Nissan Juke becomes a heritage-laced, Z-inspired rally car

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One of Nissan's greatest racing achievements was winning the 1971 edition of the East African Safari Rally with a 240Z. Now 50 years later, the Japanese firm has transformed the Juke into a rally-like car to commemorative the victory.

Nissan explained the Juke is "a natural starting point" for the tribute, a puzzling statement that overlooks both the 370Z unveiled for 2009 and its replacement, which is due out this August 17. In the firm's defense, the next Z will not be sold in Europe. Juke it is, then. Starting with a four-door crossover, designers created a homage to the rally-winning coupe by integrating spotlights into a black hood, adding redesigned bumpers on both ends, and tucking a set of rally wheels under fender flares. Out back, a pair of spare wheels stick out through the hatch.

It looks like the Juke also receives a suspension lift, but details about what's beneath the body weren't published. All we know is that instead of a 210-horsepower straight-six, it's powered by a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.

Nothing suggests the Rally Tribute Concept will join the Juke range anytime soon. And yet, crazier things have happened. Nissan built about five units of the Juke-R, a crossover with a mid-mounted, GT-R-sourced V6.

This isn't the first time the Z has crossed paths with a crossover. Rewinding the clock to 2015 brings us to the Gripz, a concept presented at the Frankfurt auto show and also billed as a tribute to the rally-winning 240Z. While many assumed it would reach production and take the torch from the 370Z, it remained a one-off design study.

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