Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
10/7/20 11:22 a.m.
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If you had the money to get a supercar in the '80s, you probably went to Ferrari, Lamborghini or even Porsche. But Nissan, perhaps influenced by the Japanese bubble economy, wanted to be on that list, too.

At the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show, Nissan pulled the cloak off the MID4 concept: a mid-engine, all-wheel-drive supercar.

The MID4 showcased a number of innovations, namely the newly designed VG30DE V6 engine, HICAS four-wheel steering, and a prototype all-wheel-drive system that was the predecessor of the ATTESA system later found in the R32-chassis GT-R.

No official horsepower numbers were offered, but based on the production VG30DEs found in the Z31- and Z32-chassis 300ZX, they might have been somewhere in the ballpark of 200-250.

A second-generation model, known as the MID4-II, would take the stage at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show, this time sporting a twin-turbocharged VG30DETT engine that raised the output to around 330 horsepower.

Perhaps most interesting about the MID4-II, though, was its uncanny resemblance to the Honda NSX.

Do you think the MID4 and MID4-II would have put Nissan on the map as a supercar maker—and potentially allowed the brand to beat Honda to the punch? Or is it better that this ambitious supercar was deemed too expensive to produce?

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slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
10/7/20 12:49 p.m.

There's a model kit of this. It looks like it would've been a cool car if they produced it.

 

I was looking at ebay for the model kit and ran across this 1/64 scale car, and it triggered a memory. I had one of these, and didn't even know what it was! I can't remember if it was this color, but I definitely remember the MID-4 text on the side of it. Wish I knew what happened to it.

iansane
iansane Reader
10/7/20 1:48 p.m.

I see a whole lot of 240sx in the front end and a whole lot of early z31 in the back end.

JoeyM
JoeyM Mod Squad
10/7/20 2:27 p.m.

part z car, part ferrari.  I dig it.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
10/7/20 2:31 p.m.

I see first gen mr2 in the front aswell.

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
10/7/20 3:57 p.m.

I was expecting MID4 to mean four cylinders, with this being a competitor to the MR2 and Fiero. Was not expecting a VG30DE powered all wheel drive car. It does sound interesting, and looks great, but I'm not sure how much of an improvement it would have been over the 300ZX (and Skyline) that we did get.

Also - who thought a supercar should be painted tan? The red is a lot better.

ShawnG
ShawnG UltimaDork
10/7/20 5:28 p.m.

I see a lot of Fiero in that.

buzzboy
buzzboy Dork
10/7/20 7:33 p.m.

I see some S13 in the front fenders. Interesting. Good looking car though. Wonder how it would have sold along the Skyline?

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) PowerDork
10/7/20 9:09 p.m.

It's hard to imagine one of the bigger manufacturers like Nissan having this car, the Skyline, the Z's, and the Silvia / 240SX all on sale at the same time.  I think the Skyline makes more sense as there's more parts that would cross over to these other models. 

I see a lot of 90's Esprit with bits of Skyline and Silvia in the mix, especialy in the interior.  That's kind of a fun thought, actually; an Esprit but built by Nissan instead of Lotus, with a 330hp twin-turbo Nissan engine instead of the Lotus 907, and then all-wheel drive similar to that of the Skyline.  Seems like a great car to own and a good way to lose money on every unit sold.

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
10/7/20 9:28 p.m.

"Nissan" and "almost built" have a familiar ring to it.  

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
10/7/20 9:42 p.m.

I shudder at the thought of working on a VG30DETT packaged in the middle of a car.

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
10/7/20 11:10 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

I shudder at the thought of working on a VG30DETT packaged in the middle of a car.

What? You don't have disfigured carnival worker fingers?

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
10/7/20 11:47 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

Don't forget, back then Nissan was on a high with a performance image courtesy of their IMSA GTP program.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 8:58 a.m.

Holy carp, an 80's vehicle I wasn't aware of!  It's actually really cool, I wish it had been built. 

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/8/20 9:01 a.m.

I am wondering how much one of these would be worth if they had of actually built them considering the cost of a lot of other Japanese cars now.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 9:12 a.m.

In reply to 93EXCivic :

Just look at the NSX I'd guess

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 9:20 a.m.

Looks like a 944 and an FC RX7 had a baby.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/8/20 10:09 a.m.

The styling on that looks much better than the usually rather blocky Nissan products in that period.  Wonder who did that - an Italian stylist or one that had just been studying Italian styling. Either way, it works.

I think I like it better than the NSX, which always looked odd except in black until they finally stopped having the black top no matter what colour the rest of the body was.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 11:48 a.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:

Looks like a 944 and an FC RX7 had a baby.

Since the FC cribbed the styling of the 944 (the 924 was used for the 1st gen RX), that's a bit too close to inbreeding...

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 1:37 p.m.

I see more Venturi 300 or a Peter Stevens Esprit  than an NSX, 944 or Rx7.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/8/20 2:45 p.m.

Hmm, I've just realized the MID 4 has a wheelbase of 95.9".  Esprit's had a wheelbase of 95-97" and there are lot's of beyond hope Esprit's out there.  There are lot's of VG30 engines out there.  Some skilled bugger with time on his or her hands could build quite a cool replica.  The windscreen of the Peter Stevens Esprit's even looks about the right shape, curvature, angle etc.

Come on you insane poeple, go for it!

malibuguy
malibuguy Reader
10/11/20 9:11 p.m.

I think the world would of accepted it well.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/13/20 1:46 p.m.
pres589 (djronnebaum) said:

It's hard to imagine one of the bigger manufacturers like Nissan having this car, the Skyline, the Z's, and the Silvia / 240SX all on sale at the same time.  I think the Skyline makes more sense as there's more parts that would cross over to these other models. 

 

Have to remember with the Skyline, there were plain jane models too, not just the GTR.  The GTS is the one I would prefer.  Same with the Sylvia/240sx,  they were not sold as high performance cars.  Here in the states the 240 was lumped into the "Hairdresser's car" catagory and nobody bought them.

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