1987 Nissan Patrol Paris-Dakar Rally Car Brought Back To Its Former Glory
It is that time of the year that we eagerly await; on one side it is the time of festivities and on the other, it is the time of the Dakar Rally. We are big, big fans of the world’s toughest race and we have every reason to be. And so does Nissan, the company has an annual ‘Performance Innovation Program’ that gets a separate budget to restore old Nissan projects back to their former glory. This year’s project is coming in right time to celebrate the Dakar rally and it is a classic 1987 Nissan Patrol racer that raced at the same year’s Paris-Dakar rally. Those were the times when the original race route was followed and the terrain was as tough as today’s. This Nissan Patrol with Fanta Limon livery had 146bhp on tap from its 2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel powerplant and weighed 1600kg.
In 1987 this particular Nissan Patrol was among the 312 vehicles that aspired to finish the treacherous 13,000km rally raid. During the rally, the competitors had to race through Europe, Algeria, Niger, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal for the final glory. This Nissan patrol Fanta Limon was among the two cars that Nissan entered the race in 1987; the cars had race numbers 211 and 212 painted on their doors. This race number 211 Nissan Patrol was driven by Miguel Prieto and Ramon Termens. The second with number 212 had brothers Jorge and Hansi Babler as its crew. Sadly, 212 retired due to its support truck breaking down on just the second stage. Without spares for the rest of the race, it was impossible for the 212 to continue racing. On the other hand, the 211 carried on and fought the elements to finish the race as the first diesel and an overall ninth position.
After its hard fought finish, the 1987 Nissan Patrol saw its new home at a private collection and an automotive museum at Girona, Spain called Salvador Claret. The car stayed there for almost 30 years. It was in 2014 when Nissan European Technical Center technicians spotted the car. There began the journey to celebrate the car’s 30th Anniversary by contacting the museum and getting it to restore its old glory. As per Nissan the car’s engine was in a terrible condition after a neglect of long years. The car could not start as majority of the parts had suffered high degree of corrosion. The front axle was also in a very bad shape and so were the electrics that had been sacrificed for sharpening rat teeth.
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After getting the car, Nissan’s technicians got hold of old drawings and service manual for the car. Then a long and hard work began on restoring this special 1987 Nissan Patrol. Finally, after hard fought two years, the car was returned to its exact Paris-Dakar set-up, as eager as always to go dune hunting and victory seeking adventures in the sand dunes of the Sahara desert.
Images courtesy Nissan.