A replacement for the 200SX, the Nissan 240SX was introduced in 1989 and came with a much larger engine than its predecessor. The new 240SX also retained the rear wheel drive, which it made it popular for driving enthusiasts. Popular for racing, modifications and tuning, the 240SX came with a sporty profile and race car-like appeal.
Suffering the fate of many sporty coupes of the era, the 240SX only survived two generations before being discontinued. In 1995 a redesign was done on the 240SX.
Introduced by Nissan in 1989, the 240SX was unveiled to the North American market and sold until 1998. Equipped with a 2.4 L inline 4 engine, the 240SX was eventually replaced b the 200SX (RWD) in 1989. The S13 was a generation of the 240SX that was introduced in 1989 and continued in the lineup until 1994. The S14 was another generation that lasted from 1995 until 1998. Both the S13 and S14 were produced on the Nissan S platform. Closely related to other S vehicles, the 240SX was comparably similar to the European/Australian-market 200SX and the Japanese-market Silvia and 180SX.
First generation 240SX models can be divided into two very distinct variants, the Zenki and the Chuki. Zenki stood for ‘early period', while Chuki is translated into ‘middle period' in Japanese. Both of these variants were available in two distinct styles, coupe and hatchback.
Both body styles shared the same chassis, and most components and features were identical. The Zenki was sold during model years 1989 through 1990 and was powered by a 140 hp 2.4-litre SOHC KA24E engine with 3 valves per cylinder rather than the 1.8-leter DOHC CA18. In the U.S., no turbocharged engine was available. Standard features were four-wheel disc brakes. Both models offered either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. As part of the optional Power Convenience Group, coupes offered a Head-Up Display that showed a digital speedometer.
Three body styles were made available during the first generation, the convertible, the fastback and the coupe. Despite having retractable headlights, the coupe was very similar to the Japanese-market Silvia. The Japanese-market 180SX was closely related to the fastback. In 1992 the Convertible was introduced, which was exclusive to the North American market and was the only body style available in 1992. Partially assembled in Kyushu, Japan, the final assembly of the convertible took place in the California facilities of American Specialty Cars.
Closely similar, all S13 240SXs were differentiated basically between trim lines, XE, SE, LE, etc. The 91-93 fastbacks did feature an exclusive optional sport package that featured a stiffer suspension, SUPER-HICAS 4-wheel steering and a limited-slip differential.
Popular for its sharp steering and handling, the S13 unfortunately suffered a bad rep for what the automatic press considered ‘underpowered'. Though durable, the 2.4L engine was a very heavy, iron-block unit that only produced meager power for its size 140-155hp. In 1991 a 16-valve twin cam required premium fuel. This was the main distinction between the world-market Silvia/180SX and the North American 240SX. The Japanese SR20DET engine has become a popular engine swap for the 240SX as the vehicles age throughout the years.
In the spring of 1994, the early 1995 240SX model was redesigned with the Zenki Silvia body. The second generation can b e divided into two very distinct variants, the Zenki and the Kouki. Only the coupe remained as both the hatchback and convertible were deleted from the lineup. The S14 was nearly identical to the S13. The main differences were in the addition of dual airbags and normal headlights. Unfortunately the handling became decidedly softer, and the steering became slower, which made the S14 less fun to drive. Through each passing year, the 155 horsepower became more and more inadequate in comparison to the 200-horsepower Honda Prelude.
Base models now had 15-inch wheels, a softer suspension, and now lacked a rear stabilizer bar in comparison to the SE models. A package offered antilock brakes and a limited-slip differential. The 240SX was considered to be the Zenki model from 1995 until 1996. The LE model featured leather seats, an anti-theft system, a CD player and a keyless entry.
For the 1997 model year, the base model sported the S14A Kouki Silvia body style, which featured aggressive projector headlights, new hood, front bumper, fenders, updated taillights, curved rocker panels. Side skirts were also added on both SE and LE trim levels. The final year for the 240SX in North American was 1999 with the final 240SX rolling off the assembly line on July 23rd 1998.
The S15 or Japanese Silvia was introduced in 1999. Featuring an impressive 250 hp, the new model boasted a SR20DET engine. Europe did not receive this new model, though Australia and New Zealand distributed their new 200SX. Despite Nissan's efforts to reduce the amount of platforms, production of the Silvia ended in 2002.By Jessica Donaldson