Back to top

Retro Drive: Nissan Patrol

28 October 2016

So the resale value on a Nissan Patrol is a bit iffy. And they have a reputation for being a bit on the thirsty side. But a Patrol is one tough old 4×4, with a rock-solid reputation. We met up with a 27-year-old Patrol.

Some cars are just, well, cars. Other vehicles are members of the family. They form the basis of every adventure story worth telling, as is the case with this 1989 Nissan Patrol.

It’s owner – or family member rather – is Frans van Niekerk. Frans purchased the Patrol in 1992 with 122 000 on the clock for a modest R92 000. Over the last two decades, he has added more than 100 000km to that tally.

“I bought the Patrol, because I had purchased a rather large caravan a few months before and had nothing to tow it with. Most people buy the car and then the caravan, but I did it the other way round,” said Frans.

He spotted it at a dealership next to Zambezi Road in Pretoria North and fell in love immediately. The purchase price was a bit steep back in 1992, but his heart spoke louder than his brain and the rest, as they say, is history.

This particular model is from the Y60 range and is fitted with the most powerful engine available at that time: a 4.2-litre straight six petrol.

Back when it was new, it produced 135kW and 320Nm of torque and it sent this power to the wheels via a five-speed manual gearbox. Engines tend to lose power over the years, mostly due to negligence, but we have no doubt that this engine is still as powerful as the day it first turned over. And unlike so many other classics we’ve experienced these last few months, this Patrol’s big-six engine jumped to life on the first try.

The cabin was probably a revelation back in the day. It has a few luxury features, but mostly stuff we take for granted in even small cars these days. What you don’t expect is the comfort of the thing. But, then again, the Y60 was built to take the fight to the Range Rover.

In 1987, Nissan started building the comfort-biased Patrol we all know and love. It was the first Patrol with a three-link live axle suspension up front and a five-link at the rear. The agricultural model soldiered on with leaf springs, but the first of the luxury Patrols turned out to be quite popular.

So much so, that every model after followed the same recipe. We don’t get the larney Patrol in South Africa anymore, but if US reports are to be believed, it’s an adequate competitor to the current Range Rover.

Even with this newfangled suspension set-up, the Patrol’s 4×4 ability remained intact. Frans never took his Patrol out of South Africa, but it spent numerous holidays at Sodwana Bay. On one of these trips, the Patrol carried the entire family, their luggage and snorkelling equipment.
Unlike some other vehicles we’ve featured before, this one is not for sale. It’s a member of the Van Niekerk family, after all.

Engine: 4.2-litre inline six petrol
Capacity: 4 169cc
Power: 135kW @ 4 400r/min
Torque: 320Nm @ 3 200r/min
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Tare weight: 2 473kg
Drive system: Part-time four-wheel drive (2H, 4H & 4LOW)
Traction aids: Differential lock
0-100km/h: 15.7 seconds
Top speed: 150km/h

Text and photos: Gerhard Horn