I was lucky enough to attend the concept launch for the Nissan JUKE – in 2010 I think; safe to say the marketing hype (and the concept vehicle itself) at the time did not eventually translate into the Nissan vehicle we were shortly to see. Everything at the launch was set to 10 on the extreme sports scale, with uncomfortable looking wipe-down bucket seats and nothing that water might damage in sight; there was even a parkour team jumping all around the vehicle on display.
I liked that concept and was a little disappointed with the JUKE that finally appeared a while later. So it’s interesting to see this JUKE Rally Tribute concept vehicle – it certainly dials the clock back to a more hardcore vehicle. Though somewhat surprisingly, it’s taken a reference to a particular Nissan 240Z to realise this extreme-looking Nissan JUKE.
The Nissan 240Z rally car garnered admiring looks and favourable reports due to its winning exploits in the Africa East Africa Rally some 50-odd years back. The black bonnet, red paintwork and prominent number 11 in a white circle are all replicated faithfully, along with some formidable looking large-scale alloy wheels which sit under enlarged wheel arches to accommodate the huge size upgrade. It even features retro Shell advertising, just like the original 240Z rally car.
Nissan are keen to point out that, should this impressive beast ever see the light of day, it would run on a hybrid electric powertrain giving an increase in torque and overall efficiency. It certainly looks a million miles away from any electric vehicle we might have seen back only a few years, let alone in 1971 when the 240Z Rally rose to fame at the expert hands of driver Edgar Herrmann with his navigator Hans Schüller.
Nissan has chosen to release these concept images at the same time as the Safari Rally Kenya kicks off – celebrating a return to the World Rally Championship after 19 years. The JUKE Rally Tribute features a modern LED lightbar set into the roof rack, but those circular lamps (along with that shade of red) certainly remind of the classic look of rally vehicles from the sixties and seventies; especially to my mind that famous Monte Carlo MINI Cooper from the early sixties.
The JUKE Rally Tribute foregoes a rear windscreen to allow for two chunky spare tyres to sit for easy access, and a redesigned skid plate and rear bumper hints at what this JUKE is designed for.
Not to let you down too much, but these fine images are renders only – the JUKE Rally Tribute doesn’t exist in real life yet. Though in 2022 Nissan will bring us a hybrid powertrain for the QASHQAI in the form of the e-hybrid, charging its battery via the 1.5-litre fossil fuel engine. So that might give us some hope that this fine-looking JUKE tribute concept might one day see the light of day. Who knows, there might even be an independent builder out there relishing the prospect right now.
Let me know what you think in the comments section below.
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