As far as coupes go, none has quite been as versatile as the Nissan Silvia. Its body styles varied from a 2-door coupe to a 4-door sedan, 2-door fastback, a convertible, and finally, a sports car. From its roots in the initial Datsun 180SX underpinned by Nissan Datsun CSP311 platform powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder R14 engine, to a 3.0 L VG30E V6 engine on the Nissan S12, the Silvia has stood its ground against rivals like the Honda Prelude, Mazda MX-6, Toyota Celica, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Isuzu Impulse, and Honda Integra.
Datsun Coupe 1500
The Nissan Silvia debuted in 1964 as the Datsun Coupe 1500. It rolled out as a classy 2-door rear-wheel-drive coupe inspired by the Fairlady convertible model and the Lancia Fulvia coupe. It came with a 1.6-litre inline-four engine and twin SU carburettors that produced 71kW. However, production stopped in 1968 with only 554 total units built.
S10 (1975 to 1983)
In 1975, the Silvia officially took hold with the release of the S10, a rear-wheel-drive car built on the S platform of Nissan. The S10 was curvier, and this characteristic set it apart from its rivals like Toyota and Mazda. Its engine was a 1.8-litre L18 inline-four engine which pushed power to the wheels through a 3-speed 3N71 automatic transmission. It also had newly styled bumpers and featured leaf spring suspension.
Nissan brought out the newer S110 that came as a two-door hardtop coupe or a 3-door hatchback. Nissan had designed it to feature a rotary engine that later turned to be unreliable. Its design was similar to the Leopard sedan and coupe. The S10 got a redesign in the next release that came with a two series range and double-plug conventional piston engine system.
The new design saw brand new bumpers and a restyled front fascia. The S110 held up performance-wise with a varied range of engines in the subsequent years, with the permanent one being the DOHC FJ20 engine. Nissan allowed different designers to tweak the Silvia according to demands by consumers, which led to the development of the Australian Nissan gazelle. Small upgrades, like updated grille designs and taillight lenses, differentiated these designs.
S12 (1983 to 1989)
Before Samsung's S12, Nissan launched its S12 in 1983 that was a coupe and hatchback. It came with different powertrains that included a 1.8-litre CA18S/E/DE inline-4, a 1.8-litre CA18ET/CA18DET turbo inline-4, and a 2.0-litre CA20E inline-4, a 2.0-litre FJ20E inline-4 and, a 2.0-litre FJ20ET inline-4 turbo, a 3.0-litre VG3OE V6, all came paired with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or 4-speed L4N71/E4N71 automatic transmission. The Australian S12, aka the Gazelle, arrived in October 1983 as a coupe or a hatchback that featured a 2.0-litre SOHC CA20E engine coupled with either a 5-speed manual gearbox or a 4-speed automatic transmission.
It also came in the GL, and the SGL trims that featured alloy wheels, mud flaps, power windows, variable intermittent wipers and armrest, carpet kick pads and air conditioning, with power steering and power sunroof also for the coupe model.
The 1985 release saw the discontinuation of the coupe option pack except that retained the power-steering.
In 1984 the S12 was named the Mark 2. It featured a matte finish, a honeycomb radiator grille, and extended corner lights. This design was, by far, the closest to the DeLorean. Famous racer Mark Skaife used a Nissan.
The new s13 rolled off the dock in the 1989 release as 2-door coupes or 2-door convertibles, and later, as 2-door fastbacks. All three were available in either CA18DE or CA18DET engine but which were replaced by SR20DE and SR20DET after a while.
The S14 sprung to life in 1993 with a rounder and broader design model that gave it the impression that it was bigger. It still featured the S platform and came in different trims, which were a 2.0-litre SR20DET, 2.0-litre SR20DET inline-four, and 2.4-litre KA24DE inline-four engines. The striking features of the S14 were the projector lamps and the darker taillights.
The S15 variant caught on in Australia now named the Nissan 200SX that started production in 1989. The S15 came as a 2-door coupe or a 2-door convertible. The car featured a six-speed manual gearbox and a 4-speed automatic transmission. It came in new trim levels, namely, Spec X and Spec R, that came with an SR20DET turbo engine. In 2002, Nissan introduced the 200SX GT that was the final product of the S15 range.
For the 200SX GT, Nissan favoured a silver shadow colour with chromed interior handles, a chrome gear selector, and an updated rear wing.
The Nissan Spec R came with 6-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmission with improved parts, such as anti-roll bars coupled with tension stopping struts. It also featured improved piston brake callipers similar to the ones seen on the 300ZX. Among other improvements were the inclusion of a fifty-four differential.
The Spec X featured Nissan’s 5-speed manual gearbox and 4-speed automatic transmission as an option. It was a toned-down version of the SR missing the added chassis support struts but retained the 4-piston front brake and slip differential. The release of these two models marked the end of the reign of the Nissan 200 and Silvia in Australia.
However, with much speculation around the Silvia product line, it returned to production after 16 years of absence as the new model Nissan Foria. It was displayed in the Sydney Motor Show last year featuring a new coupe design with rear suicide doors. Nissan has dropped hints that the release might feature an electric battery, but it is not official. However, we hope it will be able to hold its own against new coupe entries in the market like Ford’s Mustang, the Mazda MX-5, the Nissan 370Z, the Subaru BRZ, and the Toyota 86.
With the new Nissan Silvia set to debut soon, the old Nissan Silvias are still functional up to this day. If you need parts to repair an old Silvia or are seeking to restore a decommissioned unit, Carpart.au.com is a must-visit website for you. It specialises in auto parts supply, and you may even source entire cars of all makes and models. Check us out now!