My Car Quest

December 13, 2018

The Nissan Silvia CSP311 Sports Car

by Mike –

In a comment on my sentimental things from the past post, Wayne Watkins from Australia mentioned his Nissan Silvia CSP311. What is a Nissan Silvia CSP311 you ask? That was my question too. Wayne sent in some photos of his Nissan Silvia CSP311 and being struck by the simplistic beauty if this little car that I had never heard of I was prompted to do some research. It looks sort of Italian to me but it is not.

Nissan Silvia CSP311

Nissan Silvia CSP311 – photo by Wayne Watkins

Nissan Silvia CSP311 Background Summary

The Nissan Silvia CSP311 is a hand made car based on the engine and chassis of the Fairlady 1600 (SP311). Nissan had styling help from Albrecht Goertz and prototype development help from Yamaha (who also built the Toyota 2000GT). The simple European style seems to have been influenced by Albrecht Goertz who designed the BMW 503 and 507.

It was produced from March 1965 to June 1968 with only 554 units being made. Most were sold in Japan and 49 examples were shipped to Australia and another 10 were sold in other countries. Wayne’s must surely be one of the 49 shipped to Australia (although it is now in Germany).

Nissan Silvia CSP311

Photo by the Nissan Heritage Collection

The Nissan Silvia CSP311 was introduced at the Tokyo Motor Show in September 1964 as the “Datsun Coupe 1500”, the Silvia name eventually stuck. It appears they only made coupes and no convertibles. It is a two seat sports car with a parcel shelf behind the seats.

The Nissan Silvia CSP311 became famous in Japan; because of it’s speed it was used by the police for patrolling the Daisan Keihin Road.

The following is quoted from the Nissan Heritage Collection,

Silvia debuts as a highway patrol car

In 1963, with the opening of a section of the Meishin Expressway, the first-generation Cedric Special (50) was the focus of attention when it was chosen as Japan’s first highway patrol car. Then in December 1965, with the opening of the Daisan Keihin Road, the first-generation Silvia (CSP311) was selected as a patrol car by the Kanagawa Prefectural Police. Since the speed limit on the No.3 Keihin was 80km/h, it was decided that a car capable of performing well at high speeds was needed for law enforcement. The Silvia, with its top speed of 165km/h, fitted the bill. This was the first time anywhere in Japan that a high-grade sports car had been put on police patrol, so it was front-page news.

This is the brief story of the Nissan Silvia CSP311 – a small hand made production run with styling that looks Italian – sounds like something an Italian car company would do. But as far as I can tell no Italians were involved in creating the Nissan Silvia CSP311.

I wonder why Nissan didn’t automate production and make a few more?

Let us know what you think of the Nissan Silvia CSP311 in the Comments.

 

 

Nissan Silvia CSP311 and Nissan Bluebird With The Sydney Opera House In The Background - photo by Wayne Watkins

Nissan Silvia CSP311 and Nissan Bluebird With The Sydney Opera House In The Background – photo by Wayne Watkins

Nissan Silvia CSP311 Specifications – From the Nissan Heritage Collection

Overall length
3,985mm

Overall width
1,510mm

Overall height
1,275mm

Wheelbase
2,280mm

Tread (front/rear)
1,270/1,198mm

Curb weight
980kg

Engine
Type R (4-cyl. in line, OHV), 1,595cc

Engine Max. power
66kW (90PS)/6,000rpm

Engine Max. torque
132Nm (13.5kgm)/4,000rpm

Top speed
165km/h

Note: First-generation model

Nissan Silvia CSP311

Photo by Wayne Watkins

Nissan Silvia CSP311 Logo

This was originally published in June 2015.

Summary
The Nissan Silvia CSP311 Sports Car
Article Name
The Nissan Silvia CSP311 Sports Car
Description
I had not heard of the Nissan Silvia CSP311 and now I want one.
Author

Comments

  1. Truly a beautiful and wonderful little car. There may be about a half dozen in the States. We’ll be showing ours at a couple different events this year.

  2. Eran Sharon says:

    Interesting resemblance to another two door coupe: http://www.swadeology.com/2015/02/nissan-fulviasilvia/

    • Wasn’t the Lancia Fulvia Coupe designed after the Nissan Silvia CSP311? The Lancia was introduced in 1965 and the Silvia was introduced in 1964. Maybe Lancia copied Nissan?

      • Hey Mike, I think it is more the case of two stars on a near collision course… I own both a Silvia and a Fulvia coupe. I used to think they were quite similar until I parked them next to each other… that removed any doubt that there was any relationship… while the nose and the coupe notion do bear a slight resemblance the Fulvia is actually quite a bit bigger and the details on the car dramatically different. Both great looking in their own rights.

        • Jim,

          Wow, you own both! I now am envious of all owners of the Nissan Silvia CSP311. Photos of both the Nissan and Lancia would be most welcome on My Car Quest.

      • Richard Holmes says:

        Separated at birth from the Mazda Luce.

  3. wallace wyss says:

    I am glad to see a Japanese car that had a simole plain body shape, When I was in Japan it was my impression it was roo crowded to ever see a car as a whole so that led to excessive busyness in the part you could see.

  4. IT REMINDS ME OF THE TRIUMPH STAG.

  5. Mike Clarke says:

    We had one show up at cars and coffee Folsom CA not to long ago. Very nice design, excellent finish reminded me of the Lancia Fulvia.

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