The Patrol was the first diesel-powered car to finish the race in the top ten.Eight Nissan engineers have completed the restoration of a 1987 Patrol that competed in that year's edition of the grueling Paris-Dakar rally. The off-roader was the first diesel-powered car to finish the race in the top ten spots.The engineers found the Patrol rusting away in a Spanish museum in 2014. They persuaded the automaker to buy it, and began restoring it in their spare time. Bringing it back to like-new condition was a challenging process, however.
"The engine was in terrible condition. It was impossible to start and many parts were heavily corroded. The front axle was quite damaged, but the worst thing was the electrics, which had been badly attacked by rats," explained Juan Villegas, one of the technicians who participated in the restoration.
Patrol parts are difficult to find, so the team relentlessly called dealers and storage warehouses across Europe to find as many new old stock (NOS) parts as possible. The components that couldn't be sourced new were purchased used and restored in-house.
The 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel engine was completely re-built, and the frame was given a fresh coat of paint. The body was left un-touched, and it still wears battle scars from its time in the Sahara.
With the truck back in one piece, the team traveled to North Africa to put it through its paces. It's set to join Nissan's official collection.