Commuter Car? 1986 Nissan 200SX XE Coupe

This one is a little newer than usual for the pages of Barn Finds, but it was so nice that I couldn’t resist it. It’s a 1986 Nissan 200SX XE Coupe and it’s on eBay with no takers at an opening bid of $500. Even at that opening bid the reserve won’t be met, as it shouldn’t be, this is one nice car. It’s in Naples, Florida so you can figure out your flight there and then your route back home; this one has fly-there/drive-home written all over it.

The seller mentions a tiny spot of rust of surface rust behind the rear wheel but I don’t see a flaw in this car anywhere, other than some wear on the pedals. Whether a person likes the style of this car or not, it’s now 30+ years old so it’s technically (according to my rules) old enough to be shown here! Hopefully the car guys and gals that read Barn Finds every day aren’t just into 1940s and 1950s cars or just into muscle cars from the 1960s and 1970s. This Nissan is in absolutely gorgeous condition. The Nissan Silvia was known as the 200SX in North America and they were here between 1983 and 1988. This is a rear-wheel drive car so hey, it’s got that going for it if nothing else.

The interior, other than those slightly-worn pedals, looks like new, and thankfully it’s a 5-speed car! The dash is as perfect as when it rolled off of the factory line in Kanda in the Fukuoka Prefecture, one of Japan’s four main islands and a manufacturing location of Nissan since 1975. This car has the XE package which adds, among niceties such as power windows and mirrors and fancy fabric seats, a “vocal warning system”. That’s a computerized voice telling you that “your lights are on” and other initially-fun-but-often-eventually-tiring things. This 200SX also has the Electronics Package. No, that doesn’t include a Commodore 64, but it consists of digital instruments, rain-sensing wipers, a cassette tape player with equalizer, a sunroof and alloy wheels. It’s sort of a political pork-barrel-like package of things, some of which have have absolutely nothing to do with electronics or technology what so ever, like alloy wheels and bronze glass.

There are no engine photos showing Nissan’s CA20E, 2.0L inline-four with 105 hp that’s under that perfect hood. This car is really for collectors or at least lovers of vintage Japanese cars. But, it could also be an inexpensive, and really nice daily driver for anyone looking for something other than a melted-bar-of-soap-looking vehicle made for 2017. Do you, or would you, commute with a vehicle that’s 30 years old?

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Comments

  1. grant

    I’d daily it, it looks like a great work beater, as long as it doesn’t go over about $1500. It is the perfect work car, really. It’s in phenomenal shape, and it is absolutely not special; at all (IMHO.) A Barn Find? Well, no. I can’t imagine anyone collecting these or considering them an enthusiast car. But with that said, there are people who collect barbed wire. Your finds sometimes lean toward the “wtf” end of the spectrum for me Scotty but I love the oddballs you dig up. Please don’t stop!

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  2. chad

    this is not what I hoped…there was 1 of these that the driver could configure with the supplied panels into a wagon, sedan, and, and, what was the 3rd one…can’t remember. Can any1 else? Wasn’t it the mid ’80s Nissan XE?…NX? X2?…

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    • Adam T45

      I know the car you’re talking about. In Australia it was called the Nissan EXA. This is a photo of it.

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    • PRA4SNW

      I remember those too – Nissan Pulsar,

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  3. Leon

    I haven’t seen a Pulsar in years. Anyone else see one ??

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    • paul

      Yep, I see one every morning on my way to work, oh, actually I drive one every day to work! LOL

      I actually love the 200SX and had a 1984 200 SX Turbo in high school brand new.

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    • CarNut from Winnipeg

      There were 3 or 4 listed on Autotrader.ca about a month ago.

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  4. DRV

    Seems like a Nissan Celica if there was one.
    Drive it but keep it nice. If there is a future in car collecting, this one belongs to the future.

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  5. Coventrycat

    Had one back around 1990, and that’s the last one I’ve seen since.

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  6. Mr. TKD

    My best friend had an ’84 that saw extensive highway duty. It was a fun car to drive that asked for little more than an oil change. It got great fuel economy and never broke down. If I had the scratch, I’d be a bidder.

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  7. Rob

    I would bid if I could. I would hate to see any Boy Racer get ahold of this and attempt to live out their Fast and Furious daydreams and trash this.

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    • Alan (Michigan)

      Was thinking the same thing. Being a RWD, there might be a pseudo-racer out there who would chop it up and drift it. Until it was totaled, anyway.

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  8. daniel wright

    Is this what was called a Silvia?

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  9. moosefeather

    Had a friend wanting to sell me an identical car except in a hatch back. I just started to look for a run around town car for the kids (5) so they could get themselves to all their activities on their own. I asked him to let me drive it for the week. My sons took it one night to a practice and ran out of gas. He coasted to the curb but just past the intersection. My other son got out the passenger side to push it. Just then it started, they backed up with the door open and caught it on the curb and bent it forward. That was that and we owned an ’86 200 sx.
    Other than the extra cost for the body work etc. it was a really good car. Had some options that were probably ahead of its time. Anyone wanting a good reliable runner wouldn’t do bad to pick this up.

