Nissan, or rather Nissan’s Restoration Club, announced a new project to repair and restore one of the most iconic cars in the Japanese car maker’s history: the rally legend Fairlady, the Nissan Safari Rally Z. The program will bring the Rally Z back to its original running condition.
Nissan itself couldn’t care less about racing heritage, especially as restoring old race cars can seriously hurt anyone’s budget. All they want to do is sell more hatchbacks and make more money. But the guys at Nissan’s Restoration Club, which was established in 2006 by a small group of volunteer members from the company’s R&D department, has the expertise, facilities, and above all, the passion, to give the company’s historic racecars a new lease of life.
They don’t intend to race them, but they do believe such cars should be fully operational and not just static show pieces. The 60-strong club has an impressive portfolio, comprising the legendary 1964 Skyline racecar, the “Fuji” and “Sakura” Datsun 210s that won Australia’s 1958 Mobilgas Trial, and 1947 Tama electric vehicle.
As for the Nissan Safari Rally Z and why it is worth to be restored, the car won two overall championships of the East African Safari Rally in 1971 and 1973. The racecar to be restored is the winner of the 19th Safari Rally in 1971, driven by Edgar Hermann and Hans Schuller. It is powered by a 2.4 liter OHC in-line 6 engine developing 215 horsepower. Restoration will completed in December 2013, or at least that’s the plan.