The nostalgic Nissan Fairlady 200ZR
The RB20-Powered Nissan Fairlady 200ZR: A Detailed Look at the Engine, Interior, and Legacy
9 March, 2023 by
Steven Jestes

The Nissan Fairlady 200ZR was a sports car produced by Nissan from 1985 to 2000. The 1988 model year was part of the second generation, which was introduced in 1989. The Nissan Fairlady 200ZR with the RB20DET engine is considered a classic sports car and is highly sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. Its smooth and responsive engine, nimble handling, and timeless design continue to make it a popular choice among those who appreciate driving and Japanese sports cars.

The Fairlady 200ZR was only available in Japan and was powered by the RB20DET engine, a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-six that produced 212 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The engine was mated to a five-speed manual transmission. The RB20DET engine was part of Nissan's RB family of engines, which also included the more powerful RB26DETT found in the Nissan Skyline GT-R. The RB20DET was a high-performance engine with an iron block and an aluminum head. It had double overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. The turbocharger was a Garrett T3/T4 hybrid and had a boost pressure of 7 psi. 

Despite its smaller displacement compared to the RB26DETT, the RB20DET was a capable engine. It had good low-end torque and a smooth power delivery that made it ideal for daily driving and spirited driving alike. The engine was also known for its reliability, with many RB20DET-powered cars still running strong today. In terms of performance, the Fairlady 200ZR with the RB20DET engine could accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in around 6 seconds and complete the quarter-mile in around 14 seconds. Its top speed was around 140 mph. The RB20DET engine was also a popular choice among tuning enthusiasts, who could easily extract more power from the engine with modifications such as an upgraded turbocharger, intercooler, and fuel system.

Moving on to the interior, the Fairlady 200ZR had a sporty and functional design. The seats were supportive and comfortable, and the driver-oriented dashboard had clear and easy-to-read gauges. The steering wheel was wrapped in leather and had a sporty design that added to the driving experience. Other features included air conditioning, power windows, and a cassette player.

In terms of pricing, the Fairlady 200ZR had an MSRP of around 3,600,000 yen in 1988, which was equivalent to around $30,000 USD at the time. This made it a relatively affordable sports car compared to some of its European counterparts like the Porsche 944, BMW E30 M3, or the Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16.

The styling of the Nissan Fairlady 200ZR was typical of Japanese sports cars of the era, with a sleek, aerodynamic design and sharp angles. The 200ZR featured a long hood and short rear deck, giving it a classic sports car silhouette. The front end was characterized by its pop-up headlights and aggressive grille, while the rear end was highlighted by a distinctive spoiler and quad taillights. The body was accented by a variety of black plastic trim pieces, including the side skirts and rear bumper.

In addition to the other design features mentioned, the Nissan Fairlady 200ZR also had a distinctive hood scoop, which added to its aggressive appearance. The scoop, located near the front of the hood, served to funnel cool air to the engine and helped to improve performance. It was a functional design element that also added to the car's overall aesthetic. The hood scoop on the 200ZR was smaller than those found on some other sports cars of the era, but it still made a statement and was a defining element of the car's appearance. Overall, the styling of the 200ZR was a perfect blend of classic sports car design and modern aerodynamics, making it an attractive and timeless machine that still turns heads today.

In conclusion, the Nissan Fairlady 200ZR is a true gem of the Japanese sports car world. With its powerful RB20DET engine, sleek and aerodynamic styling, and comfortable interior, it remains a highly sought-after machine among car enthusiasts and collectors alike. Despite being overshadowed by some of its more famous Z-car predecessors, the 200ZR has carved out a place in automotive history as a unique and capable sports car. Its relatively affordable price point and impressive performance made it a popular choice for enthusiasts in the late 1980s, and it continues to hold its own against European competitors of the era. Whether you're a fan of Japanese sports cars, classic cars, or simply appreciate a well-built machine, the Nissan Fairlady 200ZR is a vehicle that is sure to impress.

Steven Jestes 9 March, 2023
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