The History of Nissan 200sx

3 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on The History of Nissan 200sx
Nissan 200SX

The History Of Nissan 200sx

The SX name refers to several models of automobile sold by Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. around the world. Beginning in 1974, the 200SX badging was utilized until 2002.

The history of the 200SX begins in the Nissan Silvia line, which started in 1964 with the CSP311 2-seat coupe (last produced in 1968). When the Silvia was revived in the 1970s as a two-plus-two coupe to compete with the Toyota Celica, it was introduced in some countries as the 200SX. This references the displacement in the engine: 2.0 litres.

Other similar Nissan badging also refers to engine displacement, most notably the Datsun 240Z (2.4L) and its successive car line, all the way to the present incarnation — the Nissan 350Z.


The S10 was the first Silvia built on the Nissan S platform. It featured more traditional lines than similar offerings from rivals Toyota and Mazda and was summarily less popular with consumers in most markets. In Japan it was fitted with an L18B engine, which it shared with the Datsun 610/Bluebird 180B.

In the North American market a version incorporating the larger-displacement L20B was offered as the 200B of the same series Bluebird. This model was affixed with the mandated 5mph (8.0km/h) bumpers and badged as the Datsun 200SX. Its success in both markets was limited, most buyers opting for the Celica over what was considered the more mundane S-Chassis.


This iteration of the Silvia, available as a 2-door hardtop coupe and a 3-door hatchback, was uniquely progressive in that it was originally intended to feature a rotary engine, designed and built by Nissan. The resulting unit was fairly unreliable, and forestalled production. Ironically, it shared a chassis code with the also ill-fated Mazda Cosmo, first Japanese production car to feature a rotary engine.

The car was redesigned shortly after it was released and the Wankel power plant was replaced by a line of conventional piston engines based on the new Z-series engine. These included the Z20 and the turbocharged and fuel injected Z18ET. The Z22E was later introduced, with a larger displacement and fuel injection.


The S12 was produced from 1984 to 1988, with revisions to the exterior trim in ’87 (referred to as Mark II). It was sold in two configurations – a coupe (often called a notchback) and a fastback.

A number of different engines were equipped in the S12 chassis, depending on production year and more specifically on the geographic market. These engines borrowed from previous designs, or in some cases, inspired future engine platforms (with the exception of the FJ series, which was designed solely with Rally competition in mind). For instance, the CA series initially borrowed design cues from the NAP-Z series.

The CA18DET’s DOHC head design was also later utilized in the RB engine series, the inline six engine that powered the famous R32, R33, and R34 Skylines. And of course, the VG series was the predecessor to the VQ, which powers the 350Z.

North America

The S12 chassis in North America was badged 200SX. The Coupe was available with a 2.0L SOHC engine (CA20E), while the fastback received both the 2.0L SOHC engine, and a 1.8L SOHC Turbo (non-intercooled) engine (CA18ET). For 1987 in the United States, Nissan discontinued putting the 1.8 Turbo into the fastback, and created the SE model which had the potent 3.0L SOHC V6 engine (VG30E), generating 160hp (120kW) and 165 tq.

This was the same engine offered in the non-turbo 300ZX for that generation.

The S12 chassis in Europe was badged Silvia, and was available only in the fastback configuration. The engine available was the same 1.8L SOHC Turbo (CA18ET) used in North America, and in some areas the 2.0L DOHC FJ engine (FJ20E). The FJ engine series was originally designed for the 240RS rallycar as a 2.4L carbeurated system (FJ24), and was underbored to 2.0L.

It also saw use in the DR30 Nissan Skyline chassis, in both turbocharged and naturally aspirated versions.

The S12 chassis in Australia was badged as a Gazelle. The Gazelle was available in both the coupe and fastback. It was equipped with the same 2.0L SOHC engine (CA20E) found elsewhere in the world.

The S12 chassis in Japan was badged as both a Silvia and a Gazelle. The Gazelle was produced so that Nissan’s different dealership networks in Japan could all carry the Silvia. There are minor cosmetic differences. Both the S110 and S12 Silvias have a Gazelle counterpart.

The S12 Silvia in Japan was available in a fastback as a basic model only, but the S12 Gazelle in Japan was strictly a fastback, available in regular, RS and RS-X variants, as was the Silvia notchback. The RS was equipped with the 2.0L DOHC FJ engine(FJ20E), while the RS-X was equipped with the same engine in a turbocharged version (FJ20ET). In 1987 Nissan discontinued to put in the FJ Series engine and installed the updated version of the older CA, with dual cams and a bigger turbocharger – the CA18DET.

The S12 chassis in 1984-86 is referred to as Mark I, with Mark II as a revision in ’87. Below lists the description of both.

The first trim of the S12 chassis. Bumpers featured matte-finish raised surfaces, and sides featured half-inch rubstripping. Cars featured a honeycomb radiator grille, and long cornerlights. ’84 Turbo came with a TURBO monogrammed hood bulge accent. ’84-85 could be had with a foam rubber deck spoiler. In ’86 the foam rubber deck spoiler was changed for a fiberglass version w/ an integrated third brake light.

Some fastbacks and all Turbo models came with ground effects – a combination of plastic mudflaps and accommodating foam rubber sideskirts, as well as a foam rubber lower deflection lip.

In 1987, the bumpers were updated, and the matte finished surfaces were eliminated for a more uniform surface. Rubstripping was increased to 2-inch height w/ scribe detailing. The honeycomb radiator grille was replaced with a slatted version that spanned the entire front end (previous was shorter), and cornerlights were shortened.

The SE model and the Turbo (Canada, Europe) came with new ground fiberglass ground effects and mudflaps, painted in the color of the car, and a new and more pronounced lower deflection lip in the front. SE model also received a new hood bulge design to accommodate clearance for the 3.0L V6. Optional rear mudflap accents were available.

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Drivetrain Variations


The S13 Silvia, introduced in mid-1988 for the 1989 model year, was immensely popular in Japan. The Silvia name was no longer used on export models, however; European models were now known as 200SX. Following industry trends, the S13 Silvia switched to relampable fixed headlights.

Projector optics were offered as an option.

The Silvia fastback was discontinued and replaced by a new model sharing the S platform, the Nissan 180SX. A convertible was briefly offered soon after the start of production, but it was never popular, perhaps due to high cost (3.25 million Yen in 1988), heavier curb weight, and chassis flex.

The S13 was one of the first uses of Nissan’s multi-link rear suspension, the technology of which was previewed in concept cars in previous years, such as the Nissan MID-4. It also offered a four-wheel steering system for the first time, known as HICAS-II. In 1990, HICAS-II would be updated and renamed SuperHICAS.

The S13 also saw the introduction of a viscous-type limited slip differential for some models.

S13 Silvias were initially powered by the CA18DE and CA18DET engines carried over from the end of S12 production, with an intercooler added to the CA18DET for a slight increase in stability and power. In 1990, (for the 1991 model year) the SR20DE and SR20DET engines debuted, offering improvements across the board in power and torque due to increased displacement and a more efficient turbocharger than was offered on the previous cars.

The S13 Silvia was replaced after the 1993 model year by the new S14 design. In 1998, the S13 Silvia was resurrected, in part. A variant was produced by Kid’s Heart for Nissan called the Sileighty, which featured the 180SX body with the front end from the Silvia.

The Sileighty style was originally created by Japanese enthusiasts for their own 180SX’s, and is still a common modification for the 180SX and 240SX fastback.

Trim Level Designation

The S13 Silvia was the first S-series car to use the J’s. Q’s, and K’s (references to the suits and face cards of British playing cards) designations for the different trim levels or grades.

The J’s was the base model with a very basic interior, few standard amenities, and 14 steel wheels. The Q’s model offered a slightly more refined experience and received electric options and an available LSD. The K’s grade received the turbocharged SR20DET in addition to the options offered on the Q’s.

On top of the K’s and Q’s models, The Club and Dia(mond) Selection packages came with specific options bundled together. For example, all K’s Club Selections came with projector headlamps, a rear spoiler, and 15 aluminum wheels.

The rare and often misunderstood Silvia A’s Almighty (オールマイティ) was introduced in late 1992. Confusingly, the A’s grade doesn’t fit into the established name scheme; it is stripped of all options, purportedly offered as a purer form of the sports car. The only available engine was the naturally-aspirated SR20DE coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission.


