Weekly Craigslist Hidden Treasure: 1997 Nissan 240SX

Car Culture

Tuners and drifters can also apply.

Remember when Japanese automakers always had a sports car on sale? Today, there’s the Mazda MX-5 Miata, Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ twins, reborn Toyota Supra, and the Nissan 370Z. The Nissan GT-R is not exactly affordable, let’s be honest. But it was during the 1990s when these same Japanese brands regularly offered more than one sports car in their respective lineups. This was before crossovers took over.

These now-classic models have become collector’s cars for not only kids of the ‘90s but also for those who desire something affordable and fun to drive. And if you’re into the whole tuning thing then you’ve come to the right place. One of our favorite ‘90s Japanese sports cars is the Nissan 240SX.

First launched for 1989, the 240SX was a front-engined, rear-wheel-drive two-door for its entire ten-year production run. There was, however, a hatchback and convertible option for the first generation model. When the 240SX hit the market in late ’88, it was powered by a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 140 hp and 152 lb-ft of torque with power directed to the rear wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic.

When it was facelifted for ’91, the engine was updated, now rated at 155 hp and 160 lb-ft. Nissan also offered a sports package that included a limited-slip differential, four-wheel steering, and ABS brakes. Although the 240SX weighed only around 2,700 pounds, many felt it was underpowered, hence its instant attraction to tuners. Even drifters immediately took note of the coupe’s potential. The first-gen 240SX, in short, was nearly perfect, except for the lack of power.

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Nissan launched the second-gen 240SX in mid-1994 as a ’95 model. Both the hatch and convertible body styles were gone, leaving just the coupe. The wheelbase was also stretched by a couple of inches and the track width was increased, but the length was actually shorter than before. The same engine was carried over so output remained about the same, though the new model’s curb weight increased by about 80 pounds. Nissan engineers also stiffened up the chassis.

As for styling, the pop-up headlights were removed and replaced with fixed units. Buyers could still tack on ABS and a limited-slip diff. Before it was discontinued in 1999, the second-gen 240SX was given a facelift, which was mostly limited to a few aesthetic changes. But these changes were enough for fans to differentiate them as before and after the facelift, as "Zenki” and "Kouki”.

This week’s Craigslist find is a 1997 Nissan 240SX, meaning its post-facelift, or Kouki. With an asking price of $18,000, the seller, located in the San Francisco area, claims the engine is "bone stock untouched and everything under the hood is original.” The interior is also supposedly in "mint condition.” Total mileage: 66,000 miles. Not bad. What’s also pretty cool about this ’97 240SX is that it comes with a ton of authentic Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) parts, including front and rear bumpers, front grille, rear spoiler, turn signals, and even fog lights.

There is some reported slight damage to the passenger side fender with a few dents, but the frame is unaffected. The seller even includes an unpainted OEM fender. There are a few other notable modifications done that make this 240SX a great buy for anyone in the market. Oh, and if you are really serious about being its next owner, the seller specifically states that test drives will only be allowed with cash in hand. Serious buyers only.

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