Tuesday, 23 July 2013

K10 SuperTurbo R

Words & photos: Daniel Bevis

The first-generation Nissan Micra, the K10, was everything a supermini should be - cheap, simple, practical, sensible. But sporting potential exists within every corner of the motoring sphere (yes, it's a special kind of sphere that has corners), and a sporty K10 was always inevitable; the all-aluminium engine was eminently tunable, and the Japanese hot hatch crowd lapped up the spicy mid-eighties Micra Turbo.

...but nobody really saw the SuperTurbo coming. It was built as a limited-run homologation special in 1988/9, allowing Nissan to chuck the little Micra around some gravelly lanes with enough wasabi under the bonnet to ensure that it was competitive. Now, the name 'SuperTurbo' is a bit of a clue - it's both supercharged and turbocharged, allowing the road car's dinky 930cc engine to kick out 108bhp @6,400rpm. This is, in many ways, the ultimate kei car.
The Group A SuperTurbo R, as we see here nestled snugly in the rally paddock at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, ran somewhere between 130-160bhp depending on boost, and weighed just 860kg. Per Eklund took one to 21st place in the 1988 RAC Rally, and 10th in the '89 Acropolis. It may not have been the most successful or memorable of late-eighties rally cars - eddying in the wake of the short-lived tsunami of Group B, Group A minnows tend to get forgotten - but it's a very cool little thing, and worth remembering. From its peculiarly drilled aero grill to those boisterous rally spots and lurid Camel livery, the SuperTurbo R took the humble Micra and turned it into something fierce.

Click here for more photos from the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed

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