When you think about the Group B Rally, your mind will wander around the battle between the Lancia 037 and the Audi Quattro. Or perhaps you’ll remind yourself of the racers who had an enormous amount of guts to prance 400 horsepower-plus cars on the dirt while the track is constantly swarmed by spectators and bystanders. In racing terms, Group B was a prestigious kind of hell. Drivers are pushed to their limits to control their mindlessly fast machines on loose grounds just to reach overall victory for their constructor and themselves.
For me, I’d choose drifting over Group B rallying.
Contrary to Group B’s ‘hellish’ characteristic, drifting is mainly for fun. You take any rear-wheel driven car to your nearest race track or gymkhana park, push it hard sideways, and make sure you don’t crash. Pretty simple right? From that simplistic approach of fun, it has transformed into the temple of fame for sports cars like the Nissan Silvia. Wherever you are, there will always be a drifting Silvia in the hands of a novice or a professional.
However, long before the Silvia became well known in the drift scene, it raced the prestigious rally hell we’ve talked about. It was during the third generation S110 Silvia when Nissan took notice about the ‘existence’ of Group B and their rival Toyota was prepping some TA64 Celicas for it. Since Nissan wanted to join the party, its engineers took 200, or so, S110 Silvia coupes and transformed it into the ‘Group B special’ 240RS.
The 240RS transformation was…oddly simple.
From the outside, the 240RS looks exactly like the boxy S110 Silvia Coupe, albeit with several exceptions. First, the front facade is more aggressive with a wider sculpted bumper, new additional lamps, grated hood, and a bigger grille. Its sides are cladded with boxy tacked-on overfenders which look the part with the car. Last but not least, the rear end looks exactly like the usual Silvia but with a ducktail attached on the bonnet. The interior, on the other hand, was stripped out of features. Don’t expect the 240RS to be your next comfortable cruiser.
Its powerplant wasn’t exactly on par with other Group B fire breathers either. While Audi, Lancia, and even Peugeot made engines capable of producing 500 horsepower engines. Nissan on the other hand fitted the 240RS with a carbureted 2,340 cc FJ24 that produces a mere 237 horsepower and 235 Nm of torque. No turbochargers, no superchargers, just some carburetors and a manual gearbox that sends the power to the rear wheels. Yes, the S110 240RS is rear-wheel drive, similar to all Silvias it precedes and succeeds. If compared, the 240RS is nowhere close to even Toyota’s Celica Twin Cam Turbo.
As a result of this concoction, the 240RS reached limited success in the so-called ‘prestigious hell.’ Its best finish was second in the 1983 New Zealand Rally, and that’s about it. Nissan’s last stint with the car was near the end of Group B in 1986 with one last Evolution for the 240RS that bumped up the power to about 275 horsepower. Just that, unexpectedly, the Group B Rally was outlawed in the same year.
The Silvia 240RS is Nissan’s forgotten Group B rally racer.
From AutoVerso Media Instagram
Editorial: The AutoVerso Team
Sources: speedhunters.com, automobilemag.com, drivetribe.com