What makes rally so interesting it that the cars you see in competition are all street legal, and built up off what’s on the showroom floor.

I don’t know how easy it is to build up a top-level Subaru or WRC Ford these days, but I do know that back in the ‘70s, anyone could walk into their local Datsun dealer and order themselves hot carbs, heavy duty suspension, and most whatever else to turn their 510 or 240Z into a stage rally machine. At least that’s what the old hands around Rally America events tell me.

I do know for sure that in the mid ‘80s, Nissan would sell you something damn close to a stage rally car right from the factory.

This is a 1987 Bluebird SSS-R. We in the US got this thing (a U12 Bluebird if you’re going by Nissan’s internal designation) as the utterly beige Stanza.


The SSS-R got a CA18DET dual-overhead cam 1.8 liter turbo four with an air-to-air intercooler slapped right on top.

The 182 horsepower went to all four wheels, all sitting on lowered suspension and backed up with mud flaps. Here is that ATTESA system, first implemented on this car, in fact.


The car came with a five-speed manual and this bitchin steering wheel.


For some reason, you got four-point belts, but also fully upholstered rear seats. For the belts to be any use, you’d need a roll cage. For that roll cage to be any good, you’d need to take the rear seats out.

Why this car has these back seats will remain a mystery for the ages.

Weight was 1281 kilos according to this site, or just over 2800 pounds. That’s supposedly up over a hundred kilos from a stock Bluebird with the 1.8, so you’re presumably getting a bunch of heavy-duty crap in this SSS-R.


And you can bet your ass it came with rally lights.


But surely there was a more capable stage rally car you could order from the factory than this thing. What’s the toughest production rally car you can think of?

Photo Credits: Nissan