Ultimate Nissan 180sx Type X Guide

by Staff | Last updated 22nd May, 2020 | Posted in Guides

The 180SX Type X is often the most sought after of all S13 variants, but what makes the Type X unique? Our complete 180sx Type X guide reveals all.

180sx type x top mounted turbo

Here, you can click on a particular section within this article, otherwise, scroll down as we cover all of the details you could possibly want to know about the 180SX Type X.


Since you’ve found your way to 180SX Club, we’re going to assume that, like us, you’re an enormous fan of one of the greatest cars ever made.

We’re certainly not the only ones who feel this way, and that’s why the 180SX took the coveted ‘Japan Car of the Year’ award when it first hit the market back in 1988.

Since then, it’s become one of the most highly-acclaimed drift chassis ever constructed, and completely changed the game before the S14, and S15 later arrived to form the S-Chassis family.

Over the eventual life span of the JDM S13’s, there would be three body styles, the 180SX (hatchback), Silvia coupe, and a rarer convertible alternative.

sr20det engine 180sx type x

As much as we love this legendary, lightweight JDM chassis, there’s no question that Nissan made things a little, well, confusing, when it came to naming the many different 180SX’s, Silvia’s, or S13’s that took the automotive world by storm.

If three body styles and names for a single car model isn’t perplexing enough for you with the S13, let’s not forget that there’s also the 200SX (European model) and 240SX (American model) thrown into the mix for added confusion.

Oh, did we mention that there were also models which featured fixed lights, with triple projectors, twin projectors, or the ‘brick’ style?

And we haven’t even included the much-loved pop-up headlights yet.

Nor have we touched onto the Onevia, or the Sileighty.

And, that’s before we even begin with where Type X comes into the equation.

Anyway, I’m sure you can see where we’re going with this one.

Nissan made it far too challenging when it came to naming the S13, 180SX, 200SX, and the 240SX.

So, for that reason, we’ve written this guide to clear up the confusion, and to help you understand everything you could ever need to know about Nissan’s 180SX, and more specifically the Type X model.

Before we get started, enjoy this 180SX Type X in all its 4K goodness. Try not to drool!


Nissan’s S13/Silvia/180SX – A Brief Overview

The 80s and early 90s were two of the most iconic eras when it came to the Japanese launching some of their most incredible cars, many of which are still conquering drift podiums across the world in the present day.

With the ever-increasing number of enthusiasts taking advantage of thousands of endless miles of touge roads in Japan, and with Keiichi Tsuchiya at the forefront of drifting’s rise to fame, the 180SX was the perfect chassis for reasonably-priced fun.

Whether grip racing or drifting was ‘your thing,’ Nissan’s 180SX was the ultimate affordable weapon, and tuning houses across the nation soon began to unleash the true potential of what the incredible chassis had to offer.

Based on the increasingly popular ‘FR’, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. The quick and nimble 180SX’s rear end had an all-too-often tendency to step out.

However, due to its impressive weight distribution and MacPherson front suspension, along with all-new multi-link rear suspension, the 180SX was far easier than most rivals of its time to use to your advantage.

Before you knew it, you’d be navigating the twisty touge roads like a true master – (at least maybe after a little practice, anyway!)

purple nissan 180sx type x

A little known fact about the Silvia was that they initially launched with three trim levels, all of which named after playing cards. They were J’s, Q’s, and K’s.

The J’s and Q’s models were given the naturally-aspirated CA18DE engine, carried over from the less-sought-after older brother, the S12.

Meanwhile, the more desirable K’s model, as well as the 180SX hatchback, were given the far higher-regarded 175hp turbocharged CA18DET engine.

Now, let’s take a closer look at the many S13 variants available.

Remember when we warned you it was confusing? You’re about to see why. These are summarized in our Nissan S13 Chassis Codes Explained article.

