Nissan rolled the first 240SX off its assembly line in 1989, and ended production of this magnificent machine on July 23, 1998. During that time frame, Nissan produced over two million 240s for the American market. In classic Nissan fashion, there are two separate generations for the 240, thus creating many names that car enthusiasts choose to use for this particular vehicle.
The 240SX has been called the S13, S14, Silvia (the Japanese market name), S, 180SX (Japanese market) and the 200SX (the European and Australian markets), but the American 240SX is not quite the same as the other S Platforms. Although it is related, there were differences in important areas, such as engines and front body design. With the similarities, American 240 owners are a distinct and individual group that idolizes their cars for the things that they can do.
First Generation 240SX
Nissan produced the first generation 240SX (aka S13) from 1989 to 1994. The S13 showed us three separate models, the coupe, the fastback (truly a hatchback) and the convertible. The middle period of the first generation, also known as the Chuki, saw a few minor body changes to the SX. For example, Nissan gave it a newer, more modern-looking front bumper. However, enthusiasts were more excited about the 15 hp boost that came with the new DOHC engine upgrade. Even with the engine upgrade in the middle period, critics said that the 240SX was under-powered for its size, forcing many tuners and drifters to special order the Japanese model engines.
In 1992, Nissan produced its “American Only Market” convertible, but took it completely out of the market after 1994. Only 8,320 convertibles were produced by Nissan for the SX. In fact, in 1994, the only 240SX available in the United States was the Convertible Special Edition.
Second Generation 240SX
The second generation 240SX (aka S14) was created from 1995 to 1998, with most of the contrast to the S13 coming in the form of body differences. Nissan replaced the fastback and convertible, with SE and LE versions of the coupe. The major differences from the first generation were predominately in the body design making it look more like its Japanese market counterpart. However, Nissan did give the newer 240 a two inch wider wheel base and a stiffer suspension.
Creating a New History for the 240SX
Nissan owners are true automotive enthusiasts, and they are absolutely loyal to the Nissan market. These same enthusiasts have their own groups…some are tuners, some are ricers and others are drifters. The modifications these enthusiasts do to the 240 often times depend on what group they are in. Specifically, tuners are more into a “show car” look, therefore their modifications will be along the lines of vertical doors, dash trim kits, neon and carbon fiber parts.
On the other hand, drifters are in a different world from tuners. While they love and respect their 240SX just a much as a tuner, they demand a lot more from the SX than their tuner counterparts. Their modifications often entail engine and performance upgrades that are done in an effort to make drifting easier. Other customizations, such as installing a limited slip differential or coilovers for the suspension, are also utilized by drifters to get a more exhilarating drift experience out of their 240SX. In the unfortunate event of damage to the 240 during drifting, replacing body kits and intercoolers may be necessary. While some modifications are a result of damage, others are directly related to the sport of drifting causing certain stress to be placed on the 240. SX owners often find themselves replacing clutches and tires. Serious drifters will tell you; however, they do not mind doing these modifications. The thrill of the sport, the recognition from their peers and the prizes involved make these customizations a “necessary evil”.
Regardless of what group an enthusiasts fits into, they both have to find a place that they trust to buy aftermarket parts and accessories for their “baby”. While there are huge companies out there that have some custom parts and accessories for the 240, most of them are not solely dedicated to the SX, nor do they carry everything a tuner or drifter could dream of. But there is a little piece of paradise, just over the horizon.