Dave's Nissan Silvia Australia Site - About

The history of the Nissan Silvia

Home: History

The page is devoted to the long running Silvia model's history, which started back in 1965 with the entrance of the CSP311 Model.

First off let me just acknowledge http://www.emergent.com.au/200sx/ as I initially pinched most of his history information without accrediting him for it. Admittedly i've pinched a little more so I thought id better throw in a acknowledgement :)

According to the Chief Designer, Mr. Ootake, the name "Silvia" comes from Greek Mythology and was the name of a beautiful Nymph. According to Roman Mythology (which borrows from the Greek) Siliva was the mother of Romulus and Remus (By Mars) and was the daughter of King Numitor. Her uncle gave her to to the goddess Vesta.

Jump to:

CSP311 - 1965 to 1974
S10 - 1974 to 1979
S110 - 1979 to 1983
S12 - 1983 to 1988
S13 - 1988 to 1994
S14 - 1994 to 1999
S15 - 1999 to Present


The Nissan Silvia CSP311 made it's public debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in September of 1964. For the design of the Silvia, Nissan engaged the services of a German designer by the name of Count Albrect Graf Goertz. Goertz later worked on other projects for Nissan including a four seater version of the Silvia that never reached production. He also came up with the concept and initial designs for the Datsun 240Z, unfortunately Nissan chose to heavily redesign the 240Z, eventually settling on a blander design for the production version, rather than the bold design by Goertz.

The "R" engine was a 1595cc over head valve engine with a 3 bearing crankshaft. The bore size was 87.2mm and the stroke 66.8mm. It was fitted with two 38mm Hitachi SU carbs and a light weight pressed steel exhaust manifold. It produced 96hp at 6000rpm and 103ft-lb of torque at 4000rpm. Later cars had an R engine with an alloy head and a 5 bearing crankshaft.

The above was a small extract from http://www.angelfire.com/ns/silvia/history.html

Also, be sure not to confuse the CSP311 with the 4-door Datsun 1600 (aka Datsun 510).

CSP311 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)3985/1510/1275
Wheel Base (mm) 2280
Curb weight (Kg) 980
Seating Capacity 2
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1595
Max Power90/6000
Max Torque
Original Price 1200000

Back to the top


Introduced 1974, the S10 is the original "modern" version. The S10 was produced in fairly small numbers for the Japanese market. There were limited exports, and in some markets called as "Sakura".

The S10 was powered by a 1952cc 2.0L SOHC (L20B).

S10 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4135/1600/1300
Wheel Base (mm) 2340
Curb weight (Kg) 990
Seating Capacity 5
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1770
Max Power105/6000
Max Torque
Original Price 1045000

Back to the top


Enter the 180SX! The S110's entrance in 1979 saw the first release of the 180SX otherwise known as the hatchback version of the Silvia. Following suite with the fairlady's, the 180sx was named after the capacity of the engine (1.8L).

The S110 was powered by several engines - one was a 1952cc 4 cylinder producing 89kW as well as a 1770cc (presumably for the 180SX?) 4 cylinder engine yielding 68kW at 5800rpm and 139Nm at 3600rpm. Nissan also apparently experimented briefly with a rotary engine (supposively something similar in design to the Mazda 10A rotary) in the S110, but it was short lived as most Silvia's continued to be fitted with the conventional 1770cc engine.

Want to know more? http://home.soneraplaza.nl/qn/prive/fjp.roos/silvia.htm

An interesting fact I have come accross is the fact that the S110 was sold as both a Silvia and a Gazelle in Japan. Looking at the official photos of both, it would appear the Gazelle had the same mechanicals as the Silvia only it was more of a luxury spec model - much like the difference between our local commodore and calais.

S110 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4475/1680/1310
Wheel Base (mm) 2400
Curb weight (Kg) 1140
Seating Capacity 5
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1952
Max Power120/5600
Max Torque
Original Price 1665000

Back to the top


Introduced 1983 it came in two body styles (coupe, hatch). Once again both the Silvia and Gazelle were released side by side with visual characteristics being almost impossible to spot.

Called a "Gazelle" or "200SX" in most export markets, Japanese market cars had FJ20 or FJ20DET 2.0 16V engines, export Gazelles had CA18E 1.8, 8V "twin plug" engines with USA cars having the VG20 2.0 V6. An interesting thing to note is this japanese advertisement I found on a U.K. site which shows a CA18DET non intercoolered Silvia!

S12 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4430/1660/1330
Wheel Base (mm) 2425
Curb weight (Kg) 1170
Seating Capacity 5
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1990
Max Power190/6400
Max Torque
Original Price 2520000

Back to the top


Introduced 1988 in three body styles - the coupe (Silvia), hatch (180SX) and convertible version. S13s produced from 1988 to mid 1991 were CA18 powered which unfortunately came under constant critism about the drop in power from the S12's FJ20DET (142kW) to the new CA18DET (130kW). This is not to say that the CA18's weren't bloody quick! On the upside however, the new S13 won numerous awards in Japan due to its high level of technology and innovation such as Nissan's HICAS four wheel steering which is still used on cars such as the Silvia and GT-R to date.

But Nissan decided to revise its forerunning 4 cylinder engine with thought of creating something less sophisticated (since the CA18 was very sophisticated in its components and thus very expensive to build!) and more powerful than the aging CA18 block.

In mid 1991, Nissan introduced the SR20 to the world which continues to lead the silvia charge today in the latest S15 model. The SR20 has been in other well known cars such as the Pulsar GTiR and the Bluebird 4WD SSS.

S13 Summary (CA18):

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4470/1690/1290
Wheel Base (mm) 2475
Curb weight (Kg) 1120
Seating Capacity 4
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1809
Max Power175/6400
Max Torque
Original Price Silvia: 2140000
180SX: 2117000

Back to the top


Introduced 1993. New styling. Pop-up lights disappeared in all markets. SR20DET engine gets Nissan's variable valve timing. HICAS restricted to Japan only. Coupe styling only. (no hatch or convertible) Rear badges are highly polished and on the right side.

Australia saw the S14 in the guise of the 200SX. Sadly however, we failed to see alot of the standard japanese features such as a rear wiper blade, SuperHICAS, the Garrett T28BB (we only got the standard T28) and of course the jap spec SR20 output of 165kW (we only got 147kW).

S14a: Introduced 1997. Characterised by the "flatnose" front styling and a gunmetal Nissan badge on the rear. Rear badges moved to the left side. (I don't know why...) No mechanical changes.

S14 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4500/1730/1295
Wheel Base (mm) 2525
Curb weight (Kg) 1220
Seating Capacity 4
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1998
Max Power220/6000,N
Max Torque
Original Price 2594000

Back to the top


Introduced January 16 1999. Most suspension parts came from the R34 Skyline, and being aluminium should get the weight down somewhat.

Power output of the updated SR20DET is around 187kW. A 6-speed manual transmission is available

Two base trim levels (in Japan) SPEC-S (SR20DE) and SPEC-R (SR20DET)

For more information visit your local Nissan website such as http://www.nissan.com.au

S15 Summary:

ChassisDimensions (L/W/H)4445/1695/1285
Wheel Base (mm) 2525
Curb weight (Kg) 1240
Seating Capacity 4
EnginePiston Displacement (cc) 1998
Max Power (kW/rpm)187/6400
Max Torque
Original Price Unknown

Back to the top

June 2002
Contact Information