The S10 was the first Silvia built on the Nissan S platform. It featured more "traditional" lines than similar offerings from rivals Toyota and Mazda and was summarily less popular with consumers in most markets. In Japan it was fitted with an L18B engine, which it shared with the Datsun 610/Bluebird 180B. In the North American market a version incorporating the larger-displacement L20B was offered as the 200B of the same series Bluebird. This model was affixed with the mandated 5mph (8.0km/h) bumpers and badged as the Datsun 200SX. Its success in both markets was limited, most buyers opting for the Celica over what was considered the more mundane S-Chassis.
This iteration of the Silvia, available as a 2-door hardtop coupe and a 3-door hatchback, was uniquely progressive in that it was originally intended to feature a rotary engine, designed and built by Nissan. The resulting unit was fairly unreliable, and forestalled production. Ironically, it shared a chassis code with the also ill-fated Mazda Cosmo, first Japanese production car to feature a rotary engine. The car was redesigned shortly after it was released and the Wankel power plant was replaced by a line of conventional piston engines based on the new Z-series engine. These included the Z20 and the turbocharged and fuel injected Z18ET. The Z22E was later introduced, with a larger displacement and fuel injection.