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  10. Norm

    I would feel guilty driving that car in Illinois in the winter (lots of salt) but also guilty in the summer because our roads are pitiful. My current daily is a slightly rusted 1990 Honda Accord DX 5 speed

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    • leiniedude

      H Norm, when I am working my driver is a 1991 Civic DX 5 speed. Very little rust, except I had to bolt the bumper back on with threaded rod after the brackets rusted off. Wisconsin salt here.

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  11. gerry

    I was just cruising the Japanese car sites this weekend (we don’t have an Ebay japan yet)
    Saw a few of these and the Nissan EXE in all configurations
    I had JDM 87 Pulsar back in the early 90’s it was good car
    The Silvia (notchback) line was good looking right up until and through these along with the sister car the Gazelle (hatchback)
    Most of the JDM models came with the turbo

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  12. Fred W.

    I can vouch for these being good cars, bought one new, a shade darker blue with AT. Very nice driving, reliable car. Probably good for 200K miles had I kept it. If anyone here buys this let us know. Edit: now up to around 2K but still reasonable at that.

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  13. AKADriver

    I owned an ’86 200SX hatchback in 2001-2002. It wasn’t as nice as this one, but it was $300 back then. These are great cars and very collectible, especially with the manual and neat options (though it’d be better as a turbo or SE-V6).

    Rare to find one from Florida with an interior that hasn’t cracked or split. I guess the bronze glass worked.

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  14. Steve

    ls swap!!!

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  15. nessy

    My uncle used to always buy a new Datsun Z car every 4 or 5 years from the early 240Z days. When this new style 200SX came out in 84, he switched from a Turbo ZX to one of these. I’ll always remember when he first opened his garage door to show me this dopey looking thing in boring silver/gray. What a let down. His dumb salesman talked him into it because it was an all new model. Biggest mistake. Not because it was a pile of junk but because it was such a major downgrade from a Z car. He kept that box for only a year before he traded it in on a new 300ZX Turbo. Ah, it was such a relief to see another Z car back in his garage. Everyone thought he went crazy when he bought that 200SX. Needless to say, I have a sour taste for the 200SX models.

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  16. Adam T45

    I’ve owned various Nissans over the years. The biggest weakness of these is the fact that the CA20 engines became prone to cylinder head problems as they aged. The alloy head could start to become “soft” over time, leaving them prone to blowing the head gasket. This necessitated removal and machining of the cylinder head. If the car has ever had a head gasket replaced, or has ever suffered an over-heated engine I’d run in the opposite direction. The other alternative would be to transplant an FJ20 engine (either turbo or non-turbo) into the engine bay. The hatchback version of these was available in Japan with the FJ 20, and were virtually bullet-proof. Having said that, this is one that I wouldn’t mind having in my garage.

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  17. Art

    Had an 81, brown and copper with craiger ss gold centers and a front air dam. Loved that thing and if it hadnt been stolen I would still have it.

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  18. Dave W.

    The Nissan featured looks a little like my 1992 Honda Accord LX that has
    104 k miles on it fully loaded with power moon roof etc. a great car used
    by my wife . maybe 10 miles a week driven for the last 3 years. I may put it up for sale or keep as a back up car if my 2000 Odyssey ever konks out .

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    • Mike H

      Dave W – I’ve always been a fan of the 4th Generation Accord coupés and yours looks to be a beauty! These cars (to me) represent a pinnacle of the the Accord development; while the later cars are a bit more refined this generation of Accord offered a great ride and styling, especially in the 2-door body.

      I’ve owned a half dozen of these, with my personal favourite being a 1993 SE coupé I bought a few years ago for my daughter. Nicer trim, leather, factory rear deck spoiler, and the Bose audio.

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      • David Weil

        Trade in value is zip on my one owner car and resale probably the same unfortunately . I saw the car on a car dealer’s turntable in 92 and bought
        it as a surprise for my wife. She was driving a 4 door 64 Oldsmobile Jet Star
        and complained that all the small cars were passing her on her way
        to work and back. After, she said it was too hard for her friends to get
        in the backseat,put stuff in the backseat and the trunk was too small
        in her Honda. How can you make a wife happy ?

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      • Mike H

        I wish I knew how to answer that last question. On wife #4 right now, so I clearly don’t have a clue.

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      • Adam T45

        When it comes to keeping wives happy, I have one wife that I’ve now had for 30 years. I tend to work on the theory that I buy things, and then it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. I once bought a speedway car and there was not a single word exchanged in our house for 2 full days. We the graduated to her referring to the car as “it”! Things eventually settled down.

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  19. M1abrams

    If this isn’t broadly considered a collectible Japanese car, perhaps it should be. Collectors of older Japanese cars note the ’80s cars for their straight body lines, pop-up headlights, electronic options, etc. What makes this particular 200SX stand out beyond it being a 5 spd in excellent condition is that it is a notchback version, not a hatchback.

    Unlike the front-wheel drive Nissan Pulsar and Honda Accord that were mentioned, the 3rd generation Nissan 200SX came with rear-wheel drive and independent rear suspension.

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  20. Alan (Michigan)

    Sold for $3727.
    A bit too rich for me, I was at about $3K. The seller did not respond to an inquiry about the AC. The mention about the driver’s seat needing additional padding, and the only photo of that with something on it, had me making skeptical faces anyway. I’d have done the DD with it. Where can you buy a $51K mile sporty car for this kind of money?

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