Take a moment to check out this awesome video from ‘GOOD VIBES CREW’, they certainly live up to their name. Squad goals right here:


Nissan S13 Chassis Codes

The different model codes designate body style, engine, and options.

  • S13 = 1988-90 Silvia w/ CA18DET
  • RS13 = 1990-91 180SX w/ CA18DET
  • PS13 = 1991-93 Silvia w/ SR20DET
  • RPS13 = 1991-98 180SX w/ SR20DET
  • KPS13 = 1991-93 Silvia w/ SR20DET & Super HICAS
  • KRPS13 = 1991-98 180SX w/ SR20DET & Super HICAS
  • HS13 = 1989-90 240SX Coupe w/ KA24E
  • RHS13 = 1989-90 240SX FB w/ KA24E
  • MS13 = 1991-93 240SX Coupe w/ KA24DE
  • RMS13 = 1991-93 240SX FB w/ KA24DE
  • KMS13 = 1991-93 240SX Coupe w/ KA24DE & Super HICAS (Canadian Only)
  • KRMS13 = 1991-93 240SX FB w/ KA24DE & Super HICAS

These Codes only Apply to Nissan S13 Models:

  • No Letter for Coupe
  • R = Fastback
  • No Letter for CA18DET
  • P = SR20DET
  • H = KA24E
  • M = KA24DE
  • K = Super HICAS

S13 Production Years

  • 1989-1993 (Worldwide)
  • 1994-1999 (Japan only)

Nissan S13 Transmissions

  • 5-speed manual
  • 4-speed auto

S13 Engines

  • CA18DE – Dual-cam 1.8 N/A, 131hp. Japan only, 1988-1990
  • CA18DET – Dual-cam 1.8 Turbo, 167hp. Japan & Europe, 1988-1993
  • SR20DE – Dual-cam 2.0 N/A, 133hp (1991-1993), 140hp (1994-1999). Japan only, 1991-1999
  • SR20DET – Dual-cam 2.0 Turbo, 205hp. Japan only, 1991-1999
  • KA24E – Single-cam 2.4 N/A, 140hp. U.S. only, 1989-1990
  • KA24DE – Dual-cam 2.4 N/A, 155hp. U.S. only, 1991-1993

red kouki 180sx

Nissan Silvia Variations

The Nissan Silvia was the first of the two Japanese models to be launched in mid-1988 with the 1989 model year.

The Silvia was sold exclusively on the Japanese market and later exported across the world.

There were three trim levels named after playing cards, J’s (Jack), Q’s (Queens), and K’s (Kings).

An A’s (Almighty), limited edition, strangely placed between the J’s and Q’s, with different optional extras. The Almighty was only available with the N/A SR20DE.

On top of that, there were also “Club” and “Diamond” variants with additional optional extras available.

Silvia J’s (Jack) Base Model

This was the naturally-aspirated base-spec model, which came with steering wheel height adjustment as standard. 91+ came with rear seat lap-sash belt, side impact protection bars.

Optional extras: ABS, alloy wheels, LSD (1991 onwards.)

Silvia Q’s (Queen) Mid-Trim

With the original features of the J’s model, the Queen was still naturally-aspirated, but also included power windows and central locking as standard. 1991 onwards models came with an LSD.

Optional extras: ABS, Projector headlights, front fog lamps, rear spoiler, alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, leather seats.

Silvia K’s (King) Top-Trim

The K’s model featured everything that the Q’s came with, but also featuring the highly sought-after turbocharged engine under the hood. The engine upgrade is most noticeable externally from the vents in the front bumper.

Optional extras: LSD.

Silvia A’s (Almighty/Ace)

The A’s came with central locking, manual climate control, power windows, and steering wheel height adjustment.

Optional extras: ABS, LSD, rear spoiler, sunroof, triple projector headlights, front spoiler.

Silvia Diamond (1998-1991 Q’s & K’s)

Diamond editions came with a vast array of extras, including: A rear spoiler, automatic climate control, power windows, central locking, dual projector headlights and foglights, aluminium wheels, and even a CD player (although some of you guys are probably too young to remember those!)

