Skip to main content

How the 'Japanese Jeep' became a V8 Supercar

The Nissan Patrol, often called the "Japanese Jeep," has deep roots in the offroading culture globally. Now its engine is, of all places, in V8 Supercar racing in Australia.

In a video from Nissan and NISMO, Altima V8 Supercar driver Todd Kelly showcases the race-ready engine they use in the Altima V8 for the popular Australian high-powered circuit. What's unexpected is the source of the engine. It's not from a performance car like the GT-R or 370Z, but is instead from the sport utility known as the Nissan Patrol in most parts of the world.

Here in the United States, we call the Patrol the Infiniti QX56, the sixth-generation of the long-lived Patrol. In its first and second-generations (1951 to 1980), the Patrol was often called the "Japanese Jeep" for its similarity to the Willys Jeep and British Land Rover vehicles. It earned an equal reputation to those storied offroad machines for its own robust build and capability.

The current-generation of the Patrol / QX56 uses a muscular 5.6-liter V8 engine, the VK56 series. To build the ultimate Altima V8 Supercar, the Jack Daniels Racing and NISMO teams took that VK56 and dropped it to 5.0-liters while adding tuning to create the engine that's blasting around the Supercar Series this year in Australia.

In essence, as this video shows, the SUV has become a V8 Supercar. Quite the twist. The race team was also surprised to find out that the road-based engine they're using is, unlike most other race-specific engines common to the circuit, capable of going for much longer periods before requiring a rebuild.