Features

Just looking – Nissan 200SX (S14)

Tired of the relentless march of technology-assisted performance? 1990s Nissan is here to help...

Navigate the front page of evo.co.uk this week and you’ll be bombarded by the technologically advanced – electric record-breaking Corvettes, V12 hypercars, Bugatti’s new showroom and the Porsche Mission E.

Each meriting coverage, of course, but it does make you pine for simpler times, of sweet front-engined, rear drive balance, of manual gearboxes and brawny engines.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

Just Looking delivered all that last week in the form of a tidy E34-generation BMW M5 but this week we’ve gone even more down-to-earth with a Nissan 200SX.

Like the BMW, it’s best-known among enthusiasts by its internal model designation, here S14. That distances it from the S15 that followed (and was never officially imported to the UK) and the appealing early 90s curves and pop-up headlights of the S13.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

This particular example, on sale with Tom Harvey in London and spotted via Classic and Performance Car, is a 1997 example and as such boasts a facelift that brought welcome aggression to the otherwise indistinct visage of the pre-facelift cars.

They were never rated for their styling back in the day (evo’s predecessors at Performance Car deplored its ‘Japanese blandness’ in December 1995) but today it’s an attractively simple and well-balanced shape. Made nicer still by seeing it in pure, standard form – drifters (of the tyre-smoking rather than vagrant kind) have all but decimated original S14 numbers.

The 200SX has always been great to drive, too. While Performance Car wasn’t keen on the styling, it finished third in a ten-car coupe test in that issue on handling and performance merit. The Nissan tailed an E36 BMW 323i, but was described as ‘right on the BMW’s tail in the desirability stakes.’

Thank the 200bhp, turbocharged four-cylinder for that (the BMW's inline-six made only 170bhp, and 181lb ft of torque to the Nissan's 195lb ft), and its ‘ripping mid-range acceleration’. Its ‘very entertaining’ rear-drive chassis also received commendation. A 6.8-second 0-60mph time is still respectably brisk by modern standards, and the appeal of a small coupe body and manual ‘box is, if anything, stronger than ever.

That’s something Nissan still offers of course, in the form of the 370Z. Given the rising appeal of clean 200SXs the price of this 1997 example, at £8995, would almost get you a tidy, used 370Z (and comfortably get you its 350Z predecessor).

Which raises an interesting conundrum: What exactly would you do with this seemingly pristine, black-on-black, 34,000-mile S14?

Advertisement - Article continues below

We’re not fans of storing cars away never to be used, but at which point does one choose preservation – even of a car with driving pleasure so plainly at its core – over hard use? Answers on a nice, old-tech postcard.

> Find Nissan 200SXs for sale on Classic and Performance Car

Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/used-cars/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

23 Jan 2020
Visit/lotus/202124/lotuss-badge-engineered-specials-from-cortina-to-carlton-and-vx220
Lotus

Lotus's badge-engineered specials: from Cortina to Carlton and VX220

19 Jan 2020
Visit/sports-cars/202115/porsche-718-cayman-and-boxster-gts-ditch-four-cylinder-for-flat-six
sports cars

Porsche ditches four-cylinder for flat-six in Cayman and Boxster GTS

15 Jan 2020
Visit/morgan/202113/strictly-limited-morgan-plus-4-70th-anniversary-edition-revealed
Morgan Plus 4

Strictly limited Morgan Plus 4 70th Anniversary Edition revealed 

15 Jan 2020
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/auctions/202147/ps6million-lancia-collection-of-dreams-to-go-under-the-hammer
auctions

£6million Lancia collection of dreams to go under the hammer

World Rally-winning Group A Integrale stars in world’s best collection of racing Lancias
24 Jan 2020
Visit/seat/leon-cupra/202143/seat-leon-cupra-r-st-abt-review-spicy-spanish-dish-gets-even-more-sizzle
SEAT Leon Cupra

SEAT Leon Cupra R ST Abt review

50 horsepower boost puts extra pep in the Leon Cupra’s already athletic step
23 Jan 2020
Visit/dodge/202135/police-spec-dodge-charger-given-1500bhp-widebody-kit-and-awd
Dodge

Dodge Charger given 1500bhp, widebody kit and AWD 

US-based Speedkore Performance works its magic for one-off creation
22 Jan 2020
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019