The Rally History of Datsun

Datsuns began their rally history before WWII in Japan in as early as 1930. The first international rally appearance by Datsun was the 1958 Australia Mobil Gas Trial, basically an off road one lap of Australia that chewed up cars at an unbelievable rate. A Datsun 210, named the "Fuji-Go", won the rally. The team was initiated and led by a young up and coming Nissan exec from the marketing department, a certain Mr. Yutaka Katayama. Katayama, a car builder and racer in his own right, was one of many Nissan execs that believed racing and rallying was an excellent way to test and develop their cars and trucks. As a marketer, Katayama also knew that racing and rallying was a great way to sell cars as well.

Nissan made its first attempt at the East African Safari Rally in 1963 with a team of Cedrics and Bluebird 311's. No cars finished the race, but the Safari History is such a big story, that I've put it on a page of its own. Safari Page

In February 1967 a Bluebird 411 SSS ripped through Ontario, Canada, to win the Canadian Winter Rally... 101 cars entered the race, only 59 finished. 411's also took part in the Baja, along with at least one Datsun pick up.

Roadster entered in the 1968 Mont Carlo Rally

Nissan tried the Safari Rally with Cedrics again in 1967 and 68, again with little success. Finally they found a car that worked, the Bluebird 510sss which took class and team championships in 69, and won overall in 1970.

Frank Ball and Ron Thompsons SCORE rally 510, which also won the Baja.

The Z was entered in the 1970 RAC rally, but all 4 cars entered failed to finish due to differential problems. Edgar Herrmann drove one of the cars, another was driven by Tony Fall, and a third by Rauno Aaltonen.

In May 1971 a 240z driven by Tony Fall took first place in the Welsh Rally, came in 5th and tenth in the Monte Carlo rally and 19th in the RAC Rally.

The 240z, with Herrmann and Schuller, won the 1971 East African Safari Rally; Shenkhar Mehta brought his Z in second.

The Z managed to place 3 rd overall at the Monte Carlo rally in 1972, with Rauno Aaltonen at the wheel, but had little success elsewhere, finishing 5 th , 6th and tenth at the Safari rally. Aaltonen did finish second at the Southern Cross rally in Australia.

Back in America the 240z entered the US rally scene at the 72 and 73 Press on Regardless rallies, and with a 1973 BRE entry in the Baja.

Mehta in his 240z won the 73 Safari Rally over Harry Kallstrom and his Bluebird SSS on Penalty points, but only after Aaltonen rolled his Z. Herrmann did not finish.

Shekhar Mehta at the Scottish Rally

260z's were entered in the rally for 74, finishing in fourth and fifth. It would take several more years, and the Datsun Violet, before Nissan would see success at the Safari again.

Z cars would lead Nissan to 3 consecutive SCCA rally Championships from 1975 to 1977.

Just when it looked like Nissans star would fall in rallying, the Violet came along. Kallstrom and Andersson won the 1976 Greek Acropolis Rally, with Shenkhar Mehta and H.Liddon coming in third. This was only the beginning for the Violet.

The 1977 Acropolis Rally saw Kallstrom and Billstam place 3rd overall, with Siroco and Makrinos in 5 th . The charm was back on the Safari rally that year, with Rauno Aaltonen and Lofty Drews coming in 2nd overall in thier Datsun Violet.

510's still competed strongly in the SCCA's ProRally series, like Les Nelsons car pictured here. Check out Historic Pit Stop

1978 saw respective third place finishes in the Acropolis Rally and the Safari rally with Mehta and Mehta, and Altonen and Drews.

Greece was good again in 79 with Timo Salonen and Seppo Hajanne's Violet coming in second overall and Kallstrom and Billstam in 3 rd . Salonen and Stuart Pegg also came in 3 rd at the rally of Great Britain.

Then came the rise of Shenkar Mehta. Paired with co driver Mike Doughty, Mehta is the most successful Driver in Safari Rally history, winning 5 times outright, with 4 wins in a row from 1979 to 1982, all in the Violet 160J. No one has even come close to matching this win streak. Not only that, but Datsun Violets, led By Mehta and Doughty would sweep the Podium in 1981.

