Home » Finding Even An Almost-Stock Nissan 240SX Coupe Is Downright Impossible, But This One Went For A Bargain

Finding Even An Almost-Stock Nissan 240SX Coupe Is Downright Impossible, But This One Went For A Bargain

Kouki Nissan 240sx Ts2
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When Nissan first threw a 2.4-liter iron block four-banger into its Silvia sports coupe for the North American market, there’s a good chance it didn’t know it had created a generation-defining car. While it took some time for the 240SX to find iconic status, VHS tapes from Japan and the sheer joy of chucking a car sideways quickly made Nissan’s coupe the defining car of North American drifting, which became the defining motorsport of a generation. As a result, nigh-on stock examples are rare, but they’re still out there.

For instance, a rather clean, nearly-stock 1997 240SX SE just hammered on Bring A Trailer for $12,000. If that seems oddly low, there’s a chance the platform played a role. It’s common to see these coupes list for far more money on Craigslist, where much of the grassroots community is actually looking. Whoever placed the highest bid on this 240SX scooped up a bit of a bargain, even if it isn’t a perfect example.

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This second-generation S14 240SX is the desirable kouki or facelifted model with angular headlights, revised front sheetmetal, and dark-finish taillights. It’s also the SE trim, which gained some serious upgrades over the base model like five-lug hubs, sports suspension, and the ability to option both a viscous limited-slip differential and anti-lock brakes at the same time. Mind you, this one doesn’t have the optional vLSD, but that might’ve helped save the car from the ravages of tuning.

Kouki Nissan 240sx Orange Peel

While this 240SX looks remarkably clean at first glance, it’s not perfect. The left corner of the front bumper has substantial orange peel from what looks to be a prior repair, the check engine light is reportedly on, the tires aren’t all from matching brands, the driver’s seat has a few tears in its outer bolster, the rear seat has a few rips, and the engine mounts are reportedly toast.

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Screenshot 2023 12 29 At 11.26.02 Am

Kouki Nissan 240sx Interior

The big elephant in the room is the transmission — this car originally shipped with an automatic gearbox, but was swapped to a five-speed manual at some point in its life. However, the conversion is relatively well-done, utilizing what appears to be a factory clutch pedal, a factory shift knob, and a factory-like shift boot. The only tell is the wider than normal brake pedal for a manual car, although given the proliferation of aftermarket pedal covers in S14s, perhaps factory items are thin on the ground.

Kouki Nissan 240sx Underbody

However, a quick look at the underside, and everything seems alright. This car may have 151,000 miles on the clock, but thanks to plenty of care including aggressive use of corrosion-preventing coatings, the scary part of any 240SX looks rock-solid. Given the propensity of these things to serious chassis rot, all the little cosmetic imperfections certainly aren’t the end of the world.

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Kouki Nissan 240sx Rear Three Quarters

Besides, when was the last time you saw a 240SX that looked 99.9 percent stock? With the chokehold this car’s had on tuner culture for the past few decades, combined with relatively low sales numbers for facelifted second-generation cars, it’s a wonder any examples like this still exist. While the last stock-appearing manual S14 kouki 240SX to hammer on Bring A Trailer was a factory five-speed LE car, it went for an astonishing $31,000. Otherwise, comparable examples are thin on the ground, with the converted car that just sold being the cheapest five-speed kouki car ever to hammer on Bring A Trailer.

Nissan 240sx Craigslist Composite

For a little context on how rare this is, you won’t find a single stock S14 240SX on Los Angeles Craigslist right now, and even the S13s are all modified. Up in NorCal, the only S14 on Craigslist is a modified pre-facelift model with extensive bodywork and an SR20DET engine swap. It’s listed for $10,000. Moving east, the only stock S14 240SX on Craigslist right now in the entire eastern half of the country is an automatic with some obvious body damage.  Likewise, Bring A Trailer has only ever listed eight five-speed kouki S14s, and even at the top of the market on a venue known for collector-grade cars, nearly half of those had obvious aftermarket bolt-ons.

Kouki Nissan 240sx Rear

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Converted to manual or not, an essentially stock Nissan 240SX is a beautiful thing, even if the 155-horsepower KA24DE iron-block inline-four isn’t the most thrilling engine in the world (folks usually boost this or just swap something in). Sure, $12,000 may be in used Subaru BRZ territory, but even if a BRZ is the modern 240SX, sometimes you just crave the original. It’s like how low-fat cream cheese is still good but just ain’t the same. Best of all, the winning bidder claims to “Plan to keep this as close to stock as possible.” Nostalgia indeed.

