Nissan Patrols are commonly considered “forbidden fruit” in the US, and often imported privately. But once upon a time, from 1962 to 1969, one could buy actually a Nissan Patrol in the US at…your local Datsun dealer. A preview of coming attractions? Well, not the Patrol, but the Nissan brand. Nissan stopped importing the Patrol after 1969, although I’m not quite sure why. Was it poor sales compared to the more successful Toyota Land Cruiser? Or was it mandated by MITI, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade, which was extremely powerful back then and often called the shots in order to maximize market share for a specific product at the expense of another? I seem to remember reading something about that back in the day.
No worries; that’s all in the past, and the Patrol is now available in the US since last year, as the Nissan Armada (and was previously available as the 2103-up Infiniti QX56/80).
I can’t peg the year of this Patrol, but it seems to fall into the right vintage when these were sold in the US. And it’s certainly not RHD, which improves the odds further, as I doubt any were sold in Europe at the time. I know Australia has always been a strong market for the patrol, but of course they drive on the wrong side of the road too.
These Patrols are very much from the same mold as the old Land Cruisers, and also sport an ohv (4.0 L; 241 CID) inline six. The Toyota’s was rather very similar to the old Chevy six; so was this Nissan six original, or based on a British design, given that Nissan licensed Austin’s engine technology?
I found a picture of a restored 1967 P series six as used in these, and the valve cover does look rather like the big Austin 3 L six. According to Wikipedia, the P Series engine started out in 1955 as a flathead, so maybe it’s only the cylinder head that shows that Austin influence. A closer look suggests there’s no blatant resemblance, but some influence is likely, given the times and the Nissan-Austin relationship..
Horsepower started at 125, and then increased to 135 and then to 145, in 1965. The venerable P series six was built until 1983, which is a decade less than the Toyota F-series six.
The interior is as spartan as might be expected. There’s no less than five(!) levers sprouting from the floor. Who needs in-car entertainment when you’ve got all of these to keep you occupied.
The steering wheel with its flexible spokes does have a decidedly British air to it.
The view from the back. On a whim, I decided to zoom in on the speedometer to see if it was marked in mph.
Yes it is. And what’s that? An IH logo on it. Now that’s highly unexpected. And it looks so original. Can anybody help us out here?
The back sports the sideways flip-up seats, which are rather handy, unless one is carrying passengers regularly. But it’s a great way to squeeze six (or more) people back there in a pinch, on the two facing benches. Kids who grew up in the back of Country Squires will feel right at home.
Needless to say, these are rugged beasts, and have a cult following. Of course the Patrol never quite became the all-dominating off-road icon that the Land Cruiser did.
So finally Patrols are available in the US, and at Nissans dealers.
And if you’re wondering about the current version’s off-road prowess, here’s a video from Russia that shows it’s king of the (brick) hill.