1979 - 1983
4+ seats 💺
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 coupé, 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, this Silvia shares its chassis code with the Mazda Cosmo, the first Japanese production car to feature a rotary engine. The chassis was shared with the B310 Nissan Sunny and the larger A10 Nissan Violet platform.
The car was redesigned shortly before it was released and the stillborn Wankel power plant was replaced by a line of twin-plug conventional piston engines from the new Z-series range. These included the Z20 and the turbocharged and later the fuel-injected Z18ET, although the latter of the two was only available to the Japanese domestic market and after the mid-life facelift. This took place in late May 1981 and included new bumpers and a reworked front design. Albeit a sporting design, the 135 PS (99 kW) Turbo model received largely the same chassis as regular models and did not have any kind of turbocharger boost indicator. At the time of the facelift, the DOHC FJ20-engined RS model was also introduced.