The Nissan 200SX Is Kinda Like an AE86 But With a V6 | This One Is Prepped for Endurance Racing

MaxC, maybe this person’s real name, maybe a clever alias, explains how this 1988 Nissan 200SX V6 project came to start:

Back in 2009 my friend was invited by another friend to race an MR2 at a new series called "Chumpcar" in a 24 hour race at Portland International Raceway.  I have always been a die hard car guy.  When my friend told me what he was going to do, having no money, I decided to volunteer.  My brother and I volunteered for the race and worked probably 16 hours of it, and I was ruined for life.  I have always loved cars, and racing to me is the absolute pinnacle of my car interests. 

But then, of course, life got in the way: marriage, kids, work, etc. You know, the usual. 

Fast forward to modern times, and MaxC wants to go racing:

I really wanted to have a running/driving car to start with, and focus on the actual race car building things (roll cage, etc). Z31's seemed to be in my budget and plentiful, running with 5 speeds and titles.  I found one that I wanted to look at, and added an s12 200sx V6 to the list as it is very similar to the z31 but combined with a bit of S-chassis nostalgia. Never made it to see the Z31, because I came home with this bad boy after the first look.  $1000, SE V6, 5 speed, clean title, so many small problems its not even funny.  Fun fact: this car was produced 87-88 and received FIA homologation for competition in the WRC, and is the last RWD rally car to win a WRC Stage (Ivory Coast 1988).  Bonus '84 turbo hood! Its actually a very rare car, so why not cut it up and make it a race car?

How does this one get on track? Check out the build thread for the details

 

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drock25too
drock25too Reader
1/13/21 12:00 p.m.

I had an '85 200sx with 4cy turbo and 5 speed manual. It was a fun little car. 

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
1/13/21 12:07 p.m.
drock25too said:

I had an '85 200sx with 4cy turbo and 5 speed manual. It was a fun little car. 

I had an '85 200sx with 4cy N.A. and 5 speed manual. It was a fun little car although down on horsepower.   

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/13/21 1:08 p.m.

I remember Dad raced the previous gen 200SX in ITB at Portland and Seattle.  Upgraded the rear brakes to discs from a later model 200SX.  The L20B was a pretty impressive motor, even if the styling of that gen was, um, interesting to say the least.

Always wanted to put one fo the Z-car inline 6'es in that chassis with the Datsun Racing bubble flares.

I digress though.

I love that someone is paying attention to these cars, they are pretty neat even if they are overshadowed by the Z-car and the later Silvia.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/13/21 1:38 p.m.

My brother had one, too, while in college: white over blue. 

Vajingo
Vajingo Reader
1/13/21 2:41 p.m.

It really is a PNW style car. We have all the weird and neglected Japanese cars. 

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 9:24 a.m.

Those things are pretty close to extinct in my area of the country. The only time ive seen one in the past 5 years or so was at a Radwood show. 

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
1/14/21 9:52 a.m.
Stefan (Forum Supporter) said:

I remember Dad raced the previous gen 200SX in ITB at Portland and Seattle.  Upgraded the rear brakes to discs from a later model 200SX.  The L20B was a pretty impressive motor, even if the styling of that gen was, um, interesting to say the least.

Always wanted to put one fo the Z-car inline 6'es in that chassis with the Datsun Racing bubble flares.

I digress though.

I love that someone is paying attention to these cars, they are pretty neat even if they are overshadowed by the Z-car and the later Silvia.

That's awesome! I'd say that's an even more rare car than this one! What a cool memory.  

MaxC
MaxC New Reader
1/14/21 9:58 a.m.

What a pleasant surprise! This is my car!  

I've put two years of work into this thing, late at night after the kids go to bed.  So definitely haven't done it for the recognition! I am honored though that GRM chose to feature this car.  It's a lesser known car, and its really cool to see that the "grassroots" (literal and figurative) car fans still have love for it! Thanks for the replies everyone. 

m4ff3w
m4ff3w UberDork
1/14/21 10:01 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

My brother had one, too, while in college: white over blue. 

