I haven’t seen one of these in way too long. Refreshing for the eyes. But they’re going fast…
Perry Shoar did a nice write up on them here.
Sharp car in an upper trim level. I don’t really know why I probably would have chosen a Celica over this in both the overlapping Celica generations but the styling has held up well and the overall car wasn’t bad at all. Can’t recall the last one that I saw either but there were tons of them at my high school and college back in the day.
They were called Nissan Sylvia over here IIRC. I´m not sure if I saw one on the streets back then, but I remeber one in an orange colour at a used car lot in my hometown in the 90s. Very sharp car.
That thing’ll put your eye out!
I owned a 1986 Silvia Turbo in my last two years of living in the U.K. before moving to the US in 1999. There weren’t many on the streets even back then, but it’s always a treat to see one when they do turn up. With RWD and a turbocharged 4-cylinder, I felt it should’ve been more fun to drive than it was. However, it was a comfortable long distance cruiser and I still miss it to this day.
It doesn’t occur often in the sporty car segment, where design uniqueness means so much, that a maker styles a car that looks so close to their major competitor’s product. While releasing it two years later!
Yes….but some would also point out that the Celica (1977) liftback itself was a knockoff of the Mustang fastback (though only the Mustang II had a hatch). The 1982-85 liftback was really an update of the 1979 and prior to that the 1977 liftback.
Having said that, I’m also a fan of the 1982-1985 Celica, though I never owned one, I had two friends that had them (although the notchback)…but my family loyalty (see my other post below) makes the 200/240SX a sentimental at least favorite. Drove quite a few Toyotas when I worked for Hertz (albeit many years ago) but have never owned one (only owned 5 cars so far in my 46 years of driving, so not much of a surprise).
I liked these a lot. A friend of mine had an ’86 200SX while we were in college, similar to this featured one except that it was beige. It was a fun car, and durable too.
What I remember most about his car was that that was plastered with bumper stickers, which of course wasn’t too uncommon for 19-year-olds. One weekend he decided he’d gotten over the whole bumper sticker thing, and took them all off, and remarked how much better his car looked.
Of the sporty imports in the 80s (Celica, Prelude, etc), these are my favorites. I really like the details on them. The pop up headlamps, the full width back end taillights.
I just happened to see a trio of them at a Cars & Coffee event in San Diego last weekend.
Doubtless there is a kit of this, somewhere, but CC-in-scale only has the coupe variant, with a spectacularly-ugly bodykit at that! I’m sure I must have had some reason for building it like this, but….. 🙂
This car is dear to me; my 2 younger sisters (1 surviving, youngest since deceased) had a total of qty-4 of the 200/240 SXs, having 1 S12, 2 S13’s and 1 S14 between them (middle sister still owns 1997 240SX as her only car). All of them notchbacks, no hatchbacks (a bit sheepish since I’ve owned nothing but hatchbacks since 1981).
Youngest sister started things off, about 1988, when her hand-me-down from parents 1984 Pontiac Sunbird lost it’s 2nd engine in about 70k miles (original plus one new replacement from GM) despite having regular maintenance at the dealer it was bought new from. I went car shopping with her back then but I have to admit I wasn’t around when she found her 1985 200SX at a used car dealer, it was the deluxe model (forget the trim level, XE or XSE or something else) with automatic, all the lights across the top of the dash, and I think the heads-up display for speedometer. I bought the factory service guide for it and it was about the best, most descriptive one I’ve ever seen; didn’t fix too many things on it for her because it was totalled in a hailstorm a year or two after she got it….too bad, it was a really nice car…I briefly considered one of these back in 1986 before I bought my ’86 GTi, looked at a used one (maybe an ’84 or ’85) but it was a hatchback (naturally) and standard (also naturally, as I’ve not owned automatic since 1981). My pre-1981 car was a Datsun 710 (with automatic) and other than it being very sluggish car, it was reliable to get me through 4 years of undergraduate plus another (almost) year working my first job out of school. Guess I had transitioned to VW since at the time I owned a ’78 Scirocco and really wanted to try a GTi, otherwise I might have owned a 200SX. She drove it to my place one weekend and left it so I could work on it, had some minor issues like a vacuum leak I found in the intake bellows; the car had great for the time built-in diagnostics which flashed codes (pre-scanner days) on one of the dash lights kind of like ascii code that you’d look up in the service manual to find which sensor picked up some abnormality. It also had fried wire between the light switch ( on the signal stalk) and one of the low-beam headlights…turned out to be a fried contact; I found an unused one and had to inform my sister which switch setting now turned on the lights; as a young college student she of course had limited funds for repair and being able to get the car inspected trumped the minor inconvenience of having an odd switch selection position to turn on the lights.
After said hailstorm, she went out and bought a 240SX (S13) coupe, I was partially involved as I had checked out the car and though I liked it the dealer wasn’t dealing well and the price was way high…but my sister was in “love” and paid the asking amount for it. I’m jumping ahead, because sister #2 (middle sister) also bought a burgundy S13 coupe in the interrim; I remember it was the day after the singer Selena was shot; since we drove to San Antonio to buy it, though I have to admit I didn’t know who Selena was at the time, it was very apparent she was well loved in San Antonio. I coached my middle sister to play it cool and look at several other cars before looking at the 240SX which I knew was what she really wanted. We drove it over to my youngest sister’s house (she was still living in the same city in which middle sister and I live) for her “OK” since middle sister didn’t want to offend youngest sister in getting the same model car…so both sisters have S13 notchback 240SX’s, one white, one burgundy…..
Until…middle sister is involved in fender bender with her burgundy 240SX….maybe 2 years later. Accident doesn’t look too bad, but I found out they towed the car with the rear wheels down maybe 13 miles, and I told my sister to let the insurance car know about that, they end up totalling the car (it is automatic of course). So middle sister goes out and buys a new 1997 240SZ (S14)…notchback of course, automatic of course, which she still owns now. A few odd problems (gas tank had to be replaced when it started leaking gas) but its been a good car for her….and everyone seems to want to buy it from her…since it is the last 2 years of that car before they discontinued it, and it is pretty unusual car, they must not have sold many…and I’m sure it was expensive (middle sister never told me what she paid and left me out of the shopping, kind of a slap in the face after I helped her buy all her previous cars.
Back to youngest sister, she has a sales job where she’s driving all over the city, putting 30-40k miles per year on the 240SX, but isn’t keeping up the oil changes…well,
she should have learned from the Sunbird (which had regular oil changes but still went through 2 engines, last one throwing a rod, in less than 70k miles total for 2 engines)..her car needs engine work, but her boyfriend (later husband) lets her take over his 1996 Camry…which she had until 2008, when sadly she passed away of Ovarian cancer at age 37.
So…I’ll always associate these cars with my younger sisters. Have a soft spot for Datsun/Nissan as it was my first car too, and I always thought of the 200SX as being an offshoot of the middle sized RWD Datsuns of the 1970’s. Middle sister also briefly owned a Toyota, but haven’t owned any other make Asian cars in my (immediate) family.
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