Optional extras: LSD on the Q’s model, leather steering wheel, leather interior, moon roof, Hicas II, ABS, front spoiler.

Silvia Club (1991-1993 Q’s and K’s)

These included the following as standard: Triple projector headlights and foglights, aluminium wheels, automatic climate control, central locking, power windows, rear spoiler, side-impact beams, rear 3-point seatbelts, and let’s not forget that super-retro JDM CD player!

Optional extras included: ABS, LSD, sunroof, Super Hicas, leather steering wheel, and a leather interior.

Silvia Autech

Built by Autech Japan, this was the ‘official’ Silvia Convertible, which is extremely rare. This retailed at JP¥3,252,000, and was clearly targeted at a far smaller market than the traditional Silvia.

Unfortunately, it was only ever sold with the 4-speed automatic transmission (which didn’t help with the hairdresser vibes!) It also included power windows, LSD, and central locking, but no additional optional extras were available.

Alongside the Autech, the U.S. also got its own 240SX convertible. With just over 8,000 produced and even less remaining in the wild now, this would certainly be a great investment if you can get your hands on one.

Nissan 180SX Variations

If you’ve made it this far, you’ll know that the 180SX was launched exclusively for the Japanese market, with the 200SX made for the European market, and the 240SX exclusively sold in the U.S.

The 180SX Type X was exclusively sold in Japan and manufactured between 1994 and 1999. However, it wasn’t until the 1996 model year that the well-received ‘aero’ bodykit package was released, which has since become the ‘face’ of the 180SX Type X.

The earliest models, Phase I, were known as Zenki, with Phase II named Chuki (the middle) and Kouki (the last) being the final 180SX’s to be released.


Nissan 180SX Type I (1989-1994)

This was the base model of the 180SX, with its main features being an LSD and steering wheel height adjustment. For the 1991-1994 model years, they added a rear seat sash-belt, side impact protection bars, and a rear window wiper.

Optional extras: ABS, rear spoiler, front foglights.

pre facelift 180sx type x

Nissan 180SX Type II (1989-1994)

This was the higher-level trim for the early model years and featured everything that came with the Type I, with the additions of the following: Power windows, rear wiper, central locking, and alloy wheels.

Optional extras: Front and rear foglights, front and rear spoilers, leather steering wheel and seats.

Nissan 180SX Type III (1992-1994)

For the 1992 model year, the Type III would become the top-spec variant, and featured everything that was on Type II, but with the addition of front and rear spoilers.

Optional extras: ABS, front and rear fog lamps, leather steering wheel, and leather seats.

Nissan 180SX Type R (1994-1999)

From 1994, the Type R (no, we’re not talking Civic’s here) became the base-spec model for the 180SX and were only available with naturally aspirated engines before 1996. From 1996-1999, they were also available with the turbocharged option.

By this time, there were quite a few more added features in standard form, which included an LSD, ABS, power windows, central locking, rear seat lap sash-belt, S14 airbag steering wheel, side impact protection bars, and a rear window wiper.

Optional extras: Front spoiler, fog lamps, leather steering wheel and seats, alloy wheels, a navigation system, tinted windows (1997-1999).

Nissan 180SX Type X (1994-1999)

‘Finally!’ we hear you rejoice.

That’s right; it’s time to show the 180SX Type X some love!

red and black 180sx type xs

The final iteration of the 180SX series arrived in 1996, and Type X was the big daddy of the final line to be launched, alongside the Type R, with the Type S to later join them in 1996.

As you probably guessed, the 180SX Type X was only ever available with the most impressive engine from the S13 family, the SR20DET, under the hood.

The SR20DET engine was so popular partly due to its extensive tuning capabilities and would continue to become the engine of choice for the later S14 and S15 Silvia’s.

