Nissan will make a big splash at the 2021 SEMA show with a slew of modified cars. The rides tick boxes in both the off-road and motorsport columns, with a dash of rally history and a bit of star power mixed in.
The captain is the modified Datsun 240Z of actor Sung Kang of Fast & Furious. This is a new 240Z build, not to be confused with the low-down Fugu Z that Kang brought to SEMA several years ago. Instead, this Z rides high, a tribute to the Datsun 240Z that won the East African Safari Rally in 1971 half a century ago.
Nissan even took the first two podiums that year, both in 240Zs, in one of the toughest rally races in the world. A total of 107 cars took part in the four-day trek through the unpaved wilderness of the African continent, but only 32 finished.
Kang’s car is finished in a black-on-red livery that resembles that of the famous rally machines. Under the hood is an L24 Nissan inline-six fit for the year, but boosted to 2.8 liters (more than the original 2.4) with triple Weber carbs and modified exhaust. Kang’s car also rides on 16-inch wheels that are remakes of the Kobe Seiko 4 spokes fitted to the original Safari racer.
Continuing with the off-road theme, two overlanding concepts are based on slightly newer Nissans. A new Pathfinder-based adventure rig features a 2-inch suspension lift, 18-inch wheels and large lights, all part of Nismo’s off-road parts line. Nissan has also added a third-party extendable kitchen box/sleeping platform for that full overland experience.
A 2022 Frontier-based overlander is even tougher. It carries a slew of new Nismo parts, including a beefy bumper, two pairs of extra lights, an exhaust system, bed rack and the obligatory rooftop tent. Nismo also supplied the 2-inch suspension lift, which upgrades the shock springs and wheels. It even features a solar panel to power a built-in refrigerator and air compressor.
In a similar vein, Nissan will also showcase the recent Rebelle Rally Frontier, which showcased Nissan’s modern midsize pickup in the livery of Nissan’s 1980s racing trucks. The 2023 Nissan Z will also make its first SEMA appearance.
Last but not least, there’s something called the Altimaniac, a rear-wheel drive drift machine (roughly) based on Nissan’s sensible mid-sized sedan. Instead of its ingenious VC-Turbo engine, however, it is powered by a 2000 hp V6 turbo engine from a Nissan GT-R. That power is fed through a sequential six-speed gearbox. In addition, instead of a single driver’s box, this car is equipped with four carbon fiber Recaros, so that three friends can enjoy the sideways ride.
Nissan has long been a favorite of customizers and racers, but their portfolio has lacked excitement over the past decade. With a refreshed line-up that includes a sports car that touches the soul of the enthusiast, it looks like Nissan is back on track.