Rare Rides: Patrol the Desert in This 1989 Nissan Safari

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
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.

[Images: seller]

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  • Cliff731 Cliff731 on Apr 15, 2019

    RH drive... perfect for a rural mail carrier who also needs 4x4 capability!!!

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    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Apr 16, 2019

      @bumpy ii I've been tempted to become a mail carrier just so I can justify buying some quirky RHD Japanese metal. But, in reality, $14k+ is a bit much for an older vehicle that will see daily service and may quite possibly be near impossible to find parts for. Yeah, a new RHD Wrangler is twice that easy, but it has a warranty and service/parts availability virtually anywhere on this continent.

  • Gedrven Gedrven on Apr 15, 2019

    Does it still have the 24V electrical system? While such things have merits for reliability reasons, maintainability would take a huge hit unless you have military-like economies of scale. What do you use for lightbulbs, for instance?

    • Bumpy ii Bumpy ii on Apr 15, 2019

      If i were to guess, it's only a partial 24v for the starting and charging circuits, and the cluster and other electrical accessories are 12v. Some older diesel tractors were set up that way.

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  • Sayahh Toyota Century
  • Probert Really needed more front and rear overhang.
  • Varezhka Autozam AZ-1 or a Toyota Sports 800.
  • Jeffro I can’t recall a visit to a Honda or Toyota dealership that wasn’t revolting to some degree. Why run yourself ragged going through the sleazy and greedy system store gauntlet, when you can purchase your luxury vehicle with just a few clicks on your smartphone?
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