Nissan 240SX

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Keywords: Nissan 240SX
Description: When the 240SX was introduced in 1989, the market for small, entry level sports coupes was becoming a rather crowded place. Detroit was busy introducing increasingly potent versions of its

When the 240SX was introduced in 1989, the market for small, entry level sports coupes was becoming a rather crowded place. Detroit was busy introducing increasingly potent versions of its "pony cars", which almost universally featured the same package introduced in the late 1960s – large engines and rear wheel drive. Nissan's Japanese competition, meanwhile, were busy.

When the 240SX was introduced in 1989, the market for small, entry level sports coupes was becoming a rather crowded place. Detroit was busy introducing increasingly potent versions of its "pony cars", which almost universally featured the same package introduced in the late 1960s – large engines and rear wheel drive. Nissan's Japanese competition, meanwhile, were busy introducing inexpensive, high performance versions of their compact front wheel drive cars. In this increasingly crowded market, Nissan updated the 200SX, giving it a modern rear suspension and a slightly larger four cylinder engine. The result was the Nissan 240SX, which was a rare breed at the time – a small, inexpensive, high performance rear wheel drive sports coupe. It was faster than its Japanese competition, more compact than its American competition, and handled better than any of them – at least at first.

The first generation of the 240SX was the most performance oriented version. When it was introduced, it featured a 140 horsepower 2.4 Liter inline four. However, like many Nissans, the 240SX enjoyed an update only a year after introduction – the 240SX's updates were a more powerful 155 horsepower version of the original engine, which was accomplished by changing the camshaft and valvetrain configuration, and a smoother, more curvaceous front end. The 240SX was available in both coupe and fastback trim, with a convertible option available after 1992 as well. Based on sales numbers, the 1989-1990 edition was the most popular, selling over 120,000 units; the updated first generation sold fewer than 100,000 units between 1990 and 1994.

Going into 1995, the 240SX's competition was catching up. The engine, though fairly potent when it was introduced and featuring more torque than most of its competition at the time, was rapidly becoming underpowered. Unable to do much about it at the time, Nissan chose instead to transition the 240SX into a more luxury oriented coupe. This was accomplished by upgrading the interior, dropping the fastback option, and softening the steering and suspension. The result was a car that was certainly easier and more luxurious to drive, but nowhere near as sporty as the original. Like the first generation, Nissan redesigned the second generation in the middle of the product line, updating the front end in 1997. Unfortunately, the market did not respond positively to the more luxurious realignment of the 240SX; 1995 was the only year that the second generation 240SX sold more than 10,000 units, with sales steadily declining into the end of its product run in 1998.

Interestingly, though the US version of the 240SX was relatively underpowered, a turbocharged version of the engine was exported in Europe during its product run. Consequently, turbocharging the original engine is a fairly common aftermarket modification.



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