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 composed of a small group of volunteer members from the company’s R&D department who all share a passion to see Nissan’s historic race cars fully operational again, not just displayed as a static show piece.
An added bonus for the members, now 60 strong, is the education derived from studying the highest technology the world had to offer at the time. Past projects for the club have been the restoration of eight vehicles, notably the legendary 1964 Skyline race car, the “Fuji” and “Sakura” Datsun 210s that won Australia’s 1958 Mobilgas Trial, and 1947 Tama electric vehicle. This year, the Nissan Restoration Club has focused its attention on a special variant of the Fairlady Z (Datsun 240Z in the U.S.), called the Safari Rally Z.
The Safari Rally Z won two overall championships of the East African Safari Rally in 1971 and 1973. Succeeding the Bluebird rally car (Datsun 510) that put Nissan on the world rally map, the Safari Rally Z had a short-but-stellar career highlighted by its 1-2 finish in the 1971 event. The race car to be restored by Nissan’s Restoration Club is the winner of the 19th Safari Rally in 1971, driven by Edgar Hermann and Hans Schuller. The Safari Rally Z features a closed, fastback coupe body and a 2393cc OHC inline-6 engine (codenamed L24) that was tuned to produce 215 hp. The race car has been part of Nissan’s Heritage Collection.
The restoration of the Safari Rally Z is scheduled to be completed in December 2013.