RHD Rarity: 1978 Nissan Silvia S10

Here’s a find that gets points for uniqueness, at least on U.S. shores (and on Barn Finds), it’s a 1978 Nissan Silvia S10 with right hand drive. I know the name but not the car, so let’s take a closer look at it. This Nissan is located in Ferndale, Washington and is available, here on craigslist for $16,500. Thanks to Gunter K for this most unusual find!

The Silvia was offered across two different timelines, the first being from ’65 until ’68 and the second spanning ’75 through ’02. In the case of our subject car, it is known as a Silvia S10 and there was a U.S. version referred to as a Datsun 200SX – the first Silvia to be offered in an export version. All told, the S10/200SX proved to be popular with about 145K units being produced over its five model year run. The Silvia S10 became the S110 for 1979 though the U.S. version was still labeled as a 200SX.

There is no backstory on this Nissan though it is being offered by a firm known as The Import Guys and it’s pretty evident that this Nissan is a Japanese model, specifically identified by its fender-mounted mirrors and right-hand-drive steering. There is no mileage listed but this Silvia presents itself well. The finish is not faded and there are no obvious contusions, just some chrome pitting on places like the mirror bases. The driver’s side door (vehicle right side) does appear to have some bubbling going on in the right front corner. The rest of the exterior, including the black rubber trim, is in sound shape and the body panel alignment is as it should be.

The interior’s cloth upholstery looks like it is discoloring but it may be a trick of the light. Whatever the case, it doesn’t look worn though the dash pad is cracked and the lower portion of the door cards is faded. I tried getting a close-up of the instrument panel/odometer to see if the mileage could be read but no such luck. Nevertheless, the gauges and switchgear look fine but the steering wheel’s spokes are showing some wear, staining, or corrosion.  This Silvia, interestingly, has power windows, an option I would not have expected to find. By and large, the interior could be left as is.

There is no image of the engine included with the craigslist listing but there is one on the seller’s website. It’s somehow protected and I wasn’t able to snag it. Anyway, power is provided a 103 HP, 1.8 liter, in-line, four-cylinder fuel-injected engine, working through a five-speed manual transmission and driving the rear wheels. There is no comment offered regarding this car’s operating prowess.

This Nissan Silvia is available on these shores thanks to the Imported Vehicle Safety Compliance Act which allows foreign market vehicles, that don’t comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), to be imported once they reach the age of twenty-five model years. This act can be very advantageous to someone who desires a special interest, non-U.S. market vehicle; it remains to be seen if a commodity car like this Silvia will benefit value-wise. But it certainly could hold some charm for a potential new owner, one that prefers the idea of owning the original design as opposed to the Americanized version, wouldn’t you agree?


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  1. Moparman Member

    A former coworker had the US version (200SX) of this car in the exact same color. He traded in a ’72 Comet GT, IIRC. Other than how swoopy it looked at the time, I don’t remember anything else about it! :-)

    Like 1
    • Beel

      Funny, I don’t remember this style of 200SX. Thought I remembered most cars. OTOH, there weren’t too many Datsuns in Ohio in the late 70’s.

  2. CarNuTdAn

    As a teenager in the 90s i remember flipping through a old national geographic magazine and seeing a datsun ad for the american version of this. I wanted to cut the ad out to save it. Couldnt find that magazine again.

    Like 1
  3. TBAU Member

    My 3rd Grade teacher (1978) had a similar car in light metallic purple and we thought it was the coolest car ever. The speedometer went to 240km/hr so we ( obviously) believed that it would go that fast…

    Like 1
  4. Slightly Askew

    Cool. Looks like something from Isuzu or something that Martians would drive.

    Like 5
  5. Steve Clinton

    Those wacky Japanese.

  6. princeofprussia

    Arguably a ghastly looking car which was poorly assembled and lacked reliability, which was the case for most Datsuns of that era. My next door neighbor had one that he called a “pile of junk” almost from the day he brought it home from the showroom.

    • DON

      Well they rusted like beer cans here on the east coast, but I wouldn’t say the engines were junk .

  7. Howie Mueler

    I always wanted to drive a RHD car, this price is a bit too high.

    Like 3
  8. gtyates

    I had the 200sx version, a 1977 model when I was in high school. Fun little car, just hard to get repaired at that time. Mine had power mirrors and the switch broke. I went to the Datsun/Nissan dealer to order one and they could not find it in their parts catalog. I had the part in hand so they used the number on it to order me one. Point is, these were somewhat rare cars, especially the 3 model years of the body style that this Nissan has. Again fun car. I lost mine after a traffic accident. Couldn’t find the body parts needed so insurance totaled it.

    Like 1
    • Rudy

      I also had a silver 1977 Datsun 200SX. I bought it brand new for $4,995.00 in Toronto, Canada in February 1977. Great little car.

  9. Jcs

    Not one of Nissan’s best styling exercises seems like an understatement. This coming from someone who actually likes the 74 AMC Matador coupe. Hmmm…

    Like 4
  10. Miguel - Mexican Spec

    When they were on the streets yo didn’t really pay attention to them, but looking at it here now, the design seems really weird. I say that as a good thing.

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