The Silvia Series

The Silvia, aka 200sx, Gazelle, and 240sx, is a car of many beginnings. It was initially an offshoot of the Roadster, and is widely believed as an original design bridge between the roadsters and the Fairlady Z.


The original Silvia was shown at the Tokyo Auto Show in 1964 to much acclaim. It went into production in March of 1965 as the CSP311, a very roadster-like designation, not suprising as it shared the 1595cc OHV 4 banger of the 1600 Roadster. It pumped out 90 horsepower and was said to have a top speed of 165km\h. Production continued until June of 68 when Nissan gave up on the model after 3 years of lackluster sales.

Silvia S10 LS

The Silvia name was retired until September of 1975, when the new S10 model was introduced. Initially it came with the L18 SOHC that produced 105hp. This is the car that Mr. K dubbed "that ugly Silvia" and fought against importing to the US.

Silvia LSE G

In March of 1977, the Silvia G(S11) was added to the line up. It was a bit more stylish than the S10, but still far from a looker. This was the first year the Silvia was offered in the US, renamed the 200sx.

Silvia 1800 LS-L(EPS110)

The Silvia was completely revamped for a 3rd series(S110) in March of 1979, and was also sold under the Gazelle name as well as 200sx in North America. The Silvia 1800 LSE-X(e-PS110) came with the first of the Z series engines, the Z18ET, with the T standing for Turbocharged. This 1770cc engine generated a hot 135 horsepower at 6000 rpm. A L20B powered carb version was also available, though it was soon upgraded to the EFI 2 liter Z series engine, then the z22e 2.2 liter powerplant.

Silvia 2000
Silvia RS powered by an FJ20 engine

The Silvia was styled again in 1983 and was renamed the 240sx in North America. Enthusiasts in North America have been known to gripe about how the 90's Japanese Silvia got the legendary SR20det engine, and they got stuck with the KA24 truck engine for their 240sx sport coupe.

The car has a little racing and rally history, the S110 being entered in the Safari Rally in the early 80's and a Turbo 240RS(a big fan favorite) winning with Mike Kirkland in 83 or 84. In the SCCA, the car has a few titles under its belt; 1981 GT3 Rob Dyson 200SX/S10, 1983 GT3 Mike Rickman 200SX/S110, 1983 SS/C Jim Roberts (1)200SX/S110, and 1984 SS/C Jim Roberts (2)200SX/S110.

The Datsun era Silvia's are not a terribly memorable car, probably because they were always a sports sedan trying to be a sports car, never really achieving any recognition as either. Show someone a picture of a Z or a 510 and they instantly know it's a Datsun, show them a 77 200sx Silvia and they'll have no idea what it is. Mr. K's Ugly Silvia took well beyond the Datsun era to grow into a swan.