The S14 Silvia debuted in Japan at the end of 1993. It was lower, wider, and slightly shorter than the S13. New rounded styling contributed to the illusion of a much greater increase in size than actually occurred. Wheelbase and track were both increased, leading to slightly improved handling.

Unlike export markets, where sales of the S14 chassis variants faltered, the Silvia remained popular in Japan.

Trim level designations were similar to the S13, however the Club Selection package was dropped. Aero variants of the Q’s and K’s were offered that featured large rear wings and mild ground effects.

The S14 Silvia K’s received a new version of the SR20DET, boasting a slight bump in power due to the implementation of Nissan’s variable cam timing system, VTC, and a larger T28 turbocharger.

There was a major styling update to the S14 during 1996, which added aggressive-looking projector headlamps and tinted taillights to all models. Fascias and other exterior trim pieces were also revised. The turbocharger now used a more efficient ball bearing center section.

This updated version is popularly known as the kouki (後期, literally latter period) S14, or it is mostly called the S14a. The final model year of S14/a production in all markets was 2001.

The Nismo 270R was a limited edition vehicle developed by Nissan Motorsports International (Nismo for short). The vehicle was built on the S14 chassis but had many enhancements over the 240sx. All produced in 1994 only 33 270Rs were ever built, three being media cars. The ‘270’ is in reference to the horsepower of the unique car as opposed to the displacement of the engine (as other vehicles, including the 200sx, 240sx, were previously named upon).

The 270R featured a vented hood, aero kit, heavy duty clutch, 2-way limited slip differential, top-mounted intercooler, specific suspension and brakes from the Skyline GTS25-t among many other upgrades. All the 270s were painted black with ‘Nismo 270R’ badging above the rear wheels and a product numbered plaque in the glove compartment.


Japan saw a new version of the Silvia (S15) in 1999, now boasting 225hp (170kW) from its SR20DET engine, thanks to roller bearing turbocharger upgrade, as well as improved engine management. The SR20DE (non-turbo motor) featured only 165 hp (121 kW).

Nissan 200SX

The S15 Silvia included aggressive styling inside and out; upgrades to the chassis and suspension, including increased use of light alloy suspension components; and for the first time, a six-speed manual transmission (in addition to a 5-speed manual transmission and a four-speed automatic). Also for the first time, instead of a viscous limited slip differential, the S15 offered a more effective helical limited slip unit.

For the S15 Silvia, the model lineup was initially simplified to just the Spec-S (non-turbo) and Spec-R (turbo), both models offering an Aero variant with a large rear wing and mild ground effects. The Spec-R featured the available 6-speed manual transmission, increased body and suspension rigidity, 4-piston front brake calipers, a larger brake power booster, the upgraded helical limited slip differential, and the HICAS (Acronym for HI-Capacity Active Steering) four wheel steering system as an option; the Spec-S featured a standard 5-speed manual transmission (with an optional 4-speed automatic available), lacks the additional support structures of the Spec-R, 2-piston front brake calipers, a slightly smaller brake power booster, and the viscous limited slip differential.

The line was later expanded to include various luxury and upgrade option packages for both the Spec-S and Spec-R. Autech, Nissan’s special-car division, also offered several tuned versions of the S15; one with body and interior trim modeled after the Ferrari 456, called the style-A, available in both Spec-S and Spec-R based trims; and a second tuned version was based on the Spec-S trim level with the engine output increased to 200hp (150kW) through the use of increased compression, more aggressive camshafts, and free-breathing intake and exhaust tracts, along with ECU tuning and upgrades to the chassis and suspension. This version also included the 6-speed transmission and other upgrades normally found only in the Spec-R.

There was also a convertible variant of the Silvia, called the Varietta, featuring a folding retractable hardtop. The Varietta was built by Autech and was based on the Spec-S model, featuring the same naturally aspirated engine, with a choice of a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission.

Production of the Silvia ended in August 2002 amidst Nissan’s efforts to reduce its myriad of platforms. Nissan’s sole sports car platform in the world is now the FM Platform, which underpins the current Fairlady Z and Skyline; marketed in the United States as the 350Z and Infiniti G35 respectively.

B14 series

From 1995 to 1998 Nissan applied the name 200SX to two different lines of automobiles in different markets these years.

