The oldest model of Nissan patrol on the left and the most current model on the right.

Nissan Patrol turns 70: Celebrating a vehicle that combines power, luxury, and emotion

This year, Nissan's longest-running model turns 70.

A favorite amongst off-road enthusiasts and disaster relief organizations to the emergency services, military and adventurous families, the Nissan Patrol has earned an enviable reputation and rewarded its owners with seven decades of dependable service across the world.

We're marking this special year with a look back on Patrol's heritage through the memories of its owners. `#Patrol Legends' spotlights stories from around the world, celebrating those who have sat behind the wheel of the Patrol and built its legendary reputation, take a look here: TheNissanNEXT

While you're there, immerse yourself into the rich world of Patrol and learn how to harness its full power - from road to desert to mountains - in a series of `driving masterclass' videos.

But what makes this legendary car so iconic? How did Patrol build its reputation as the 'Hero of All Terrain'? 

1951 – 1960 FIRST GENERATION – Birth of a Legend

The Patrol story began in 1951, when post-war car production in Japan had only recently restarted, and the nation needed reliable off-road performance from a utility vehicle. Early in its history, the original Patrol – called the 4W Series and built in Hiratsuka – demonstrated its unique capabilities. It became the first car to climb Japan's revered Mount Fuji, a 2500-meter ascent.

This model was updated in 1955 with the 4W61, but it wasn't until the release of the 4W65/4W66 variants in 1958 that the vehicle first sported the Patrol badges on its bonnet.

Soon the Patrol's rugged 4x4 "Go Anywhere" capabilities became a favorite of both professional and recreational drivers, both in Japan and abroad, after Nissan began exporting Patrol in the early sixties.

The first generation 4W Series Patrol – first manufactured in 1951

1959 – 1980 SECOND GENERATION – Conquering the world

Steadily, the Patrol began conquering the world. The consumer-focused 60 Series took on every harsh environment. Australia played a significant role in Patrol's heritage, becoming one of the first international markets to sell the rugged off-roader outside of Japan from 1961.

One year later, a short-wheelbase G60 Patrol was the first motorized vehicle to cross the nation's grueling Simpson Desert, charting a path over more than 1100 sand dunes from the Northern Territory to Queensland in 12 days.

60 Series Patrol crossing the Simpson Desert in 1962

In the Middle East, the first Patrol arrived in Kuwait in 1957, and since then has been a cut above the rest – combining luxury and advanced technology with unmatched power and endurance. For drivers, owning a Patrol offered an unparalleled experience and quickly became a favourite across the Gulf, with royalty as well as celebrities.

In the US, the second-generation models were delivered in 1961. The Patrol was the first ever model to be sold as a `Nissan' in the United States, winning admiration from drivers throughout the 1960s, including the `King of the Cowboys' Roy Rogers himself, who in 1967 was a `brand ambassador' for Patrol.

Roy Rogers in a photoshoot for the 60 Series Patrol

In the early 60s, the Indian army obtained a license from Nissan to manufacture the Jonga. (Patrol 60) in Jabalpur. Jonga was used by the military, its name an acronym for `Jabalpur Ordnance and Guncarriage Assembly'. Jonga proved its worth in the 1965 and 1971 wars and other counter-insurgency operations in the country. Later, in 1996, the SUV was made for the public with a change in engine.

‘Jonga’ (Patrol 60) used by the Indian military

1980 – 1987 THIRD GENERATION – A car for everyone

The third generation, known as the 160, arrived in 1980. This was a watershed moment for the nameplate as Patrol expanded its appeal from an industry workhorse to a preferred choice for families and on-road motorists, adding a five-door layout, seating for seven people, and air-conditioning.

Nissan marketed the 160 Series and later models as the Safari in some markets (notably in Japan and in South Africa) and as the Patrol in others. The 160 Series represented the official introduction of the Patrol into the South African market, with a pick up version and a long wheelbase wagon featuring horizontally split tail gates.

In 1983, the 160 Series became the first Nissan made in Europe in Barcelona and, in 1987, the Nissan Patrol Fanta Limon became the first diesel vehicle to ever finish the Paris-Dakar in the Top 10. By 1988, the Patrol held 50% of the Spanish SUV market.

Start of production of the Patrol 160 in Barcelona - 1983

Patrol 160 ‘Fanta Limon’ competing in the 1987 Paris Dakar Rally

1987 – 1997 FOURTH GENERATION – Comfort and Performance

The fourth-generation Nissan Patrol, or Y60, was first produced in 1987. It was radically different from its predecessors as it was the first to be equipped with innovative all around coil spring suspension (only found on premium models like Range Rovers at the time), power steering, and synchromesh in reverse gear.

It was not only a great leap forward in terms of technical sophistication, but it featured enhanced levels of comfort.

4th generation Y60 Patrol in 1987

1997 – 2010 FIFTH GENERATION – Setting the benchmark for reliability

In December 1997, the fifth generation Patrol (Y61) appeared, bringing the vehicle into the modern age of motoring.

Reflecting evolving expectations, owners now demanded ever greater levels of both comfort and off-road performance.

Y61 Patrol came with a smoother body shape and a chunkier "v" grille, as well as seven-seat options and a pickup variant. The interior was given a refresh too, with new seats, trim and console. Satellite navigation and a reversing camera were also offered.

In 2016, the Y61 was brought back exclusively to the Middle East market, and launched as the Patrol Super Safari, catering specifically to off-roading fans in the region.

5th generation Y61 Patrol pictured in the Australian outback

2010 – Present SIXTH GENERATION – Record-breaking icon

The all-new, sixth generation, Y62 series Nissan Patrol was launched on 13 February 2010 at a VIP event in Abu Dhabi, reflecting Patrol's special relationship with customers in the Middle East.

Y62 launches in Abu Dhabi - 2010

Sporting firsts like Nissan's ALL MODE 4x4, Y62 is the most sophisticated Patrol to date, showing the accelerating importance of technology in today's automotive world. Features including Hill Descent Control and Hill Start Assist came with Y62.

Since its introduction, this model has claimed three Guinness records – the first in 2013 when it towed the world's heaviest aircraft. This was followed in 2015 with the fastest ascent of a 100-metre sand dune, and in 2018 when 180 Patrols performed the largest synchronized car dance.

Y62 Patrol claims its first world record pulling the world’s heaviest aircraft

In 2016, Nissan donated a Y61 Patrol to the Pilansberg National Park's rhino protection unit to help fight in the battle against illegal poaching of the park's black and white rhino population.

Patrol donated to the Pilansberg National Park’s rhino protection unit

The Y62 was also the first Nissan model to sport a NISMO version, launched exclusively to the Middle East region.

Y62 Patrol NISMO

6th generation Y62 Patrol

Patrol 70th Anniversary edition launched at Expo 2020 Dubai - 2021

Now in 2021, Patrol is still going strong 70 years after the first model rolled off the production line in Hiratsuka, Japan.

Although the car has evolved a great deal through the decades, the nameplate itself has remained an unchanging testament to Nissan engineering, having forged its reputation in the searing heat of deserts, rugged mountain slopes and modern city streets.

What distinguishes Patrol is the unique and varied experiences of its drivers, each of whom has their own story to tell. It is this lasting human connection with a very special vehicle that is Patrol's lasting legacy and the embodiment of Nissan's corporate purpose.