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

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70degrees
70degrees
3 months ago

S13/S14 prices in general have been falling over the past year, a one-owner S13 with a manual sold for $8,500 on BaT, something that would’ve been unthinkable a year ago. As someone with a stock S13, I can vouch for the fact that they’re not fast, quality parts are hard to find, and people think they’re cool, but they really would rather have a Supra or NSX.

On the bright side, they’re still (relatively) affordable cars, and buying someone else’s project is still a viable path towards getting a drift machine, as aftermarket parts are still plentiful.

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
3 months ago

So why did the US get the ka over the sr? I honestly find it baffling, but I’m sure somewhere there’s a reason that makes sense.

70degrees
70degrees
3 months ago

The SR wasn’t federalized for emissions, but the KA already was, as it was the same engine as the Nissan Hardbody pickup. Rather than pay the federalization costs, Nissan elected to just drop in the KA.

Alec Harvey
Alec Harvey
3 months ago

Never understood why Nissan used the KA24DE instead of the SR20DET for north america.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
3 months ago
Reply to  Alec Harvey

No replacement for displacement?

Alec Harvey
Alec Harvey
2 months ago

SR20DET had more power and revved better

Jatco Xtronic CVT
Jatco Xtronic CVT
3 months ago

Hey, that 2.4l is a great engine. Better mid-range torque than the numbers would suggest and a very solid motor all around. It’s not incredibly powerful, but a tough little thing. There’s just something to love about these older iron-block engines.

Slack00
Slack00
3 months ago

Definitely underappreciated. With that iron block it might be able to withstand a lot of heat (ie, boost). I don’t know if the aluminum heads are especially prone to warping, but I had an overheat due to a busted thermostat on my 91 and I had to get new heads due to the warpage.

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
3 months ago

They perform pretty strong with a turbo strapped on as well. Arguably better than a SR20 or RB20

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago

> drifting

> motorsport

Let’s not get carried away.

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago

Just what I always wanted. My own little Nissan 240SX . I will name him George, and I will drift him and drag him and race him…”.

PunkyBrewstersHubby
PunkyBrewstersHubby
3 months ago

When these were new Nissan couldn’t give them away. The Probe, Eclipse-type crowd was where the sales were. That was then, this is now.

Slack00
Slack00
3 months ago

Awww man!! I had this EXACT spec car (except mine was a stock manual) back around 1999 or so. It was my 2nd 240SX SE of three (had a 91 coupe and another Kouki 98). I wrecked all of them, not because of hooliganism, but from bad luck and classic poor decisions of youth. One of the wrecks I probably could have sued the city and won (logging trucks had brought mud from a dirt road to the highway I was traveling on), but I was too young and naive to think of that kind of thing.

About 5 or 10 years later, I almost bought a fourth, but this one was someone else’s turbo project and it stalled on the test drive–No thanks! Plus I had forgotten how much skinnier I was and the cockpit felt way more cramped than I had remembered.

The stock engines had a LOT of torque and would scoot well under 45 mph, but they became more noise than forward motion above that. It was a maligned engine by the cognoscenti, but a KA24DE turbo (if you took the time to do it) was a much more powerful engine than a SR20DET if you had it sorted right.

NDPilot
NDPilot
3 months ago

Circa mid to late aughts, I was always more surprised when several of my friends various 240s moved under their own power rather than sat in what I assumed was the normal habitat, partially disassembled in the carport. Now I look back and if for nothing other than pure nostalgia I wouldn’t mind having a good running one in mostly stock form.

EmotionalSupportBMW
EmotionalSupportBMW
3 months ago

Dirty S-chassis secret, most of these don’t actually go for the wild prices listed on FB market or whatever. 13k does look like a pretty decent deal, but I would expect this to go for around the 15k range. That 31k one was an absolute anomaly. Overall, Kokuis are starting to come down to earth. As with the R34 being legal now. And we being three days away from Biden legalizing the S15. We’re finally getting pinnacle of Golden Age Nissan. E36/46 becoming the new drift meta of choice, and the rise of the drift Vette have also impacted the resale on the humble Kokui.

Newcarpetsmell
Newcarpetsmell
3 months ago

It’s interesting, but let’s not pretend old cars are particularly good in stock form.

David Tracy
David Tracy
3 months ago
Reply to  Newcarpetsmell

That’s true!

