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Ford Rendered the Mustang GTD and Nissan the Porsche 911 Dakar Obsolete at SEMA

Ford Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA Show 12 photos
Photo: Ford / Nissan
Ford Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA ShowFord Mustang GT FP800S & Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute at SEMA Show
It was a busy end of October and the start of November across the automotive industry. And yet, here we are, looking back with love and respect at what happened in Japan during JMS and the United States during the 2023 SEMA Show.
Those who thought that after seeing the Geneva Motor Show move to Qatar and the dismal performance of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, these traditional automotive events are an endangered species probably didn't see anything from JMS and SEMA Show.

The summer, indeed, feels like the perfect time for alternate ideas – and the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK, plus the Monterey Car Week in the United States, certainly cemented the belief. But after a slow start at the IAA in Munich or NAIAS in Detroit, the fall automotive season has finally debuted with full force at the inaugural Japan Mobility Show and the traditional SEMA Show in Las Vegas.

Fear not, it is set to continue with more of the same as the Los Angeles Auto Show is approaching fast, and Toyota has already teased something great for the event – possibly the next-gen XV80 Camry mid-size sedan or at least the crossover SUV body style for the flagship Crown nameplate. Back to JMS (October 25 – November 5), the event formerly known as the Tokyo Motor Show for almost seventy years might preview a few things for the US market – such as an orange Nissan Z coming for the 2025MY or the upcoming all-electric Land Cruiser, among others.

As for the 2023 SEMA Show held in Las Vegas, Nevada, this venue was once traditional for aftermarket companies. However, over the past few years, OEMs have started to make their presence felt. This year, only some of them appeared officially at the event (October 31 – November 5), but they certainly made a splash. Although carmakers are not in love with passenger cars anymore, the reality is that the public still wants feisty sedans and coupes in their garages.

For example, Infiniti modified the Q50 Red Sport 400 to showcase a raft of factory accessories at SEMA – and many of them will also be available for the Q60. If you want something that clearly strikes out, a vintage Jaguar E-Type with a swapped Toyota Supra 2JZ engine, Corvette brakes, and a BMW M3 gearbox will obviously upset purists. But that one is a clear example of how the aftermarket world has to work right now when OEMs keep pushing for their dedicated accessories and performance upgrades, eating away at their market share.

I am going to treat the CUVs, SUVs, and trucks in a separate discussion. Now, I just want to fully appreciate two automakers that delivered swift blows to their competitors in a way that makes the corner office head honchos who approved them veritable geniuses. First, Nissan modified a 2024 Z into the ultimate retro-style rally machine. It's called Nissan Safari Rally Z Tribute as a way to hark back to the original Datsun 240Z that won the East African Safari Rally in 1971 and 1973.

The modern homage has a look inspired by the 1971 winner, a dark cherry red body shade, a black hood, additional round lights on the hood and in the bumper, plus the base of the A-pillars. The front is also adorned with a small tubular guard and skid plate, while inside, there are Recaro Pole Position seats, some retro timing devices, and many more modifications that can't be seen. Those include the 2.0-inch lifted custom KW Safari suspension, adjustable elements, bespoke 17-inch Nismo Safari wheels shod in meaty Yokohama Geolandar M/T G003 tires, and AMS tuned the twin-turbo 3.0-liter V6.

All in all, this Z – if it ever makes it into production with a price slightly below the 2024 Nissan Z Nismo ($65k), would make for an 'ultra-cheap' rival of the Porsche 911 Dakar and Lamborghini Huracan Sterrato special editions. That would teach them, right? Anyway, beyond the 400+ horsepower Safari-style Z, there was also the Ford booth, which included lots of high-riding stuff – Broncos, Rangers, and F-150 trucks. But above all of them towered something slammed – the 2024 Ford Mustang GT was modified to look great when fitted with the FP800S concept package.

The latter basically makes the ultra-expensive Ford Mustang GTD obsolete as it includes a supercharger kit and lots of additional goodies that will push any 2024 Ford Mustang GT with the 5.0-liter Coyote V8 engine beyond the 800-hp threshold! That's deep into Dodge Charger and Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye territory, and it's a shame the latter two won't be around to brawl with the Mustang GT FP800S at the local quarter-mile dragstrip when the package comes out from Ford Performance. Only one consideration – I do hope it won't cost as much as Dodge's Direct Connection Hellephant C170 crate engine (almost $28k), which is essentially the Challenger Demon 170's powerplant!

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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