Nissan is marking 50 years since it conquered the gruelling East African Safari Rally with a special build version of its Juke crossover.
In 1971, the 240Z triumphed at the world famous event in the hands of Edgar Herrmann and co-driver Hans Schüller – the second consecutive victory for the front-engined two-seater coupe.
Indeed, the rally was a resounding success for the brand, with the 240Z coming home in second and seventh positions that year. The result also represented the brand’s second consecutive success in the rally.
Company bosses decided to build the one-off Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute following the positive response they received last year when official sketches of the idea started to circulate.
The butch-looking prototype inherits the hybrid powertrain of its showroom ready brother. This comprises a 93bhp petrol engine, and a 48bhp e-motor that draws its energy from a 1.2kWh water-cooled battery.
As a result, Nissan says the new set-up delivers 25% more power compared to the current regular petrol, while fuel consumption increasing by a fifth on the combined cycle.
The rally-ready Juke also shares the automatic gearbox used by the upcoming facelifted passenger car, although the conventional synchroniser rings are replaced with dog clutches for “smooth, connected and responsive acceleration”.
Visually, the Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute receives enlarged wheelarches to accommodate the tailor-made off-road tyres, while the additional lights mounted on the bonnet and roof echo those of the 240Z from half a century ago. The black-coloured bonnet and dark wheels are also a nod to the victorious 240Z, as are the vintage sponsor logos.
On top of front and rear skid plates, the one-off Juke sits on a reinforced and long-travel suspension for “exceptional poise over the challenging terrain it will navigate”, and the 265/70 R16 tyres promise “phenomenal grip and traction in all conditions”.
Inside, the interior has been modified with the addition of a tubular safety cell and the rear seats have been removed to provide space for spare wheels and essential tools that allow running repairs to be performed by the crew.
“The Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute represents our optimism and daring mindset,” says Coralie Musy, the Vice President of Brand and Customer Experience at Nissan. “The Juke Hybrid Rally Tribute takes the everyday Juke’s playful character to a new level.”