Looking at images of the Silvia recently, I was surprised that I had never noticed how many styling cues the 1988 S13 takes from the first Silvia, the 1965 CSP311. Part of it probably has to do with the fact that Americans think Nissan 240SX when they hear S13, and the 240SX encompassed both coupe and fastback body styles, all with flip-up headlights. But in Japan, the Silvia’s only form is a coupe with fixed headlights. From there you can see the hood’s taper, roofline, and C-pillar treatment. Even the S13’s wheels look like an updated alloy of the CSP311’s wheel covers.
Whether Nissan intended this or not is unknown but we do know that the CSP311 Silvia was Nissan’s first attempt at a specialty car. That’s Japanese for a personal coupe based on another platform with an emphasis on style, yet does not share any lines with an existing sedan. And we know that after the tech-infused 80s styling of the S12, Nissan was looking to return the Silvia to its specialty car roots with a priority on a lightweight, airy chassis and bold design.
The S13 won a Good Design Award from MITI upon release and TV ads called it the “Art Force Silvia,” so Nissan was obviously shooting for some kind of recognition for styling. Maybe I’ve just been staring too long. Heck, I never noticed this before despite once owning a 240SX. What do JNCers think?