carmaker commissioned Chris Forsberg to build one based on the outgoing 370Z. The result is just eye candy mostly because of the livery, which follows the original car through and through. There’s your red paint, black hood, and rally-style lights and wheels.

Chris Forsberg's 370Z Rally Car Tribute: Sideways Gravel Shreds! Exterior
- image 963028

Even more, the engine hasn’t been tweaked at all, so it’s not making a ridiculous amount of power. Then again, the 240Z Safari didn’t feature a massive performance boost, so it makes sense for the 370Z’s mill to be kept stock.

What I was expecting, though, was a higher ground clearance as in some shots, the car looks too close to the ground for its own good. In any case, just like with any build of this kind, the team had to overcome a couple of challenges. Here’s how they pulled it off:

Tudor Rus
Assistant Content Manager - Automotive Expert - tudor@topspeed.com
Tudor’s first encounter with cars took place when he was only a child. Back then, his father brought home a Trabant 601 Kombi and a few years later, a Wartburg 353. At that time, he was too young to know how they worked and way too young to drive them, but he could see one thing – each of them had a different ethos and their own unique personality. As time went on, he started seeing that in other cars as well, and his love for the automobile was born.  Read More
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