The 1983 Nissan 240RS is One Obscure and Gnarly Homologation Special
You know about the more famous Group B cars—but how about this funky Nissan?
It's time to move on from Group B's usual suspects. Cars like the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16, MG Metro 6R4, and Audi Sport Quattro have graced covers of magazines, websites, Bring a Trailer, and major auction sales ad nauseum. We get it—factory rally-spec cars are neat, but do we really need to hear about how incredible the Ford RS200 for the millionth time? (Okay, yeah, we do. But still.)
Instead, check out this relatively obscure Nissan Silvia 240RS available at BH Auction's upcoming Tokyo Auto Salon sale. It's a welcome change of pace, as, for the most part, Group B's roster of power players was rather Eurocentric, with Lancias, Audis, Peugeots, and Citroëns usually taking home the gold. Japan cleaned house in later WRC series like Group A, primarily in the late 1980s and 1990s, but JDM efforts in Group B often go unnoticed.
The Nissan 240RS wasn't the most successful entrant, but it certainly looked the part with aesthetics that aggressively flaunted function over form. Large bolt-on flares fit perfectly with the angular design, and provide a unique trapezoidal profile to the wheel wells. Up front, a roughly cut square improves airflow to the engine. Since Nissan only had to build 200 of these—which it did—a smooth and cohesive design wasn't a priority.
Surprisingly, three-quarters of 240RS examples were built with left-hand drive, likely done in accordance with FIA regulations. There aren't many amenities for the driver or otherwise. The seats look comfy enough, but the dash features an impressive amount of dead space, only punctuated by smallish clusters of gauges and warning lights.
In direct contrast to the turbocharged, supercharged, and sometimes twin-charged all-wheel-drive meteorites that blitzed across Group B rally stages, the 240RS pulls power from Nissan's FJ24, a carbureted 2.3-liter four-cylinder developed specifically for rally competition. Its 237 horsepower and 173 lb-ft of torque were sent to the rear wheels through a manual transmission.
This example is particularly clean, with only 363 miles since new, and is a perfect chance to park an obscure piece of rallying history in your garage without appearing like a bandwagoner. If you happen to be in the Tokyo area this weekend, make sure to check out the auction before it's gone.