In 1977, Nissan, which then went by the name Datsun in the U.S., introduced the 200SX, a 2-door sport coupe. The original S10-series 200SX sold poorly, hampered by a combination of its quirky styling and the fact that Japanese imports were still not the dominant force in the North American market that they are today.
The 1977 Datsun 200SX
More S10 photos!--->>>
In 1980, the 200SX was completely redesigned. The S110-series 200SX was sold in Europe and Japan as the Silvia, in Australia and New Zealand as the Gazelle, and in Mexico as the Sakura. Hatchback and hardtop "notchback" coupes were offered. For 80 and 81, the U.S. 200SX was powered by the Z20E 2.0 liter 4-cylinder. For 1982-83 this engine was enlarged to 2.2 liters to create the Z22E. These cars enjoyed strong sales numbers throughout their run, and many are still on the road.
The 1982 Datsun 200SX Hatchback
More S110 photos!--->>>
On a personal note, it was a car virtually identical to the one above which started my love for the 200SX:
It was my first car, purchased when I was 16, a 1982 Z22E-powered 200SX hatchback. The color was black and RUST. (This was in Buffalo, NY.) It had 225,000 miles on it when I sold it for $50 less than I had paid for it. The nameplate scan below is from the actual plate off my car. I snagged the nameplate and shifter knob when I found the Datsun in a local junkyard a few months after I sold it. Someday soon I plan to purchase another and restore it to showroom condition.
For 1984 the S12-series was introduced. Another totally new car, this body style carried the 200SX through until 1989, when it was replaced in the U.S. by the S13, badged the 240SX. The rest of this site is devoted to the S12.
A group of S12s at a Nismo show in Japan.
More (non-SE V6) S12 photos!--->>>
From 1984-86, the 200SX was offered with two engine choices in the U.S., the CA20E 2.0 liter four, or the CA18ET, a 1.8 liter turbo. It was in 1987, however that Nissan offered the U.S. market something more. The turbo was dropped and, in approximately 5000 cars in 87 and 5000 in 88, the VG30E 3.0-liter V6 was shoehorned in to create the 200SX SE V6.
Other engines offered in other markets such as Japan, Australia, the U.K., and Europe include the FJ20E, FJ20ET. Also, it's rumored that there are a few late-production '88 S12's in Japan that got CA18DET's from the factory, just before production switched to the S13.
On a side note, few people are aware of the fact that the S12 200SX was in fact immortalized in Japan as all truly great cars are: it was made into a Penny Racer: