The Dakar Rally: A demanding three-week long race that puts man and machine to the ultimate test. The 1987 running of the rally saw Porsche taking the win with the 959 but there was another significant car that ran the race.
That year, Nissan entered a Patrol with its engine largely untouched. The motor in question is the venerable 2.8 liter diesel engine that saw over 13,000 kilometers of service in less than one month. This particular Nissan Patrol became the first diesel powered car to finish in the top ten in the Dakar Rally. Quite the accomplishment given that there were over 500 entries for the eighth running of the grueling rally.
After the race, the Patrol became a museum piece in Girona, Spain. For almost three decades, the Patrol just sat there, rusting away as bits of the Dakar sand were eating away panels and important parts. Fortunately, a group of mechanics for Nissan Spain were able to rescue the derelict racer from its grim fate. Its restoration began in 2014 and the result of all that labor is the SUV you see here.
Before the engineers began work on the racer, it was far from running condition. 28 years of inactivity led to the engine becoming seized. The electrical system was also in tatters, degraded by time and the elements. For its restoration, the team did a frame off rebuild to recondition the body, as well as its chassis. The goal was to finish the car by 2017 but the team of 8 were able to complete it ahead of schedule.
The team didn’t stop with a restoration. As a tribute to this milestone car, Nissan then sent the Patrol back to the dunes of Dakar to relive its glory days. It may only have 145 PS and a top speed of 150 km/h but remember, it can do that speed on all surfaces. The Nissan may be enjoying its retirement but its legacy remains. These days, diesels are now among the front runners of the Dakar with the Peugeot 2008 DKR being the most recent winner. Needless to say, the Fanta Limon Nissan Patrol had made its mark on the sport.