Hooniverse Fastback Friday – 1989 Nissan 200SX S13

Right now, it feels like the Toyotabaruion FRZ-86 is the car of the moment. It’s got the basics right: a reasonabru four-cylinder engine, rear wheel drive and a sleek fastback two-door shape. I do think it’s got too much of the 2010s kinetic ADD design feature gadgetry about it, as there’s hardly a clean angle on it, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Thing is, I want and expect other manufacturers to continue in that direction. I need them to. The Eclipse is dead, but being a Celica competitor it never was the same thing, was it? Mazda’s most likely doing something with an RX-8 replacement. Nissan should make something that fits the Silvia bloodline, since it’s now been without a pulse for years after the S15 was phased out.

Here, then, we have something Silvia-related that still looks good after all these years. It’s a 1989 200SX and it’s got the right bits everywhere.

The S13 200SX sold here had the CA18DET 1.8-litre turbo, a significantly sportier engine than the KA24DE truck lump on the US 240SX. Of course, it’s simply less of an engine than the 180SX’s SR20DET (or this is what I’ve let myself be told by a formerly 200SX-rebuilding friend), but in this chassis it produces a handsome 30hp more than in the S12 Silvia in which it formerly served. I know that in the States a 200SX was not much more than a Sentra coupe that looked like a Saab 900NG from behind, but let’s keep things RWD round here for now.

And speaking of the S12, while I love everything ’80s and edgy, the S13 is a clear improvement with its classical sports car dimensions and shapes. It’s a Japanese Firebird, so to speak.

This pre-facelift 1989 car is an original Finnish-bought car and not a later private import, which are common (and beaten). The difference between the Finn cars and German imports is that the former are mostly rotten through and beaten, the latter are less rusty but beaten. The 200SX is an attractive buy in the “have a couple grand, want to drift around the market square” segment and it shows in the condition of the examples for sale right now.

It’s nice to see this S13 still has its original turbine wheels with the center caps still present. I’m thinking the tire size isn’t quite right as they seem to somehow sink into the arches, but maybe I’ve just gotten used to seeing show-off wheels in these.

The first thing I would do would be to check the spoiler mounts, they rust on these just like they rust on everything. It’s a shame this Nissan is this dirty, as it seems to be in very good nick under the caked-on mud. I didn’t see rust anywhere on it at a quick glance.

And yes, that is the black Bronco II  from a couple weeks ago.

Two remarks with this last photo: windshield must be from at least 1996 if not older, there’s an old tax sticker last seen then. Another thing are the extremely period-correct, Talmu-made yellow DRL:s that are a staple on any Finnish sports car with pop-up headlights; it’s a good thing to be able to drive around town without having to pop your lights up in wintertime when the car is all frozen over. Yep, we do have to have driving lights on at all times.


[Images: Copyright 2012 Hooniverse/Antti Kautonen]

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