Classifieds Find: 1963 Nissan Patrol

This 1963 Nissan Patrol is a vehicle that would suit someone who is seeking a classic off-roader but would like to own something a bit different from the average examples that you see on our roads today. While it might be wearing a significant coating of surface corrosion, it is actually a very solid vehicle that would seem to represent a great restoration project. It is located in Rodeo, California, and has been listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. You can take the Patrol home for the bargain-basement price of $2,500.

The 60-Series was the 2nd generation of the Patrol and was released in 1960. However, it didn’t find its way into American Datsun showrooms until 1962. It was nothing if not rugged, and this was best demonstrated by its achievements on foreign soil. In 1962, a 60-Series Patrol short wheelbase was the first vehicle of any description to successfully cross Australia’s arduous Simpson Desert. I have had the rare privilege to travel to this location, and it really is one of the most hostile locations on the planet. That makes the crossing quite an achievement because even modern vehicles find the going to be extremely tough. This particular Patrol may not have achieved such lofty goals, but it still has the potential to get its owner into some pretty remote locations once returned to active duty. The surface corrosion covers the majority of the external panels, but if you look past that, actual penetrating rust would appear to be quite minimal. I can spot a small amount in the lower rear quarter panel on the passenger side, along with some at the point where the top meets the quarter panels on both sides of the vehicle. These areas are pretty insignificant, and I believe that they could be addressed quite well with some simple patches. I would even go as far as to stress the word “simple” in this case, because one of the attractions of these Patrols for anyone contemplating restoration, is the fact that so much of the body’s surface area is manufactured from flat steel sections. That makes fabricating patch panels significantly easier than for similar vehicles from other manufacturers. There are a few dings and dents that will need to be addressed, but once again, we’re not really talking about anything major. There are a couple of badges and light lenses that are missing, but all of the glass is present, and it all seems to be in good condition.

Getting the 1963 Patrol up and moving fell to a 3,956cc 6-cylinder engine. The vehicle also featured a 3-speed manual transmission, along with a dual-range transfer case. The engine pumped out a healthy 135hp, but it was the 217lbs/ft of torque, available at a mere 1,700rpm, that gave the Patrol its impressive off-road abilities. The engine in this Patrol doesn’t currently run, but it does turn freely. The engine itself is missing a few minor components like the rotor and distributor cap, but sourcing these will be quite easy. The transmission and transfer case are both gone, but the driveshafts are included in the sale. This need not be a huge problem, because it is possible to slot a later transmission and transfer case into the vehicle, and this could open the way fo substituting a later 4-speed transmission to improve vehicle flexibility.

The Patrol’s interior is very typical of off-roaders of this era and features plenty of painted surfaces. That is no bad thing because it does make interior restoration a very easy task. There are some aftermarket gauges fitted to the center of the dash, but otherwise, it all appears to be original. One surprise is the fact that the vinyl covers on the seats are in good condition. In fact, the interior of the Patrol is quite serviceable as it currently stands, so the buyer could choose to return the vehicle to a roadworthy state, and then drive it essentially untouched. Otherwise, a restoration would be a satisfying job that could be tackled in a home workshop.

Off-road project vehicles can sometimes represent some significant initial outlays, but this 1963 Patrol would seem to represent a lot of car for your cash. Once returned to active duty, it is a vehicle that could transport its new owner into some pretty remote locations with a high degree of confidence. They were only offered for sale in the US between 1962 and 1969, but they remained in other markets from 1960 until 1980. That means that sourcing parts is actually pretty easy, and when you start to combine that factor with their legendary off-road abilities and the low asking price, that has to make this vehicle a tempting proposition.


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  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    The brown repaint makes me think that it might have been
    owned by PG&E.That was their signature color until 1979.

  2. Mark

    Some parts are available but don’t think your going to run down to your local Autozone and pickup parts for this beast. A Nissan dealer may carry a few bits and pieces but your best luck is going to be Ebay. Sourcing a replacement Transmission and Transfer case will take some work. The prospective buyer will want to join the group. I’ve had a 63 Nissan Patrol Soft Top for 5 years and the 60Patrol site and members have been a huge resource for me. These are neat vehicles that always turn heads and generate discussions.

    ShowMe Patrol

    Like 4
  3. Buckskin

    We got a nearly new one as a repo from a bank. It served our shop for probably 20 years or more. The torque and low range made it capable of towing or pushing any disabled vehicle in for repairs.
    We used to go hunting and drove up the mountain as slow as you wanted to go (barely a walk). My Mom also used it to carry kids to Vacation Bible school. We packed 9 people (mostly young kids) in it. The fold down center facing rear seats each had three kids sitting on laps when necessary.
    I remember getting parts for it back in the late 60’s and 70’s was a chore. The dealer needed VIN and model and anything else available to identify it. Order and wait. The underwater ignition parts (cap, wires and plugs) made adapting to standard USA parts impossible. I think most of these were on the west coast, so east coast dealers were not familiar with them. I guess parts had to shipped cross country and next day air was not a choice.
    The engines are a close copy of the GM engines from the 50’s.

    Like 1
  4. Buckskin

    I wanted to mention that top speed was 40 mph. You could hit 45 but short wheelbase, narrow track, and twitchy steering made it real exciting. HANG ON!

    I won’t be driving it cross country. Good luck to the new owner!

    Like 3
  5. Mike Campo

    You sure Production ended in 1980? I seem to have seen later models for sale in the Philippines.

  6. TimM

    The Toyota FJ got all the attention and the Nissan wasn’t given a second thought!!! I like these more closely related to the Willis jeep I had!!

    Like 1

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