Forget about drifting, Nissan Silvia 240RS was a rally homologation model
One of the forgotten Group B legends
Nissan Silvia was, and still is, the car for drifting. Swapped in a Toyota 1JZ, 2JZ engine and tuned them to over 700hp, combined with some extreme bodywork. Numerous S13, S14 and S15 ended up in making donuts and burning tyres. Many would think that this is the only characteristic of cars that badged "Silvia" capable of, apart from its sports car basics. However, some might miss out the fact that Silvia was a rally car. It participated no other races, except the infamous Group B, competing with monsters like the Delta S4 and off-road giants Audi Quattro. Just like the other Group B race cars, homologation variant was produced.
Say hello to Nissan Silvia 240RS, the homologation model of Nissan's Silvia rally car. We all know that Japanese manufacturers were doing extraordinarily well in the 90s Group A era with vehicles like the Nissan Pulsar GTI-R, Toyota Celica, Toyota Corolla, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Europeans controlled the early to mid 80s group B era, for example, the 205 T16 from Peugeot and the 037 from Lancia. However, little did we know was that Japanese manufacturers had already put their hands on WRC rallying back to the Group B era. One was Toyota with their white and red boxy Celica Twincam That car did put some pressure on those which dominated the races, winning the Safari Rally 1985. The other one was, of course, the car in this article, Nissan Silvia 240RS. Starting from the exterior, you immediately notice that this shouldn't be an ordinary Nissan S110. The awkwardly huge and angular bolt-on-flares fit surprisingly well to the also angular exterior. The flares also told you that the car was no joke. A square was cut upfront to improve air intake. All the visible and function over form modifications made the 240RS looked very racy, carrying a strong homologation feel. Back in 1983 if you were looking forward to buying one. You saved the cost of choosing which colour matched this vehicle since white was the only colour option available.
The interior was the place which showed its true identity. It was a complete opposite to a nicely finished normal Silvia. The interior was as blend as it could be. You could basically see the body of the car as there was no materials covering it. What you got between the driver and the passenger, or co-pilot to be exact was nothing more than a shifter and a hand brake. The whole dashboard was once again showing its function over form race car nature. You only got a speedometer, and a tachometer in the centre, with a few more small meters finished the whole setting. The passenger side got nothing else except a handle. Aircon? Nope. Glovebox? Nope. However, you got rather comfortable seats in terms of rally car standard.
As the model name suggested, this unique model equipped with a carbureted 2.4L straight-four, producing 237hp. Quite a respectable figure back in the early 80s. However, it looked underpowered when its competitors were crazily turbocharging and supercharging their engines pumping over 500hp. Code name FJ24, the engine was the top-of-the-line engine variant of Nissan FJ engine series. Original displacement was 2L and used mainly on R30 Skylines and the later S12 Silvias. Nissan enlarged the engine's displacement to 2.4L and used solely on this rally model. Not using any turbocharging technologies and chose carburettors instead was not the only engineering quirks of this car. When everyone was going four-wheel-drive, it was still using rear-wheel-drive. The Lancia team was also rear-wheel-drive, but they got insane superchargers. This made the Nissan looked somewhat outdated and boring.
With all those "traditional" engines and technologies equipped, the racing performance of Nissan's rally car was unsurprisingly poor. Finished in second in the 1983 New Zealand Rally was its best result. Nissan quickly retired its car after three years in racing in 1985 with no immediate successor. I was glad to see that the next WRC rally car carrying the Nissan brand, the Pulsar GTI-R was quite a success. After the premature demise of Group B in 1986, the Silvia 240RS was being forgotten. In recent years prices of various homologation models, especially the Lancia ones, skyrocketed. The 240RS is still a very mysterious model, with a very rare chance of seeing an example for sale. Speaking of sales, let's talk about the sales figures of the 240RS. Pretty much like other homologation models, the production number was limited to 200. Although it was a Japanese car, only 50 examples were right-hand-drive, the remaining 150 examples were left-hand-drive. Among those 150 examples, some converted to race cars, so the actual number of stock ones remain unknown. What we know was that this was an one of its kind rally machine. It represented the beginning of a new era, the enter of the land of the rising sun. It might not be the quickest, the most recognisable one. It definitely was one of the most special ones.
What do you think about the Nissan Silvia 240RS? Is it the most special Silvia? Have you heard of it or seeing one of these? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading, and see you next time.