Rare Rides: Patrol the Desert in This 1989 Nissan Safari
The Patrol has forever been Nissan’s answer to the Toyota Land Cruiser, as both brands compete for rough and tumble SUV customers. Today’s Rare Ride represents just how many creature comforts can be added to a go-anywhere truck.
Presenting the Nissan Safari from 1989.
The Patrol started production in 1951, aping the looks and function of the Willys Jeep. It borrowed the name too; sometimes it was just called a Jeep. Mostly intended for military use, the bare-bones first generation lasted through 1960.
With the debut of the second generation, production expanded to include more body styles: Patrol now offered hardtops, vans, and a pickup truck. Distribution expanded as well, and the Patrol was sold (as a Nissan) at Datsun dealerships in North America between 1962 and 1969.
It was 1980 before the third-generation Patrol began production, known as the 160 series. Comfort and equipment came into play for the first time, as this generation saw the introduction of an automatic transmission. Accompanying the transmission option were new trim levels. Deluxe examples included luxuries like air conditioning and power steering.
A fourth-generation (Y60) Patrol started production in 1987, bringing us to today’s Rare Ride. In a turn from prior generations, a coil suspension replaced the old leaf springs and brought refinement to travel. Power steering was standard and, if buyers spent enough money, they’d have the benefit of front and rear disc brakes. Automatic transmissions in this generation were all of the four-speed variety, while manuals had five forward gears. Engines ranged between 2.8 and 4.2 liters, all of them inline-sixes.
The Japanese market received the fourth-generation Patrol as the Safari. While models for other markets had a 12-volt electrical system, the Safari had a 24-volt. Today’s Rare Ride is a decked-out short-wheelbase example from the end of the Eighties. It has the largest 4.2-liter diesel engine. Said diesel propels all the tape stripes, power equipment, and tweedy seats through an automatic transmission. The Safari asks $14,900 and is located in Philadelphia.
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