If you’re on the lookout for a 180SX Type X, it’s worth remembering that the pre-1996 models didn’t come with the hugely popular ‘aero’ kit, so make sure that if you intend to buy one, that you know what you’re getting.

All Type X models came with an LSD, power windows, central locking, steering wheel height adjustment, alloy wheels, leather steering wheel, side protection bars, rear seat lap-sash belt, and a driver airbag. Models from 1995 onwards featured the upgraded airbag from the S14.

The ‘aero’ body kit was included as standard for the 1996-1999 model years, and from 1997 until the final 1999 model year, there was an optional extra for tinted windows.

Nissan 180SX Type S (1996-1999)

The Type S was the only final variation to come with a naturally aspirated engine alongside the precious ‘Type X’ style aero package, but this time it didn’t include the aero side skirts.

Standard features were ABS, rear spoiler, rear wiper, side impact protection bars, alloy wheels, central locking, power windows, rear seat lap-sash belt.

Optional extras: LSD, front foglights, a navigation system, front spoiler, leather steering wheel, and tinted windows for 1997-1999 model years.

Nissan 180SX Type G (1996-1999)

This was the same as the Type S but didn’t include the rear spoiler. All variants from 1996 onwards came with a digital odometer.

Nissan Sileighty (Sil80)

This unique model was built by JDM legends’ Kids Heart,’ who saw a market for the drifters destroying the complex pop-up headlight front ends of their 180SX on the touge and decided to offer a front-end swap, which included headlights, front fenders, hood, and front bumper.

There were eventually five-hundred official ‘Kids Heart’ Sileighty’s built, and they also included turbo pressure and ECU upgrades to provide an exciting all-around package with their ‘one-stop-shop.’

With the Silvia front end being both lighter and cheaper, this soon became a popular conversion, and it went on to sweep the nation as enthusiasts frequently replicated the idea in their garages.

If you’re interested to know more about the history of the Sileighty (Sil80) then make sure you take a look at our Ultimate SilEighty (Sil80) Guide – Everything You Need to Know.

For further specifications, head over to our Nissan 180sx Specifications article.


What is a 180SX Type X S13?

Nissan certainly didn’t make things simple when it came to branding the S13’s, and things didn’t get much simpler further down the line for the S14 either, but thankfully they came to their senses for the S15, with only four different variations.

It could be argued, but we think that the Nissan 180SX Type X is the best looking of all the 180’s, (please don’t send us hate mail!)

Although the Type X is mostly the same, it was its unique visual upgrades which made it stand out from the crowd, as it was the only model to receive the full upgraded aero kit.


Nissan 180SX Type X Bodykit

There are rumors online that the 180SX Type X got a different ECU from the other variations, but we couldn’t find any definite proof to back that up. Therefore, the Type X bodykit is the only thing that truly sets it apart from its siblings.

What’s included with the 180SX Type X Bodykit?

  • Front bumper
  • Side skirts
  • Rear wing
  • Rear lip & spats

There’s no question that the 180SX Type X bodykit is becoming increasingly rare, so if you can get your hands on one, then make sure you treat it like the precious commodity that it is!

If you’re likely to be drifting and smashing your 180SX into walls, then we’d highly recommend not opting for the OEM aero kit, but taking a look at some of the replica fiberglass alternatives on the market.

red nissan 180sx

It’ll undoubtedly make for costly track days if you have to replace your 180SX Type X kit every time you make a small mistake!


When was the 180SX Type X made?

Although the 180SX Type X was initially released to the market in 1994, it wasn’t until 1996 that Nissan provided the Type X with the ‘aero’ kit, which it’s most commonly known for.


Differences Between 180SX, 200SX, and 240SX

Initially named after its 1.8-liter CA18DET engine, which provided 170hp and 166lb/ft torque, Nissan’s 180SX was built exclusively for the Japanese market.

