In 1971, Edgar Herrmann piloted a Datsun 240Z to an overall victory at that year’s East African Safari Rally, beating out Ford, Porsche, Range Rover, Peugeot, and Lancia in the process. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of this historic win, Nissan presented concept sketches of a safari-style JUKE in 2021 that paid homage to the factory-backed, rally-winning FairLady. And after the rendered images of this ruggedized JUKE received an incredibly warm public reception, the Japanese automaker was prompted to bring the sketches to life, resulting in the newly-unveiled Nissan JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute.
Also built to celebrate the launch of the new hybrid variant of the Nissan JUKE, this tribute to the company’s ’71 East African Rally-conquering Z car is powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four engine that’s helped along by a 69-kW (94-hp) PMSM motor that’s linked to a 1.2-kWh water-cooled battery and is good for 151ft-lbs of torque. The all-new hybrid engine is also mated to a motorsport-inspired, clutch-less Smart Auto gearbox that features four ICE-style gears and a pair of EV gears — all of which are regulated via an advanced algorithm that manages the transmission’s shift points. The JUKE Hybrid Rally Tribute also uses lubricants and biofuels provided by Shell, which was Datsun’s official partner for the ’71 East African Rally.
Cloaked in a replica livery from the ’71 240Z rally racer complete with period-correct sponsor logos and the original car’s #11 racing number, the JUKE has received a slew of off-road-focused upgrades including flared wheel arches, a dual-unit hood-mounted LED light pod setup, 18-arm off-road-specific wheels shod in all-terrain tires, a lifted and reinforced long-travel suspension kit, and a custom roof rack with an integrated full-length LED light bar. What’s more, the rear window has also been deleted in order to open up space to accommodate a pair of full-size spare wheels, while just beneath, the inline-four now ejects spent fumes from a dual-muffler exhaust setup exiting from the concept’s rear bumper. The rally tribute’s cabin has also been bestowed with numerous tweaks and upgrades such as a tubular roll cage, a rear-seat delete, an onboard fire extinguisher, a hydraulic handbrake with a high-reach handle, and a custom Alcantara-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel.
While Nissan has no plans of putting this rally-ready one-off JUKE into production, the concept nonetheless highlights the brand’s commitment to what it refers to as an optimistic and daring mindset.