Now that lifted sports cars and supercars are official thanks to the Porsche 911 Dakar and Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato, you can bet your mod money on the fact that more enthusiasts are looking to mix two-door velocity thrills with rugged terrain. So, how about a jacked-up 2023 Nissan Z (aka 400Z) rally car that would serve as a budget alternative to the high-dollar specials mentioned above?
Sure, Nissan is working on the 2024 Z Nismo, but the automaker hasn’t offered any clue about releasing a high-riding Z. And while we’ve had a couple of ground clearance-altering 400Z tuning projects from the US and Japan, all of these took the sports car closer to the road, usually via air suspension.
By contrast, this Nissan 400Z rally car would take things in the other direction, literally aiming for the sky with its increased ride height. For now, we have a rendering of such a project and we’ll get to the deets shortly.
However, we’d be surprised if no tuner attempted a similar feat in real life, especially since the rallying genes are in the Z car’s DNA. Back in the early 1960s, Nissan fielded the predecessor of the 240Z, the SR Datsun Fairlady 2000, in the Monte Carlo Rally. The 240Z rally car took over in 1970 and competed in multiple rallies until 1974.
Of course, you don’t necessarily need this sort of rallying pedigree to enjoy lifted hooning in 2023—while Porsche has plenty of it, Lamborghini does not. However, this Nissan history should serve as motivation to any aftermarket developer willing to take the 2023 Nissan Z down this path.
This digital Nissan Z rally car looks like a clean Nismo effort
The 2023 Nissan Z rally car rendering we have here comes from the digital artist known as 722_modeling. And while we’ll stick to our aftermarket expectations for a possible real-life version, this effort looks like it came straight from the Nissan and Nismo garage.
It all starts with the rugged custom wheels, which, for some reason, sport a four-lug design. The beadlock setup helps secure the BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires during challenging terrain sections. Of course, the suspension would have to be seriously upgraded, with this essentially making for the most important part of the transformation.
Yes, you widebody addicts, there are overfenders ensuring those badass tires don’t cover everything in mud, with these being perfectly integrated into the body rather than standing out as they would for your usual tuner car.
Up front, the 400Z rally car features added lights for the bumper and WRC-style hood lights, with a bit of custom aero was also added to the apron.
And while we can’t quite peek inside the 3D creation, we can still see a roll cage and a spare wheel in the back, so this machine seems prepared for rally action, artist livery included.
Why the Nissan 400Z is an ideal candidate for a lifted sports car
The Nissan 400Z would make a brilliant choice for a lifted sports car, be it a factory or a custom offering. Admitedly, the RWD Nissan wouldn’t be able to follow the said Porsche and Lamborghini everywhere, since those are AWD machines.
Then again, the 911 Dakar has an MSRP of $223,450 and while US pricing for the Huracan Sterrato has yet to be released, this will put an even deeper dent into one’s finances. The 2023 Nissan Z, on the other hand, bets on the affordability card, since it kicks off at $39,990. Besides, the slight performance drawback exhibited against the Toyota Supra may just vanish during off-road racing…