The Tale of S-Chassis (1/2)

Remember the blue and orange car of ‘The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift’? Praising it, Twinkie said, “This car right here is like the Mona Lisa of the drift work.” He was talking about the Nissan S15. When we think about JDM legends, the few names that come to mind are the Nissan GT-R, Toyota Supra, Honda NSX, and Nissan Fairlady Z.  But among all the cars Nissan has produced, it is the S-chassis which has left one of the most prominent marks in the automotive industry. As for the Silvia line, it doesn’t only comprise of the S13, S14, and S15 drift. Today we will also talk about the young timers that took JDM by storm in the 80’s.


To me Nissan’s S-chassis is the dream car fleet like the Lamborghini Gallardo, Ford GT and – of course – R34! But the appeal of S-Chassis is unexplainable. The cars we all know better are S13, S14, and Silvia S15 – all of which are in our country. From time attack to drag and drift, the S-chassis has done everything right. Also, till date whatever points somebody notices a Silvia, the main thing comes in the back of the head is DRIFTING! FR layout and long wheelbase make it an ideal drift car. The Silvia has made a colossal impact among JDM lovers all around the world for its compact size, affordable price, amazing performance, lightweight and easy-to-modify engines. It’s also a pure driver’s car for its minimalistic cockpit and FR layout. It’s likewise a perfect driver’s car for its moderate cockpit and FR layout, and DAMN! It looks soo good to look at!

To know more about these legends, here’s the first installment of the run of what it took to make the modern-day Silvia.

CSP311 (1965 – 1968)

Nissan Silvia CSP311 Auto Rebellion

The world’s first glimpse of the Silvia came at the 1964 Tokyo motor show, and the project has won the hearts of all visitors with great sympathy the fist car to carry the Silvia badge. Which was coupe based on the Fairlady convertible. Less than 600 cars were built and entirely hand build Silvia name was unused until1974 this beautiful coupe is not a true S-platform car. Nissan Silvia CSP311 had a design that was quite similar to the Roadster. In early March 1965, she enters the official production.

S10 (1975 – 1979)

Nissian Silvia 200SX Auto Rebellion

In 1974, Nissan was on the scene out a new model that will be the successor to the first Silvia and new sports coupe. She was called S10 and presented as original “sports car” that is for the Japanese market

S10 was the first ever Silvia developed on the S-Chassis Platform. It was the first Silvia in light of the S-Chassis arrange and highlighted a sports car shape, somewhat after 7 years after CPS311Nissan wiped off the Silvia nameplate. In reaction to the feedback of the first Silvia, Nissan made the S10 significantly more spacious and bulkier in extent. In 1977 it was re-budged to North America as the Dustan 200SX with a mild Facelift, the bigger bumper was added to meet more safety standers. In 1977 the S10 was re-budged to North America as the Dustan 200SX with a gentle Facelift; the bigger bumper was added to meet more security standers. In any case, whatever it was budged, the reality remains that the S10 was a humble Datsun Sunny underneath a roadster body. In its birthplace in Japan, S10 came with 1.8 liter 4 cylinder which generated 79kW at 6000 rpm. And the US-spec engaged 2.0 L20B engine giving S10 about 70kW.

S110 (1979 – 1983)

Auto Rebellion Nissan Silvia

The S110 was the car that changed the way Silvia used to look, way better than previous “Baked Potato” it was produced in 1979-1983 and sold under various names. The S110 is the most unrecognizable name in the Silvia Generations… This is because the S110 had six different names it went by as well, and unless you knew every single one of them, (including Datsun): Silvia, Gazelle, 180SX, 200SX, Sakura, depending on the target market. Together with the S110 generation, the Gazelle model was introduced, or “luxury Silvia”, in other words. Gazelle is characterized by better and richer equipment and a few elements that distinguish it from Silvia, which was more expensive. It was sold only in Japan. The external differences between Silvia and Gazelle are small, eg. emblems, grill, mirrors, etc. Nissan, always try something different, actually create the 1979 S110 Silvia with a rotary engine, however, they couldn’t make it reliable enough and ultimately went with a conventional inline-four.

Among the models from the S110 generation, a special version of the 240RS, which was used as the official Nissan car rally, can be highlighted. It has a naturally aspirated FJ24 engine (much different from the FJ20 family) with 240 hp and was produced in 200 pieces (most of the steering wheel on our “side”), between 1983 and 1985, after the sale of the usual S110 models.

As a curiosity to mention the Gazelle S110 in the convertible body, it was a copy produced for the Japanese police television series Seibu Keisatsu.

S12 (1983 – 1988)

Auto Rebellion Nissan Silvia

S12 was truly developed from the S110, a proper sports car with a “Pop-up” headlight .S12 was really the evolution of the S110, a full sports car with a pop-up headlight. Armature petrol head used to get confused between the “Hachiroku” (AE86) for its significant resemblance.  In 1983 Nissan started the production of S12 Silvia. It came badged as Silvia and Gazelle Japan, which were produced together. The new S12 is not only faster than its ancestor already had a luxurious interior was more spacious seating. It was introduced in 1983 and is more an S110 evolution than a totally new model. Like its predecessor, the car was sold under various names: 180ZX, 200SX, Silvia, Gazelle.

The S12 is the only generation equipped with a V6 engine. This is the naturally aspirated VG30E, 165 HP @ 5200 rpm, 236 Nm @ 4000. The torque is comparable to the turbocharged R4 engines. It was not offered on the Japanese market.

Auto Rebellion Nissan Motor

In Europe, a limited edition version of the “Silvia Grand Prix” has been released, with mostly expanded fenders.

Another special edition in Europe was the Silvia Champion, in honor of the Swiss football club Grasshopper Club, whose main sponsor was Nissan. This edition came with the CA18ET engine, price to some extent less than the Silvia Grand Prix.

Auto Rebellion Nissan Silvia

As for the use of the FJ20 series in the S110 and S12, it must be said that the engine compartment of these generation models differs from the Skyline DR30, so the intake manifold and exhaust have been redesigned. According to the late Mr. Shinichiro Sakurai, often called “Father Skyline”, the FJ20 engine was created exclusively for Skyline, but its advancement made the production very expensive, so it was soon decided to supply this engine with models S110 and S12. For the Japanese market, the FJ20 series engine existed in the S110 generation for b2 years (1981-1983), as in the S12 for just 3 years (1983-1986), sadly, as much as nothing; Although S12  stopped the production in 1988, only CA18DET was used since 1986.

Currently, the FJ20 series is most popular in Japan and Australia. Sometimes you can meet the swaps of this engine for other cars, not just Nissan. And the power of over 500 hp is not an option, especially in dragsters.

It is not possible not to mention the ‘Silhouette Formula (Super Silhouette)” from 1979-1984, the powerful body kits and a lot of power under the hood. Nissan used the 570 hp LZ20B 2.1L turbo engines that hosted Silvia, Bluebird, nd Skyline. As you can see in the pictures below, the heavily modified S110 and S12 bodies were used.

Auto Rebellion Nissan Silvia S12 Super Silhouette
Nissan Silvia S12 Super Silhouette

Stay with us for the final installment of this series.

Disclaimer: Pictures used in this article are collected from various sources on internet.

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