Nissan Silvia 240RS (Group B)

Published on: Jan 19, 2016 @ 17:13
Originally Published in: 2014 (old website)
(C) Jay Auger - website owner & author
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NISSAN Silvia 240 RS (BS110)

INTRODUCTION

The Nissan Silvia 240RS rally car was a direct evolution of the Nippon company’s previous works offering: the Datsun Violet GTS. In fact, due to almost identical specs under the skin, the 240RS can be considered as being a simply upgraded Group B version of the Group 4 Violet GTS. The rally car was designed with very conventional engineering, making it easy to drive and maintain, however this would soon make it unable to favourably compete against the bespoke Group B competition in the World Rally Championship (WRC).


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HISTORY

While the new Group B regulations introduced much leeway over its Group 4 predecessor, Nissan would mainly focus on improving the car’s wardrobe. The main differences between the 1982 Violet GTS and the 1983 Silvia 240RS were that the latter featured prominent squared fender flare extensions, a wider track and light polymer panels. The 240RS did also sport a slightly more powerful 237 BHP normally-aspirated engine in road trim – upped to 265 in the first spec of the rally car.

However, while on paper this made the conventional rear-wheel drive Nissan 240RS hardly a threat to the likes of its Audi quattro rivals, the rally car made up for its lack of outright speed with unsurpassed ruggedness and production car reliability hence making it a natural top contender in tough endurance events such as the Rallye Côte-d’Ivoire and the Safari Rally. In 1983, Timo Salonen managed to steer his 240RS into second place in the year’s New Zealand rally – netting the 240RS its best ever result in a WRC event.

While Audi, Lancia and Peugeot were dominating the top echelons of the WRC in 1984, Nissan would sneak in the 240RS’ best year in overall rally competition. Often untold, it is much note to mention that Shekhar Mehta finished third at the year’s Côte d’Ivoire Rally and also became Kenyan rally champion with the car. Other national championships were also won by 240RS teams; David Llewellin (Britain), George Moschous (Greece) and Vahan Terzian (Cyprus).

Timo Salonen

By the end of the year, Timo Salonen’s string of top ten finishes at the wheel of the Nissan 240RS caught the eye of Peugeot, offering the Flying Finn a contract for the 1985 season. With the more capable four-wheel drive 205 Turbo 16, Salonen would soon take over the spotlight from injured teammate Ari Vataten and win the WRC driver championship, also giving Peugeot their first manufacturer championship.

FJ24 Engine in rally spec

Hoping to continue on their backstage success, Nissan upped the ante for 1985 with a modest evolution model; a slight increase in engine displacement from 2340 to 2391 cc netted 12 BHP / 22 LB-FT more output while a new rack and pinion steering was implemented to replace the completely obsolete worm screw system. These minimal changes did not require a new 200-unit homologation run but Nissan had to build 20 of these “evolution” cars to be able to run the modifications and also offer the upgrades to privateer teams.

However, after the introduction of its Japanese cousin, the Toyota Celica TCT, which was similarly designed, as equally rugged, but much more powerful thanks to its turbocharged engine, the Nissan 240RS had a harder time imposing itself in endurance events. 1985 would see the 240RS’ last ever podium finish in the WRC when Mike Kirkland came in third behind two Toyota rivals in the year’s tough Safari Rally. Toyota would subsequently utterly dominate the 1985~86 endurance events and push the Nissans aside.

While being technically outclassed compared to the bespoke Group B competition, the 240RS nonetheless was a favourite amongst a fleet of no less than fifty privateers which were attracted by its low cost (roughly £25,000 at the time), ease of maintenance, good reliability and tame demeanour. Widely respected all-around by rally insiders, the Nissan 240RS is often referred to as being the most successful “underdog” of the Group B era.


RALLY CAR SPECIFICATIONS

Group/Class B/12 Homologation number: B-233 (click to see papers)
Years active
  • 1983~1986
  • EVO: 1985~1986
Homologation

  • start: January 1st 1983
  • end: December 31st 1989
Engine
Type FJ24, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas located front, longitudinal
Displacement
  • 2340 cc
  • EVO: 2391 cc
WRC:

