MOTORSPORT: Nissan to restore 1971 Safari Rally winning Datsun 240Z

1971 East African Safari Rally Datsun 240Z

Deep within the corporate juggernaut of Nissan Motor Company there’s a team of 60 old school petrolheads. Many of them have been around for decades, bearing witness to the racing programs of the automaker’s most famous race cars. Next up on the restoration list: The Datsun 240Z that won the 1971 East African Safari Rally

1971 East African Safari Rally Datsun 240Z Cedric wagon

Over the years Nissan has stowed many a significant race car at its Zama warehouse. But since the warehouse was never meant for public viewing, it was always just shoved in the building for safekeeping as of those “We’ll get to it someday” projects.

Well that day has come. After bringing back the Fuji-Go and Sakura-Go Datsun 210s that competed in the Mobilgas Trial, the 1947 Tama electric car, and the S54 Skyline of 1964 Japan Grand Prix fame, the team will tackle the Safari 240Z next.

1971 East African Safari Rally Datsun 240Z Shekhar Mehta Mike Doughty

Though known mostly for road racing in the US at the time, the 240Z was actually a world-renowned rally car. The 240Z actually came in first, second and seventh at the 19th East African Safari Rally, beating out legions of Porsches, Fords and Peugeots.

The race cars ran modified L24s equipped with Solex 44 carbs, good for 215PS, or 65 over the 150PS stock.

1971 East African Safari Rally Datsun 240Z Herrmann Schuller

In the end it was the #11 car driven by Edgar Herrmann and Hans Schüller that took the checker flag. The last time we saw it in Zama, it was still caked with what was likely Kenyan dirt. Given the track record of the restoration team, its battle scars will probably stay in tact.

Photos courtesy of Nissan.

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9 Responses to MOTORSPORT: Nissan to restore 1971 Safari Rally winning Datsun 240Z

  1. wow, this is some great news! would be great to see the restoration process somehow. :)

  2. Ryan said:

    The Nissan mechanics should post build progress pics in the forum.

  3. Ryan markII said:

    So whats happened to the forums?

  4. KPGC10-001218 said:

    Total madness. The car doesn’t NEED to be ‘restored’, let alone re-touched in any way. It’s perfectly fine as it is. All it needs is to be curated properly.

    I also don’t understand any of the “locked away” and “shoved in the building” comments, as – like many of the cars in the collection based at Zama – the car has been seen many, many times doing the rounds of provincial dealership displays and special events. I’ve seen it at five or six of these myself ( twice in Sapporo, even ), as well as at Zama.

    So, your Mona Lisa looking a little faded? Repaint it! Parthenon looking a little shabby? Knock it down and put up a new one! Just crazy, and so far off in the opposite direction from current, informed museum-level philosophy on preservation and conservation that it’s off the map.

    If these guys have itchy fingers they should take a look at the ’73 Safari winning car which often stands next to the car in question when it’s at Zama. THAT car needs to be properly conserved and put back to its Safari-finishing condition. The last time I saw it at Zama it was full of garbage and the souvenir hunters had pocketed many of the easily-unscrewed details. WAKE UP NISSAN. You’re messing with the wrong car.

    • |2ustrocket said:

      Hear hear!

      Curate, not restore.

      It would be nice to keep it in running condition, if it is not so currently. I doubt they will do any more than what they did to Fuji-go.

      In other news, I heard on the Adam Carolla Carcast that John Morton is involved with making a replica of his #46 Z. Will be nice to see that racing even if it isn’t the original frame!

      • Darryl said:

        Remember the comments on Carcast that were made about race cars. Rarely is there ever an ‘original’ race car. Parts get swapped constanly from damage, improvements, etc. I agree, though, that a replica that can go out and rip on the track without fear of damage to the original is a worthy idea. Still need the real one to come out into the light from time to time, just because.

    • Tyler said:

      Yeah, to need restoration it had better have rust holes. Otherwise leave it be.

  5. John M said:

    Visited Zama in June and the #11 was noticeably missing. Staff said it had already been pulled for restoration. I have mixed feelings. I think it would be cool to have it in running condition, but it is hard to keep the feel of that moment in time. I saw Pete Brock’s Mexican Rally car (seemed untouched) and you could just feel the race at that time. It was probably the coolest 510 I have ever seen. Anyway, here is a link to some pics from Zama in June, including some rally cars https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.559028007492075.1073741877.403955269666017&type=1

  6. acbpanda said:

    I hope to see the finished result on here within the next 10 years :A
    hopefully they don’t take 10 but rather 5 or less.