Mine was white over blue, too.

 

I loved that car.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/21 12:19 p.m.

In reply to MaxC :

Cool car and thanks for sharing with the rest of the class. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/21 12:20 p.m.
m4ff3w said:
David S. Wallens said:

My brother had one, too, while in college: white over blue. 

Mine was white over blue, too.

 

I loved that car.

That's cool. I want to say that his was the upmarket hatch (XE?) with an auto. He bought it from our parents. My dad drove it before getting a 240SX.

Stefan (Forum Supporter)
Stefan (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/14/21 1:32 p.m.
MaxC said:
Stefan (Forum Supporter) said:

I remember Dad raced the previous gen 200SX in ITB at Portland and Seattle.  Upgraded the rear brakes to discs from a later model 200SX.  The L20B was a pretty impressive motor, even if the styling of that gen was, um, interesting to say the least.

Always wanted to put one fo the Z-car inline 6'es in that chassis with the Datsun Racing bubble flares.

I digress though.

I love that someone is paying attention to these cars, they are pretty neat even if they are overshadowed by the Z-car and the later Silvia.

That's awesome! I'd say that's an even more rare car than this one! What a cool memory.  

Yeah, Dad always took us kids to PIR to watch races while he crewed on a friend's Formula Ford.  Dad acquired the Datsun from my older brother after he bought it using his tuition money and brought it home from school.  Dad took the car and put him back on a bus to Klamath Falls.

Anyway, there wasn't much else to do with it so it had a bolt-in Autopower installed which was then welded up and some limited prep to get it race ready and away he went!  Once he cleared his licensing requirements he was able to enter a few events with it before it was parked for a bit due to business drying for a little while.  Dad and his friend Dave eventually teamed up with Norton Gaston to take the little Datsun up to Seattle for an Enduro.

They pulled the into Norton's shop (Dave's was next door and Dad's was a few more doors down the line), welded the differential, dropped something like 800lb springs on the front, added a small hood scoop and a venturi stack for the 2-bbl from Dave's Formula Ford and went racing in Seattle!  Of course it was raining and they had a welded rear diff and way too much spring rate in the front.  It actually held its own against the 2002's that were pretty dominant at the time.  Norton's comments about watching the two cars spin ahead of him and he decides that he'll spin the opposite direction for variety was pure Norton.  Dave spun the car too.  Very slowly on the front straight and gently nosed it into the pit wall near where we were pitted (I was watching from inside the support van since I was too young to be wandering around the hot pits).

Many years later I participated in the first ChumpCar race (and the only 24 hour race held at PIR) with a Shelby CSX-T that someone parked their truck on top after getting frustrated with it.  That was a lot of fun, even after we lost most of our forward gears and eventually lunched the clutch ending our day with 30 minutes to go.  We took the car to another event the following April and had some issues, but finished with a lot of good times had by all.

300zxfreak
300zxfreak Reader
1/14/21 9:24 p.m.

Yep, prior to being 300zxfreak, and owning two of the things, I had an '85 200SX Turbo. It was amazing how fast you could get the rear end to snap around when the turbo finally decided to go ahead with making boost.  And, just how fragile the synchros were in the trans.

grover
grover Dork
1/14/21 10:35 p.m.

I remember standing in my bedroom window on base in 1985 and watching dad drive up in our new Datsun 200sx. I was 5. I learned to drive in that car as well. Great memories. Dad drove that thing in the ground the drivers door pull was worn to the metal from his elbow. We had a hatchback and I use to lay in the back at night as stare at the stars. Good memories. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/18/21 5:53 p.m.

I'm surprised that car never became more popular. From the factory, you could choose turbo-four or V6.

CatDaddy
CatDaddy New Reader
1/18/21 11:50 p.m.

I found this build thread a few weeks ago and really enjoyed it!

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