By on April 19, 2012

It’s hard to get more stereotypically 80s than this car. Weird Japanese styling, headache-inducing upholstery patterns, and— most important— TURBO! I was 20 years old when this car was new, and the sight of this Crusher-bound example gave me terrible A-Ha flashbacks.
While not quite as gloriously ridiculous as the Mitsubishi Cordia Turbo, and not as fast as the Dodge Omni GLH, the 200SX Turbo came with a respectable-for-the-time 120 force-fed horses under the hood.
Well, maybe not so respectable when you consider the 200SX’s curb weight: 2,734 pounds.
So it was a bit sluggish for an alleged sporty car. So what? Check out the seats!


You see, the word “Turbo” had magical connotations during the middle 1980s. Major Motion!

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19 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan 200SX Turbo...”


  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    The upholstery on those seats makes me wonder if that is what a bad acid trip is like.

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    I just posted about one of these I brought back from near dead in another blog post about the most thrashed cars of all time – a blog post that seems to have disappeared…

    I bought my ’86 200SX in 2001 for $500 and put it back on the road with just a little elbow grease. It was pretty well trashed when I drove it off the lot but once I got it running right it took everything I could throw at it. It had more than enough power (although I will confess it didn’t feel as fast as my 88 Shadow Turbo) and it stuck perectly no matter how hard I threw it into a corner.

    I remember these cars fondly – don’t rag on the weird interiors or the garish digital dashboards. It was the 1980s and we were living in the future. We had no idea then that the future would be so bland.

  • avatar
    tmkreutzer

    I just posted about one of these I brought back from near dead in another blog post about the most thrashed cars of all time – a blog post that seems to have disappeared…

    I bought my ’86 200SX in 2001 for $500 and put it back on the road with just a little elbow grease. It was pretty well trashed when I drove it off the lot but once I got it running right it took everything I could throw at it. It had more than enough power (although I will confess it didn’t feel as fast as my 88 Shadow Turbo) and it stuck perfectly no matter how hard I threw it into a corner.

    I remember these cars fondly – don’t rag on the weird interiors or the garish digital dashboards. It was the 1980s and we were living in the future. We had no idea then that the future would be so bland.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    This one looks more or less straight, save for the minor dent behind the right rear wheel.

    Sadly, the interior looks kind of beat in places where it shouldn’t, the doors and door pulls, seats appear to be OK still.

    I love how the Japanese interpreted the 80′s with their sometimes weird upholstery choices and other design elements. This is one of the reasons I love the look of the 80′s. Now, I don’t mean to imply that I liked everything from that decade, but there were many things I did like however.

    Almost looks like it’s complete, nearly and it got one too many tickets or something and it simply got hauled away, judging by the still current parking permit sticker.

  • avatar
    gmrn

    Not sure of the displacement of this motor, but unless it was a 1.3…that was not respectable HP for the time. The aforementioned GLH was, I believe, 142HP from the turbo 2.2.
    Heck, even the 1.6 4AGE in my old FX-16 was 112hp without forced induction.

  • avatar
    Steve-O

    Call me crazy but I still like this car. I remember seeing the C&D road test when I was a kid and thinking, “This is really futuristic!” with it’s digital dash and turbo. It’s got lean, clean, crisp lines. Yes, there are some tacky 80′s era styling tricks but overall its got an honest, modern look.

    As for the upholstery…it’s just plain strange, even by 1980′s standards.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Given what passes for normal in car interiors anymore, I’d kill for a large amount of strangeness.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve-O

        Point taken. I’m fine with some funky details/design, just as long as we’re not talking about upholstery that doubles as a Rorschach test or some kind of optical illusion…

      • 0 avatar
        Joe McKinney

        I would love to see a quality cloth interior in a new car. Now that everyone wants leather, cloth is typically relegated to base models and tends to be very cheap looking. I would also like to see an interior in a color other than shades of gray and tan.

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I had the non-turbo version. Not a fast car but fun to drive and bulletproof (although very easy to break the rear loose taking a turn in the rain). It had 175K when I gave it away, it’s probably still on the road.

  • avatar
    missinginvlissingen

    I object to the phrase “weird japanese styling.” I think this design was actually pretty classic. (And not in an ironic, post-nostalgia hipster way.) A lot of japanese cars at the time shared the same basic look — wedgy front end, steeply-raked liftback, straight lines with minimal embellishments, lots of glass. Think ’86-’89 accord hatchback, AE86 Corolla, this Nissan, and even the Mitsu Cordia mentioned earlier. These were sporty-looking cars with great hatchback practicality. Honda even did a 5-door variant of its Integra in the same styling idiom.

    Not all were great cars, but some were. If I could buy a new 1987 Accord or Integra hatchback, I’d do it today. Many other people would say the same for the AE86. I’ll shed no tears for this particular Nissan, but its styling was typical of a pretty good era of automotive design.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    2012 parking permits and a very clean body and engine bay. Looks like it was driven to the crusher.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    This has the CA18ET. Not a very potent motor. After the “TURBOTURBOTURBO!” era came the DOHC era in the mid-eighties for the Japanese machines. That’s when their sporty cars really started turning musclecar-crushing power figures. IIRC, there was a version of this car with the twin-cam version of the CA turbo. That engine was a real screamer, if a bit down on power in comparison to other drivetrains at the time. The following year, the SE S12 got the VG30 from the Z31 non-turbo. This seemed like a good deal to me, with these weighing 500lbs less than the Z, and fitted-out similarly. Anybody know the MSRP difference?

    These days the Z31 actually has a loyal following, while nice S12′s are thrown in the trash. Perhaps if they carried the “Silvia” badging of the JDM version they would be more popular?

  • avatar
    JMII

    Nice find, between this and the Accord Shooting Brake you guys have made my day. Hatchback + Turbo = WIN! in my book. Thus the reason my wife drives a Volvo C30, pretty much the modern day version of such a combination… except with great seats.

  • avatar
    cls12vg30

    I’m quite the 200SX aficionado, having had a 1982 hatch for my first car, and a 1988 SE V6, which I still own, but is currently in project status. It was my daily driver from 2001-2009, and I put about 110K miles on it in that time.

    There’s actually a small but loyal following for these cars on forums like http://www.club-s12.org.

    The VG30 model is a fun car, with a nice flat torque curve. It always handled well, but since I installed 1.5″ lowering springs it corners like it’s on rails. The V6 model is noticeably more nose-heavy than the four-banger cars, but as was mentioned above, it’s lighter than the 300ZX overall.

    The CA18DET was only available on these cars in Asia and Australia. The CA18ET, like this one, isn’t the strongest but takes well to upgrades. Many 200SX Turbo owners I know have successfully upped the boost by adapting Volvo intercoolers. These cars also take well to SR20 or KA24 transplants.

    It sucks to see an S12 in the junkyard, but it’s nice to see these forgotten cars getting some attention.

    BTW, Consumer Reports listed the base 2.0 liter 1988 200SX at $12,349 for the notchback, $12,599 for the hatchback. The SE V6 came only as a hatch, listed at $15,399. The 1.8 Turbo was not available in 1987 or 1988, being replaced by the V6.

  • avatar
    obbop

    Op-art


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