  • 2340 cc
  • EVO: 2391 cc
Compression ratio
  • 11.0:1
  • EVO: 12.0:1
Output power – torque
  • 265 HP@ 7200 rpm
  • EVO: 277 HP@ 8000 rpm
  • 173 lb-ft (235 Nm) @ 6000 rpm
  • EVO: 195 lb-ft (265 Nm) @ 6200 rpm
Materials block: cast iron cylinder head: aluminium
Aspiration
  • natural / normal
  • 2 x 50 mm Solex PPH side draft carburettors
Ignition electronic, firing order 1-3-4-2
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system dry sump
Transmission
Type rear-wheel drive 5-speed gearbox
Gearbox ratios 1st: 2.818/1
2nd: 1.973/1
3rd: 1.470/1
4th: 1.192/1
5th: 1.000/1
Differential ratio 4.625/1 hypoid bevel gears, 75% limited-slip rear differential
Clutch dry, single disc
Chassis-body
Type Steel monocoque BS110 chassis with roll-cage, 2-door design with polymer body panels
Front suspension McPherson struts with lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic gas shock absorbers and antiroll bar
Rear suspension Live axle with four links, coil springs and telescopic gas shock absorbers
Steering system
  • worm screw
  • EVO: rack and pinion
Brakes front and rear ventilated disks dual circuit with servo
Dimensions
length: 4300 mm (169.3 in) width: 1800 mm (70.9 in) height: 1310 mm (51.6 in)
wheelbase: 2400 mm (94.5 in) front track: 1410 mm (55.5 in) rear track: 1395 mm (54.9 in)
Rims – tires 6″ x 14″ Dunlop 215/60-14
Dry/Unladen Weight 970 kg (2140 lbs)
Weight/power
  • 4.0 kg/HP (8.8 lb/HP)
  • EVO: 3.5 kg/HP (7.7 lb/HP)
Fuel tank

HOMOLOGATION VERSION

NISSAN Silvia 240RS (S110) – Road Car

In 1982, the sporty Silvia was a mainstream production model but Nissan decided to homologate its new rally car with a special modified version: the iconic square fender-flared 240RS. Produced at 200 units for Group B homologation, it was a no-nonsense rugged design that could be very easily modified for official rally duty and bring production car reliability to the game. Boasting 237 BHP and a curb weight of only 980 kgs, the 240RS was no slouch on the road and more than capable of holding its own against other sports cars. As it was the norm when producing an international-spec rally homologation special, the 240RS was left-hand drive as opposed to its home country’s usual layout. The car was priced at about £12,500 at the time of its release.


ROAD CAR SPECIFICATIONS

Class Compact Homologation number: B-233 (click to see papers)
Production 1982 (200 homologation units) Assembly: –
Engine
Type FJ24, I-4, DOHC 16v, gas located front, longitudinal
Displacement 2340 cc
Compression ratio 11.5:1
Output power – torque 237 HP@ 7200 rpm 177 lb-ft (240 Nm) @ 6000 rpm
Materials block: cast iron cylinder head: aluminium
Aspiration
  • natural / normal
  • twin carburettors
Ignition electronic, firing order 1-3-4-2
Cooling system water-cooled
Lubrication system N/A
Transmission
Type rear-wheel drive 5-speed gearbox
Gearbox ratios 1st: 2.818/1
2nd: 1.973/1
3rd: 1.470/1
4th: 1.192/1
5th: 1.000/1
Differential ratio 4.625/1 limited-slip rear differential
Chassis-body
Type Steel monocoque BS110 chassis, 2-door design body with polymer body panels
Front suspension McPherson struts with lower wishbones, coil springs, telescopic gas shock absorbers and antiroll bar
Rear suspension Live axle with four links, coil springs and telescopic gas shock absorbers
Steering system worm screw
Brakes front and rear ventilated rotors
Dimensions
length: 4300 mm (169.3 in) width: 1800 mm (70.9 in) height: 1310 mm (51.6 in)
wheelbase: 2400 mm (94.5 in) front track: 1410 mm (55.5 in) rear track: 1395 mm (54.9 in)
Rims – tires 6″ x 14″
Curb Weight 980 kg (2160 lbs)
Weight/power 4.1 kg/HP (9.1 lb/HP)
Fuel tank

VIDEOS


REFERENCES

 Affiliates Program – (free delivery worldwide!)

 Group B – The rise and fall of rallying’s wildest cars

Group 4 Group 4 – From Stratos to quattro

Safari Safari Rally: 50 Years of the Toughest Rally in the World (English + German)

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(C) Article by Jay Auger – website owner & author

  • Images & videos are the property of their original owners
  • Eifel Rallye Festival pictures used under permission – McKlein Publishing
  • All homologation papers are the property of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA): SOURCE
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