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago
Reply to  Newcarpetsmell

True, but most of them are much worse once they’ve been modded…

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Some of the worst cars I have been in were modified 240s. Some of the best cars I have been in were modified 240s.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago
Reply to  Newcarpetsmell

It is true that not all old cars are particularly good stock, but there are plenty out there that are right entertaining if you didn’t grow up living life a quarter mile at a time.

Last edited 3 months ago by TOSSABL
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  Newcarpetsmell

It really depends on the car. My vintage-ish MBs will remain stock for the simple reason there is nothing to improve upon.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

With you there: all mine did. But, largely because I couldn’t afford the modifications to the injection pumps. To me, the oddity of 123 & 126 diesels was that there weren’t really any realistic higher-levels to rob in junkyards to do what we called OEM+ whilst faffing about with old Subarus.

I mean, there were fancier interiors, but not larger sway bars or other performance upgrades to be found in our usual haunts—much less bigger turbos.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I guess I’m in a special position mods-wise because both of mine were top of the heap at the time, so there really isn’t anything to do.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

I just remembered one that made a huge difference: the ‘steelies’ ( actually quite light alloy wheels ) from a 240D. When you put those on any 123 or 126, the ride difference is incredible. They’re much lighter than the Bundts (or the latter 16” AMG spoked wheels I had on my 300TD), so absorb road bumps so well that it changes the character of the car. That’s a mod well worth doing—and, as they’re fairly narrow, they’re great for snow tires 🙂

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Interesting. Any idea how they’d fare on a 116 or 107?

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Caveat: my bil calls me a ‘weight weenie’ because I seek out the absolutely lightest wheels I can afford that can also stand my abuse.*

Think about it: unsprung weight is the enemy of a good ride: the lighter the wheel&tire combo is, the quicker it responds and returns to the road surface after a bump, keeping you in control. Also, less rotating mass to get going. The 240D was quite underpowered, so those wheels were quite necessary. Posts on the old Shopforum about putting Bundts on them were quite discouraging—rather like putting 17” wheels on a Miata.

All that said, I have no experience with those chassis, so you’d have to look it up & see how the weight, backspacing, etc matches. I will say that in my experience, 2-3lbs difference can definitely be felt. That’s why my Bugeye wrx still has the stock wheels. But, I play in gravel with that: you likely don’t abuse those nice Mercedes in that fashion 🙂

*we have different views: I keep shit light, whereas he had some cool-ass steel (quite heavy) wheels built for his MCoupe—which he supercharged to overcome the weight.
you see my username, right? Finesse, not power is how I have fun

Last edited 3 months ago by TOSSABL
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Thanks for the insights!

I don’t think I’ll try messing with wheels on the 6.9 because of the complicated suspension, but the SL? Hmmm…

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Oh, man: it’ll make that SL feel like a gazelle. Or maybe a Springbok—something agile anyway.

The lighter the car, the more transformative: my 84 300D went up a favorite twisty mountain faster and with much more confidence. The 82 300SD mostly just rode noticeably more smoothly. I had settled on Michelin tires for them by then, but that was almost 20 years ago and tire tech has certainly evolved.

let me know if you try it

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

The SL is 4k pounds 😮

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Damn. I guess I was thinking of the Pagoda cars
-I did say I was ignorant, didn’t I?

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Ha, I don’t expect normal people to have the code names memorized. But yeah, the 560SL with the big V8 and hard top on is 3900 and change curb weight.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

Yeah, that’s some 900lbs more than the 240D weighed. I never played in those leagues as I started with buying my first 126 for $500. The diesels were cheap & plentiful on the ground here—and my aim was to make my own fuel for them. The gas cars were reputed to be quite a bit more complicated and expensive to maintain, so a sub $1k one was not something I was up for messing with even though the power would have been nice.

I was rather poor at the time. Iirc, I put the 126 on the road for about $850 all in. Drove her 4ish years and probably had only spent $1200 on her not including fluids & tires. I certainly miss the weekends in the garage listening to Car Talk and fettling power antennas or sunroof slides. Hell, the meticulous instructions for proper shimming of the door catches was a whole new world for a guy who grew up in air-cooled Beetles and using the Idiot’s Guide to learn how to wrench!

I should have done a quick search so I could have been on the same page —I blame holiday cheer & the legalization of the Evil Weed 😉

but certainly enjoyed the back & forth. It’s why I love this place

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
3 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Same!

I could never afford any MB until about 4 years ago, but I’m not getting any younger so I have two now and kind a want a couple more, even though I work from home and drive 5k miles a year all in…

Happy new year!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
3 months ago

And to you, sir!
Enjoy them in good health.

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