GTU For You – 1980 Nissan 200SX

imsa gtu race car turboThe IMSA series of old gave the world some spectacular racing and some even more spectacular cars. From CSL BMW’s and Corvettes to the ground-pounding GTP cars, IMSA cars of the ’70s and ’80s are quite fondly remembered. Some are more noteworthy than others, though, and this little Nissan is certainly not one of the icons from that era. Located in Jupiter, Florida, it’s a wild-looking Nissan 200SX that originally raced as in independent in IMSA’s GTU class and is now set up for HSR and SVRA. The GTU class (the “U” stood for under 2.5 liters) was best known for cars like the Mazda RX-7, Datsun 240Z and Porsche 914, but this car is among the many that had a go.

Built in the early 1980s by Don Preston racing on a Nissan Silvia platform, it originally had a 2.3 liter naturally aspirated engine. It wasn’t competitive like this, though, so a 1,770 cc turbo unit was put in its place. This motor was available in Japanese-market Silvias so homologation was not an issue. Reported to make 450 horsepower, the car was fast but apparently was often let down in the reliability department. Now, though, it’s a running and surely quite entertaining vintage racer, and the seller claims you can do 180-plus miles per hour at Daytona with it. The sale comes with a lot of spares, including body molds and bits for the turbo in case you blow it up, and it was last raced in February of this year to a podium finish.

This thing might be fast and exotic, but it’s also a hard sell, and this is all too obvious when you see that there are no bids with very little time left. The car doesn’t have an illustrious history or a famous shape, and at the end of the day it will always be identified as a Nissan 200SX, something much less sexy than many of the other IMSA racers of the period. It is fast, though, and a neat little bit of Nissan history, so maybe somebody with plenty of cash and an affinity for complicated Japanese race cars will swoop in at the last minute. We’ll see.

Check out the 1980 Nissan 200SX here on eBay, where the starting bid is set at $89,000.


  1. Hey Andrew, just some clarifications…..The car shown here was a 200SX US Market version of S110 Silvia. The car was sold with a 2.0 liter Z20E motor in 80-81 and then a 2.2 liter Z22E motor in 82-83. It never had a 2.3 liter motor. There was a 2 door coupe version of the S110 built buy Nissan as a full effort rally championship car with a 2.4 liter FJ24 motor. The GTU car shown here is extremely interesting because it has a turbocharged L18 (if that is indeed the case). The L18, to my knowledge, was never campaigned as a turbocharged motor in any significant professional race series but it did power Datsuns to two Under 2.5 liter Trans Am championships and a long line of SCCA B Sedan championships.

    • Thanks. My Nissan knowledge is pretty rudimentary. A feature article on this car was done on the NICO club website, and that’s where I got most of the details on it. The article did say that it had a twin-cam 2.3 crossflow motor when it was first raced, but I am not familiar with such an engine.

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