The Nissan 200SX was a small two-door sports car available from 1975 to 2002. The 200SX model name was used in export markets only, based on the Nissan Silvia and Nissan Lucino models sold in Japan.
Nissan 200SX Design and Introduction
While the Nissan 200SX was first used in 1975, the vehicle’s roots under the Silvia model name go back to 1964, where it was sold as a two-seat coupe. When the Silvia came back in the 1970s under the S10 internal designation, it was redesigned to be a 2+2 coupe body style to compete with the Toyota Celica. The Silvia and 200SX used the all-new S platform, which was used as Nissan’s compact rear-wheel drive platform available for sports cars. The body shape was based on a two-door fastback shape and was quite angular with relatively flat body panels, a long hood, and a gently sloping rear end. One of the main differences between the 200SX and the Silvia is that the 200SX featured the 5mph bumpers as required by North American regulators.
Engine and Performance
The 200SX was the rebadged export offering of the Nissan Silvia with a 2.0L engine. A 1.8L engine option was available in some Japanese Silvia’s but only the 2.0L engine size made it to the exported options. The 2.0L L20B straight-4 engine produced 97 horsepower and 102 lb ft of torque. The same engine can be found in the Datsun 610. In 1979, the model was redesigned to the S110 internal designation. This was sold under the Silvia name as well as Gazelle model in Japan, but sold as a Datsun 200SX in United States and Canada, with Mexico receiving the Datsun Sakura. This model was available as a two-door coupe and three-door hatchback design, brining a bit more interior space to those who opt for the hatchback. While original plans were to use an innovative rotary engine design, it was found to be unreliable and a conventional piston engine was used instead. The 2.0L L20B engine with 97 horsepower was still an option for the North American models. A 2.0L Z20 engine were used in all North American models by 1981, pushing power up slightly to 100 horsepower, and paired with a 5-speed manual or 3-speed automatic transmission.
Additional Redesigns of the Nissan 200SX
In 1982, the 200SX received a slight redesign with improved exterior looks. It also increased engine displacement to a 2.2L Z22E engine with a more robust H190 rear axle, producing 103 horsepower. Available options include a remote opening trunk, hood, and gas tank cover, adjustable seats, and a removable glass sky roof. The coupe usually featured more luxurious options, while the more practical hatchback design focused more on a sporty look. The S12 series of the Silvia/200SX was released in North America in 1984, lagging behind the Japanese 1983 release. The 200SX XE model was the notchback coupe variant for North America, featuring a naturally-aspirated 2.0L CA20E engine. The hatchback had the option of the 2.0L engine or a turbocharged 1.9L CA18ET engine with 133 horsepower. In 1987, the Turbo model was discontinued and replaced with an SE model that used a 3.0L VG30E V6 engine with a much more respectable 160 horsepower and 174 lb ft of torque.
Changes to the 200SX Offerings
Another redesign came in 1988, when the S13 Silvia/200SX was released. The Silvia was immensely popular in Japan and was still sold under the 200SX name in Europe. However, the North American versions now switched to the 240SX model name, leaving it without a 200SX option for the time being. This model came with a 1.8L or 2.0L inline-4 engine, both available in naturally-aspirated and turbocharged versions, producing up to 217 horsepower and 275 lb ft of torque in the Nissan 200SX with the SR20DET engine. The S14 model came in 1994 to the international markets outside of Japan, after being introduced domestically in Japan in 1993. It was still sold under the 200SX model name in Europe and featured up to a 2.4L KA24DE inline-4 engine.
The Return of the Lucino-Based 200SX to North America
In 1995, the Nissan 200SX name was now used on the S14 Silvia exports to Europe, but was also introduced as the name for the Nissan Lucino’s exported versions to the United States and Canada. The Lucino/200SX from this era was a less sporty vehicle compared to the past Silvia based 200SXs. It used a 1.6L GA16DE inline-4 engine in the base and SE models, and a 2.0L SR20DE engine with 140 horsepower in the SE-R trim. All engines were paired to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission.