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Nissan Silvia

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Silvia
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Wikipedia: Nissan Silvia

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A car produced by Nissan from 1964-1968 and again from 1974-2002. Sold in the United States market under other names, including the 240SX. Popular as a competition drifting car.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Nissan Silvia page on 6 July 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Nissan Silvia is the name given to the company's long-running line of sport coupes based on the Nissan S platform. Although recent models have shared this chassis with other vehicles produced by Nissan (most notably the European 200SX and North American 240SX in the S13 and S14 generations, and 180SX in the Japanese market), the name Silvia is not interchangeable with the chassis codes.

CSP311

The Nissan Silvia CSP311 made its public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in September 1964 as the "Datsun Coupe 1500". The introductory model was a hand-built coupe based on the Fairlady convertible, styled with input from Count Albrecht Goertz. Its appearance is similar to the Lancia Fulvia coupe. The CSP311 was powered by the 96 hp 1.6 L Nissan R series engine. The engine was equipped with twin SU carburetors. Production ceased in 1968 after a mere 554 were made (mainly in 1965), each one of them unique with body panels crafted by hand. Most of the vehicles remained in Japan; however, 49 examples were exported to Australia and another 10 went to other countries.

The low production numbers and tedious method of construction assured that each car was unique and valuable; this is reflected by the car's purchase price of almost twice as much as the next model in the manufacturer's lineup at the time. After production ceased in 1968, the Silvia nameplate would not grace another Nissan vehicle until 1974. Its marketing approach was similar to the Isuzu 117 Coupé. The name "silvia" is a variation of the word "sylvia", which is a scientific genus term assigned to a class of birds, possibly a reference to the Nissan Bluebird which was in production at the time the Silvia was introduced. In Japan, it was sold at Nissan Bluebird Store locations, and was marketed with the "Nissan" name instead of the more widely used "Datsun" brand name.

S10

The S10 was the first mass-produced Silvia built on the all-new S platform, intended as Nissan's compact, rear-wheel-drive, sporty car platform. Japanese versions were exclusive to Nissan Japanese dealerships called Nissan Prince Store along with the larger Skyline.

The S10 featured less "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 a 1.8 L L18 inline-4 engine, which it shared with the Datsun 610/Bluebird 180B. The Japanese version featured Nissan NAPS emission control technology at its introduction. In the North American market a version incorporating the larger-displacement 2.0 L L20B was offered as the 200B of the same series Bluebird and Skyline. This model in North America was affixed with the mandated 5 mph (8.0 km/h) bumpers and badged as the Datsun 200SX. The S10 Silvia and Datsun 200SX were based on the Datsun Sunny Coupe. Its success in both markets was limited, most buyers opting for the Celica over what was considered the more mundane S-Chassis. The car had the same drivetrain as the popular 510, but with leaf springs fitted at the rear, rather than the 510's independent suspension.

S110

This iteration of the Silvia (sold in United States and Canada as the Datsun 200SX and in Mexico as the Datsun Sakura (Japanese for cherry blossom)), available as a 2-door hardtop coupe and a new bodystyle 3-door hatchback. The Japanese market version of the hatchback was called the Gazelle and was exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Store locations sold alongside the Fairlady Z, while the coupe bodystyle Silvia remained exclusive to Nissan Prince Store locations alongside the Skyline. Its sharp-edged styling was shared with the new Nissan Leopard sedan and coupe, also exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Store.

This generation Silvia 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. Coincidentally, it shared a chassis code with the Mazda Cosmo, the first Japanese production car to feature a rotary engine. The chassis was no longer shared with the B-series Nissan Sunny, and was upgraded to the larger A-series Nissan Stanza platform.

The car was redesigned shortly after it was released and the stillborn 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, although the latter of the two was only available to the Japanese domestic market. In USA/Canada the 200SX had the Z20E with H165 rear axle from 1979 to 1981. From 1982 to 1983, it had a Z22E engine with H190 rear axle. Vehicles with engines under 2000cc are still considered "compact" vehicles under Japanese regulations regarding exterior dimensions, however, larger engine displacement incurred a higher road tax bill annually.

Gazelle

Nissan rebadged the Silvia as the Gazelle coupé and hatchback so that Nissan's different dealership networks in Japan could all carry their own variants of the model. There are minor cosmetic differences between the two cars.

North America

The Silvia continued to be sold as the 200SX in North America, with either the two-door coupé or the three-door liftback bodywork. It was originally powered by the 2.0 L inline-four L20B engine, although in 1980 California-market cars received the twin-plug Z20 NAPS-Z inline-four of the same displacement. From the 1981 model year, this became the only engine available to the 200SX. Power is 100 hp (75 kW; 101 PS), channeled through a five-speed manual or a three-speed automatic.

The top model was the luxurious SL, which received a remote opening hood, trunk, and gas tank lid, more adjustable seats, and a removable glass skyroof. The hatchback model received sportier trim, while the notchback coupé focused more on luxury.

240RS

This generation saw the introduction of the Nissan 240RS (BS110), a coupe fitted with the 2.4-liter DOHC FJ24 engine. The 240RS was built between 1983 and 1985, its production extending the end of the S110 itself. The resulting machine became Nissan's official rally car in the World Rally Championship from 1983 to 1985, with best result finished 2nd in the 1983 New Zealand Rally.

S12

The S12 was produced from August 1983 to 1988, with revisions to the exterior trim in 1987 (referred to as "Mark II"). It was sold in two configurations—a coupe (often called a "notchback" due to the side profile view of its rear window section) and a hatchback version.

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 similar to that utilized in the later "RB" engine series, the inline-six engine that powered the Skyline GT-Rs. Certain trims had the S12 equipped with an optional V6 engine also shared by the 300ZX (Z31) of the same vintage; this engine would be augmented with dual cam heads for the Z32.

Japan

As with the S110, the S12 chassis in Japan was badged as both a Silvia and a Gazelle. The S12 Silvia in Japan was available in a hatchback as a basic model only, or as a coupé (notchback) in base, RS, and RS-X trims and exclusive to Nissan Prince Store Japanese dealerships as a junior companion to the Nissan Skyline. The S12 Gazelle was strictly a hatchback, available in regular, RS and RS-X variants and exclusive to Nissan Bluebird Store locations as a junior companion to the Fairlady ZX. 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 the FJ Series engine in the S12 and replaced it with the CA18DET (with duel cams and a bigger turbocharger—the CA18DET. Japanese spec Gazelle models came with many options like voice command, fog lights and options for a variety of different motors (FJ20E, FJ20ET, CA18DE, CA18E, CA18DET.). The RS-X model also came with different factory alloy wheels. When the S13 Silvia was introduced in 1988 in Japan, the Gazelle nameplate was replaced with the Nissan 180SX as a junior companion to the 300ZX, although in Australia there would not be a replacement until the introduction of the Silvia-based Nissan 200SX in 1995.

North America

The S12 Silvia brand in North America was badged as a "200SX". For fear that the North American market would not be as profitable as other markets throughout; without any major innovations, Nissan Executives only scheduled the manufacturing of 5k of each trim package/engine options in the final 2 years before the halt of US production. Leaving the final year of the S12 1988. The S12 "XE" was strictly a coupe or a "notchback", and was only available with a 2.0L SOHC, non-turbo engine and made available with either a 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic gearbox. (CA20E) The hatchback 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 the Turbo model and created the "SE" model which had a 3.0L SOHC V6 engine (VG30E), generating 160 hp (120 kW) and 174 lbf·ft (236 N·m) of torque. This was the same engine offered in the non-turbo 300ZX for that generation. For 1988 the "SE" model received a 5 hp (3.7 kW) gain from using the later "W" series revisions of the VG30E with a total output of 165 hp (123 kW) while torque remained the same at 174 lbf·ft (236 N·m).

S13

The S13 Silvia, introduced in mid-1988 the 1989 model year, was immensely popular in Japan. At its introduction in 1988, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award. The Silvia was no longer exported, however; rebadged 180SX were instead sold in most markets. European versions of this car were still known as 200SX. In North America, the S13 (180SX front, all three different bodystyles) was known as the 240SX. In North America, the Nissan 200SX nameplate was on hiatus but would return on a 2 door coupe version of the B14 Nissan Sunny/Sentra (1995–99). The S13 was based on the first generation Nissan Cefiro, the A31. Following industry trends, the S13 Silvia switched to relampable fixed headlights. Projector optics were offered as an option.

In Japan, Nissan renamed the Gazelle as the Nissan 180SX, which was exported primarily under the name Nissan 240SX. The 180SX served as the junior companion to the Fairlady ZX at Nissan Bluebird Store Japanese dealerships. As before, the Silvia was exclusive to Japanese dealerships called Nissan Prince Store next to the Skyline.

The S13 Silvia coupe was made from 1988 to 1994, overlapping with the S14 Silvia introduced in 1993. The Nissan Silvia used fixed headlights; whereas, the 180SX, simply a hatchback version of the Silvia, introduced at the same time used pop-up headlights. The hatchback version, called the 180SX, replaced the Gazelle name in Japan, and remained in production until 1998. A Silvia 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 MID4. It also offered a four-wheel steering system for the first time, known as HICAS-II. In 1990, HICAS-II was 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 mid-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. One of the other simple changes that was made between the CA generation and the SR generation was the switch to a single colour paint job, instead of the two-tone colour sets that were previously offered. On top of this, the SR motor later debuted another variant of the platform known simply as the "black top". Identifiable by its black and silver rocker-cover (as opposed to the traditional red/silver cover), it featured a number of minor changes, resulting in little performance gain. It is vastly different from the more powerful "notch top" used in the S14 and S15 variants.

S14

The S14 Silvia debuted in Japan towards the end of 1993. It was lower and wider than the S13. New rounded styling contributed to the illusion of a 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. However, the width dimension exceeded 1700mm, which pushed this generation out of the compact class tax bracket, which also made Japanese buyers liable for higher road taxes. The fastback bodystyle was discontinued internationally, leaving the coupe and convertible in production.

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, with a slight bump in power due to the implementation of Nissan's variable cam timing system known as N-VCT, on the intake cam, and a larger T28 turbocharger.

There was a mild 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 also known as the kouki (後期, literally "later period") S14, or by enthusiasts as the S14A. It was sold as the second generation 240SX in North America from 1995 to 1998. The final model year of S14 production in all markets was 2000, called the Touring Model, which had a better engine block, pistons, and better acceleration in lower gears.

S15

Japan saw a new version of the Silvia (S15) in 1999, now boasting 250 hp (184 kW) from its SR20DET engine, thanks to a ball-bearing turbocharger upgrade, as well as improved engine management. The SR20DE (non-turbo motor) featured 165 hp (121 kW).

The S15 Silvia included aggressive styling inside and out, updating the previous Silvia styling in-line with modern car design trends. The body dimensions were reduced from the previous generation so that it would comply with Japanese Government compact class, which had an effect on sales of the previous model.

The S15 Silvia model lineup was initially simplified to just the Spec-S and Spec-R, both models offering an "Aero" variant with a large rear wing and side skirts/valances.

This generation of the Silvia was only sold in Japan, Australia and New Zealand but was available as a grey import in most other countries. In Australia and New Zealand the car was sold as the Nissan 200SX.

Within the Australian domestic market (AUDM), the S15 sold in 2 trim levels as noted above; Spec-S and Spec-R - however both models featured the SR20DET motor, albeit slightly detuned from the JDM spec cars. Nissan S15s were never officially sold with the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine in Australia or New Zealand. These two models were available at Nissan showrooms until the Nissan 200SX GT was introduced in 2002, the last year of production for the S15. Main differences here were namely the wheels being finished in a silver shadow chrome, chrome interior door handles, chrome gear selector surround, "sports" metal pedal set and an updated larger rear wing.

As of August 2002, Nissan stopped producing the S platform with the S15-series Nissan Silvia being the final variant. Production of the Silvia amidst Nissan's efforts to reduce its myriad of platforms. The S15 Silvia was therefore the last car to hold the Silvia badge. Nissan's worldwide sports car platform is now the FM platform, which underpins the current Fairlady Z (the 350/370Z outside Japan), as well as the 2001–present Nissan Skyline (the Infiniti G35/37 in North America).


Photographs

1995 Nissan Silvia Emblem added to a 1995 Nissan 240SX
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
WCS & NGMC Spring All Make & Model Carshow
May 31, 2009
View photo of 1995 Nissan Silvia - 4,422KB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Steve Moore at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.1MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Steve Moore at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 3.4MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Steve Moore at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.7MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) S14 at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.1MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) S14 at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 3.4MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Shane Lynch at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.2MB
King of Europe: 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) Shane Lynch at King of Europe: 2014 Round 3 (Lydden Hill)
Photo by Rowan Harrison
This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 License.
View photo of King of Europe 2014, Round 3 (Lydden Hill) - 4.7MB


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