The Nissan 240 RS is one of the great unsung heroes of the certifiably insane Group B rally era, it’s a naturally aspirated vehicle that only made 270 bhp in race trim, yet it still managed a number of national level rally championship wins, World Rally Championship podium places, and a series of impressive results in African safari rallies.

The Nissan 240 RS was directly based on the earlier Datsun Violet GTS Group 4, power was provided by a naturally-aspirated Nissan FJ24 inline four-cylinder engine with double overhead cams and power was sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed transmission.

Fast Facts – Nissan 240 RS Group B

  • The Nissan 240 RS was the Japanese automaker’s top flight rally car between 1983 and 1985, they also built 200 road-going examples for homologation purposes.
  • Despite the fact that the car was naturally aspirated with rear wheel drive, it still put on a strong showing, and became a popular Group B underdog.
  • Perhaps the single most important attribute of the Nissan 240 RS was its toughness and reliability, many results came thanks to faster cars breaking down.
  • Surviving examples of the Nissan 240 RS are now highly collectible, and typically far more affordable than their more famous Group B rivals.

The Arrival Of The Nissan 240 RS Group B

In 1979 four-wheel drive systems were legalized for racing by FISA, yet only German automaker Audi took advantage of it, with their first generation Audi Quattro. The car offered blisteringly quick stage times but was somewhat unreliable, other manufacturers felt that the added weight and complexity of an all-wheel drive system would cancel out any benefits.

Above Video: This is an original 1980s-era Nissan promotional film about the 240RS, understandably it focusses on the car’s reliability rather than its all-out speed.

Though no one knew it at the time, the Quattro heralded a new age in international rally, an age where forced induction and all-wheel drive were almost obligatory if you wanted any hope of winning.

If it wasn’t for the arrival of Group B in 1983, the story of the Nissan 240 RS may be quite different. By the standards of the late-1970s the car was exceedingly quick, possibly even capable of winning the World Rally Championship.

When the Nissan 240 RS arrived in 1982 it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t going to be regularly challenging for wins. The pace of its competitors was too strong, and the speed of their development was difficult to match.

Instead, Nissan focussed much of their attention on areas where they knew they had an advantage – endurance rallies and national-level rally championships. This became a winning strategy for them as the cars were strong, and they were far more affordable than the exotic offerings from the likes of Audi and Lancia.

The Nissan 240 RS In Competition

By the time the car left competition in the late-1980s it had racked up national championship wins in Kenya, Britain, Greece, and Cyprus. The best WRC result was a 2nd place finish in the 1983 New Zealand Rally, and the car would take podium places in the Rallye Côte-d’Ivoire and the Safari Rally.

Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 10

Image DescriptionThe toughness of the 240 RS meant that it could be successful against more powerful competition, oftentimes just by outlasting them.

Today the surviving race cars are mostly tucked away in private collections or museums, and the road-legal homologation cars are a rare sight. Race cars with successful period competition history only seem to come up for sale rarely, but they’re always popular when they do.

The Nissan 240 RS Shown Here

The car you see here is the 1986 Nissan 240 RS that was driven by Alain Ambrosino and his co-driver Daniel Le Saux in the 1987 Zaire Safari Rally with an impressive 2nd place finish.

The car was road registered in the Ivory Coast then later imported into France where it was acquired by collectors and placed on exhibit. Thankfully the car was preserved exactly as it was when it finished the Zaire Safari Rally, making it an invaluable window into the golden age of rally.

If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Artcurial. It’s due to roll across the auction block on the 24th of October with a price guide of $151,000 to $221,000 USD.

Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 15

Image DescriptionThis car has been well preserved since its last race outing in Africa, it now just needs a recommissioning before taking to the classic rally circuit.

Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 17 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 2 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 1 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 11 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 18 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 8 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 7 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 16 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 6 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 5 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 14 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 4 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 3 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 13 Nissan 240 RS Groupe B 12

Images courtesy of Artcurial

Published by Ben Branch -