It’s been a few years since we found out the Nissan Z wouldn’t be coming to Europe, but we’re still a little sore. It doesn’t help one bit when the SEMA show comes along and Nissan brings out a fun, modified version of the new sports car.
This year, that involves jacking the thing up in an overhaul intended to pay homage to the #11 Datsun 240Z rally car that won the 1971 East African Safari Rally. Built by Tommy Pike Customs in South Carolina, the Safari Rally Z Tribute rides around 50mm taller on customs suspension which incorporates Nismo components.
That gives room for the chunky Yokohama Geolandar M/5 G003 tyres which shod the 17-inch prototype Nismo Safari wheels. Ensuring the extra ground clearance can be used without annihilating the underside of the car, there’s a new skid plate.
Meanwhile, the front end features a new bumper guard and big LED lights - ideal for dusty rallying after dark - which are partly sunk into the bonnet. Under that bonnet is the same VR30DDTT 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine as the standard car (not a given for a SEMA build), albeit with a few tweaks from AMS.
There’s a new cold air intake, heat exchanger, coolant expansion tank, twin-disc clutch and flywheel. It’ll look a little spanglier thanks to a new carbon-fibre cover, and sound fruitier thanks to a Nismo Track cat-back exhaust system.
Inside, you’ll find a new roll-bar and Recaro Pole Position seats complemented by four-point harnesses. Oh, and a map clip with stopwatches attached, just like the original.
Sadly, it’s very much a one-off show car, but you can at least buy a Seiko Safari Z watch, limited to - for a hopefully obvious reason - 240 units. It costs $299 (around £260).