US Rally achievements

SCCA National Rally Manufacturers Championship 11 times -1971 to 1981

SCCA world Challenge Driver Championships
1993 Elliott Forbes-Robinson 300ZX Turbo

PRO Rally Manufacturers Championship 1975 1976, 1977(tied) 1978, 1979 and 1985

North American Rally Cup Championship 1977, 1978, 1979

SCORE off road Mini truck Manufacturer of the Year 1975-1978

Jim O'Connors Score Truck

SCORE off road Sedan Manufacturer of the Year 1979

Score off road World Championships(class 3 or 7)
1982 Roger Mears
1985 Sherman Balch
1986 Roger Mears
1986 Jim Conner
1987 Spencer Low
1989 Sherman Balch
1991 Roger Mears

HRDA truck series Championships

1984 Class 7s-Desert Spencer Low
1984 Class 7s-Stadium Mario Alesi
1984 Class 7s-Stadium Roger Mears
1985 Class 7s Spencer Low
1986 Class 7s Spencer Low
1988 Class 4 Jack Johnson
1989 Class 4 Jack Johnson
1989 Class 7 Roger Mears

International Rally Victories and notable finishes

1969 RAC Rally team prize Datsun p510

1969 Tap Rally of Portugal Jose Lampreia and Chris Melville 2 nd overall 510
"Chavna" and Loyens 3 rd overall
1969 E.A. Safari Rally Jamil Din /Maksood Minas 3 rd overall/first in class 510

1970 E.A. Safari Rally Edgar Herrmann and Hans Schuller 1st overall 510
Joginder Singh/ Bharat Bhardwaj 3 rd overall 510

1970 Australian Ampol Trial Herrmann and Schuller 1st overall 510

1970 Press On Regardless Rally Vanier Bros. 2nd overall 510

1971 E.A. Safari Rally Edgar Herrmann and Hans Schuller 1st overall 240Z
Shenkar Mehta/Mike Doughty 2 nd overall 240Z

1972- Monte Carlo Rally Rauno Aaltonen and Jean Todt 3 rd overall 240z

1973 Ivory Coast(Bandama) Rally Hermann and Schuller 1 st overall 610

1973 E.A. Safari Rally S. Mehta/Lofty Drews 1st overall 240Z
H Kallstrom/C. Billstam 2 nd overall 510

1973 Press On Regardless Rally J and C Smiskol 3rd 240z,J Rodgers/E Brooks 5th 510sss

1974 Rally of Portugal Harry Kallstrom/Claes Billstam 2nd in class 260z

Portugese Rally Z

1974 Rideau Lakes Rally E Jones/M Hathaway 5th overall 510

1975 Rally de Portugal Cortes/Gomes 5th overall 260z

1976 Acropolis Rally Kallstrom/Andersson 1st overall Datsun Violet
S. Mehta/ H.Liddon 3rd overall Datsun Violet

1977 Acropolis Rally Kallstrom/Billstam 3rd overall Datsun Violet
Siroco/Makrinos 5th overall Datsun Violet

1977 E.A. Safari Rally R. Altonen/ L. Drews 2nd overall Datsun Violet

1978 Acropolis Rally Mehta and Mehta 3rd overall Datsun Violet

1978 E.A. Safari Rally R. Altonen/ L. Drews 3rd overall Datsun Violet

1979 Acropolis Rally Timo Salonen/Seppo Hajanne 2 nd Violet
Kallstrom/Billstam 3rd overall Datsun Violet

1979 rally of Great Britain Salonen and Stuart Pegg 3 rd Violet

1979 E.A. Safari Rally Mehta/Doughty 1st overall Datsun Violet

1980 Acropolis Rally Timo Salonen/Seppo Hajanne 2 nd Violet

1980 E.A. Safari Rally Mehta/Doughty 1st overall Datsun Violet
R. Altonen/ L. Drews 2nd overall Datsun Violet

1981 New Zealand Rally Timo Salonen/Seppo Hajanne 1 st overall 160J Violet

1981 Corsican Tour de Course Rally Tony Pond/Ian Grindrod 3 rd Violet GT

1981 Rally of Argentina Shenkar Mehta/Yvonne Menta 2 nd overall Violet GT
Jorge Recalde/Jorge Del Buono 3 rd Violet 160J

1981 E.A. Safari Rally Mehta/Doughty 1st overall Datsun Violet
R. Altonen/ L. Drews 2nd overall Datsun Violet
Mike Kirkland/Dave Haworth 3 rd overall Datsun Violet

1982 E.A. Safari Rally Mehta/Doughty 1st overall Datsun Violet
Kirkland/Anton Levitan 3rd overall Datsun Violet

1983 New Zealand Rally Timo Salonen/Seppo Hajanne 1 st overall 240rs

1985 E.A. Safari Rally Kirkland/Anton Levitan 3rd overall Nissan 240rs

1988 E.A. Safari Rally Kirkland/ Robin Nixon 2nd overall Nissan 200sx
Per Eklund/Dave Whittrock 3rd Nissan 200sx

1989 E.A. Safari Rally Kirkland/ Robin Nixon 2nd overall Nissan 200sx

1992 Swedish rally Stig Blomquist/Benny Melander 3rd overall Sunny Gti-R

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