In 1995, Nissan reintroduced the 200SX nameplate in North America to designate a two-door version of the Nissan Sentra (B14 chassis, a front wheel drive car), replacing the Sentra coupe (discontinued in 1994) and Nissan NX (discontinued in 1993). The 200SX came in base, SE, and sportier SE-R models. All shared their front-end appearance, front-drive chassis, dashboard, and many dimensions with the Nissan Sentra.

Base and SE editions shared Sentra’s twin-cam GA16DE engine 4-cylinder engine. The SE-R inherited the 140-horsepower 2.0L SR20DE engine used in the previous 2-door Sentra SE-R. All three came with a 5-speed manual transmission or 4-speed automatic, and were equipped with dual airbags.

Antilock brakes were optional in the SE and SE-R. The price, new: $15,269-17,549

Year to Year Changes 1996 Nissan 200SX: The SE and SE-R gained new body-colored mirrors and door panels. 1997 Nissan 200SX: All models now included a rear spoiler, and the base model adopted the same interior trim as its SE and SE-R companions. 1998 Nissan 200SX: All models got new headlights, revised bumpers, and white-face gauges.

Also, base models replaced 13-inch (330mm) wheels with 14-inchers. 200SX did not return for ’99 but its 140horsepower (100kW) engine continued in the 4-door Sentra.

Production numbers of the 1995-1998 Nissan 200SX SE-R: 1996: 7,205 1997: 3,200 1998: 3,504

In several markets, including Mexico and Japan, this car was sold from 1996 to 2000 under the name of Nissan Lucino, In Mexico it came with two versions available: GSE for the 1.6 l engine, and GSR for the 2.0 l.

If not for this one car, there would be no confusion, as every other Nissan with a name ending in SX refers to a car based on the Nissan S platform.

The B14 Sunny and Sentra appeared in 1994 and were produced till 1998, and featured four-wheel-drive variants. Other than Japan, this variant was produced in Pakistan through a joint venture between Gandhara-Nissan and Nissan Japan till 2001 for the local and export markets.

In this generation, the station wagon was supplied to Mazda under an OEM deal as the Familia Van. The Nissan Wingroad range appeared as a spin-off of the Sunny line in Japan, denoting a highly specified station wagon that replaced the Nissan Sunny California. Both the Mazda Familia and the Nissan Wingroad had different front and rear ends compared to the wagon that was exported.

Nissan Mexico sold versions of this as the Sentra with 1.6 and 2.0-litre engines.

Thailand uses this model of B14 from 1994 until 2000 with a few minor changes along the way. First minor change shows when the rear changes to split the red strip into two sides, next the face changes in a few years with a small ridge i the middle of the hood and a chromium decoration on the hood tip, finally the last minor change, the tail light style changes from two layers of white/red to be the three layers red/white/red. The two variants of engines is 1.5L (in the first generation) and 1.6L (available only after some minor changes).

Yet another image has been leaked from Nissan’s GT 2012 meeting held in May, this time it’s a side view of the upcoming FR sports coupe due to go on sale in 2010. The image reveals just enough to give a good idea of what the final shape will be and going by similar images of the next generation Z12 Cube and Z34 Fairlady Z (370Z) which were also revealed at the meeting, Nissan isn’t going to let the new FR coupe loose without its own unique identity. Another interesting feature is the small third “quarter window” and the pronounced rear blister fender.

Mechanical specifications have changed slightly for the better since we last reported on the FR sports coupe, it’s still rumored to have a 2000cc inline 4 cylinder engine using Nissan’s VCR (Variable Compression Ratio) technology only this time it’s almost certain it will be turbocharged. It’s also possible the 2.0L engine will make use of a VVEL system similar to what is used in the VQ37VHR engine found in the V36 Nissan Skyline coupe. Power is still rumored to be 225ps with 35.0 kg/m of torque to move the 1200kg coupe around.

The FR sports coupe will position itself at the bottom of Nissan’s performance car tree being the cheapest in price but will offer a more sports orientated driving experience compared to the more expensive V36 Skyline Coupe. Once the new entry level FR sports coupe is released it will emphasize Nissan’s performance car range as one which is well defined and offers plenty of choice, which is in complete contrast to earlier on in the decade.

Nissan’s 2.0L FR sports coupe is still expected to sell at around 2,500,000 yen.

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