The sexy Nis­san

Fans re­gard it as a clas­sic, writesGRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

MOST of us are fa­mil­iar with HSV and FPV, the per­for­mance arms of Holden and Ford, but how many of us have heard of Nis­san’s Spe­cial Ve­hi­cles Divi­sion? If you haven’t you’re prob­a­bly in the ma­jor­ity, be­cause few would re­mem­ber the sim­i­lar op­er­a­tion Nis­san set up in the late 1980s to breathe fire into the brand.

The idea for SVD came from Paul Beranger, then Nis­san’s head of mar­ket­ing and prod­uct plan­ning, but bet­ter known now as head de­signer at Toy­ota.

Nis­san was a con­tender in tour­ing car racing and Beranger rea­soned it would help sell Sky­lines if the com­pany could make a more di­rect con­nec­tion be­tween its track suc­cess and its run-of-the-mill mod­els.

Beranger’s idea was to build a run of lim­ited-edi­tion sporty mod­els to boost the Sky­line’s im­age. the front sta­biliser bar, and mod­i­fied the front cross-mem­ber to al­low for in­creased neg­a­tive cam­ber.

The front brakes were also up­graded and the pro­por­tion­ing valve spring was al­tered to change the point it was trig­gered.

Fi­nally the car was fit­ted with an alarm to keep it safe and sound.

A sec­ond ver­sion was re­leased in 1989 and most rate it the most de­sir­able. It was bea­con red, and with its white al­loy wheels it stood out . . . like a bea­con.

The en­gine out­put was boosted to 140kW at 5600 revs and 270Nm at 4400 revs cour­tesy of a re­vised camshaft, a chip, stain­less-steel ex­trac­tors, a 2.5-inch ex­haust sys­tem, and a ported cylin­der head.

This time Nis­san of­fered the choice of a four-speed auto or the five-speed man­ual.

When pressed the Sil­hou­ette GTS would race to 100km/h in 9.3sec and cover the stand­ing 400m sprint in 16.6sec. Its top speed was 220km/h.

Had Nis­san not pulled the pin on lo­cal pro­duc­tion, there would have been a third Sil­hou­ette GTS. It would have been white and gold and been pow­ered by the tur­bocharged ver­sion of the six-cylin­der en­gine that Holden used in the VL Com­modore.

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