Although there was a 180SX model that was sold in Europe, this was the S110 Silvia, not the S13 chassis. So if you hear of a cheap European 180SX, then make sure you proceed with caution and don’t end up with a far less desirable 1979 S110!

Despite the fact it continued to bare the ‘180SX’ name, the larger displacement 2.0L redtop SR20DET is what transformed the 180SX into the car we know and love today.

The all-aluminium SR20 was on a whole new level, and paired with the Garrett T25 turbocharger, this provided an impressive increase to 205hp and 202lb/ft torque in stock form, with heaps of tuning potential lying in wait.

nissan s13 180sx

In Europe, the S13 was named the 200SX, and featured the CA18DET powerplant under the hood. This was essentially the same car as the 180SX, but never got the SR20DET upgrade.

The SR20DET was, however, later released with the S14 200SX in Europe. Keen to know how the S13 stacks up against the S14? We put them head-to-head in our S13 Vs S14 – Which Is Best? guide!

Due to the lack of SR20-powered S13’s in Europe, SR20DET-powered 180SX’s were commonly imported into the continent from Japan.

Europe wasn’t the only continent to never receive the SR20DET in their S13’s, as the U.S. didn’t even get their hands on the CA18DET.

If you thought the CA18DET lacked in power, the U.S. was even more disgruntled with the offering they’d been provided.

Enter the almighty KA24E (said nobody, ever.)

When the 240SX went on sale in the U.S., the first generation came with the largest engine out of all the cars, which may sound great, initially.

However, once you realize that it’s a naturally aspirated, heavy, underpowered, SOHC truck engine, you understand that displacement becomes somewhat irrelevant!

As the U.S. enthusiasts bemoaned their nimble, lightweight chassis, which had heaps of potential being lumped with a heavy truck engine, compared to the light, powerful, all-aluminium Japanese sibling, it was easy to see why they were disappointed.

jdm 180sx

When the second generation arrived, things got ever-so-slightly better with the arrival of the more powerful KA24DE, which featured a DOHC engine this time around.

However, it’s 155hp, and 160lb/ft torque still made the 240SX a laughing stock on the drag strip.

For this reason, engine swaps have become extremely common in the U.S., and with V8’s so commonly available for reasonable money on the used marketplace, this has become a favorite swap for owners alongside the less-common SR20DET.


Nissan 180SX in Video Games

If you’re not able to get your hands on an increasingly expensive 180SX Type X in real life, why not get behind the screen and enjoy the joys of the 180SX in the many videogames it’s featured in over the years?

Here’s a handful of both common and also rare video games that featured the Nissan 180SX.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’re missing out on with this 950HP 180SX Type X in Need for Speed: Heat. (Warning: Arches may not suit your OEM-fanboy taste!)

IGCD.net provides a comprehensive list on their website, which includes some exhilarating old-school racers that you may have forgotten about, which could be hiding in your basement!


180SX Type X Summary

So, there we have it! You should be pretty clued up on the 180SX Type X now, whether you’re just a die-hard JDM fan, or lucky enough to be an owner, we’re sure you’ll agree that the 180SX Type X legacy has earned its spot in the history books.

We’ve found that there’s often a vast amount of confusion when it comes to the various S13 models, like the rest of the s-chassis family.

Despite the 240SX and 200SX being available in the U.S. and Europe, the 180SX remains the star of the S13 show, with the Type X at the forefront.

front end of 180sx type x

If you’re looking for the ultimate 180SX, the Type X, then you’ll have to either import it from the motherland or build yourself a replica from either genuine or fiberglass parts.

Even if you can’t get your hands on a Type X, the 180SX/S13 is an incredible car that is becoming increasingly rare, and its price tag is continually moving upwards.

If you haven’t already got your hands on one, this could be the perfect opportunity to invest your hard-earned cash in a 180SX Type X, which will undoubtedly be a valuable asset to hold for the future.

Thank you for reading our 180SX Type X guide.

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Information and photography credits

We thank the following entities for the use of their information and photography in this article: