Sometimes a great car is taken away from us much too soon. It can happen for multiple reasons, but the typical cause usually boils down to the balance sheet. One such car is the Nissan 240SX. Nissan started selling the 240SX (S13 chassis) in 1989 and stopped producing it for the American market in 1998 (S14 chassis).
Nissan did continue to offer the next-generation S15 chassis in other parts of the world, but America had to say goodbye too soon. We are sure that certain market conditions in 1998 warranted the 240SX’s demise, but times have changed. We think now is the time for Nissan to bring back the 240SX, and we have some compelling reasons why.
The Toyota GR 86 proves the market is there
Nissan never officially confirmed why they decided to stop offering the 240SX in America. However, some have speculated that in the late 90s, American consumers were gravitating toward practical vehicles like SUVs. It was believed that there was no room for an affordable rear-wheel-drive sports car.
When Toyota (under the Scion brand) introduced the FR-S as part of a joint effort with Subaru, they proved that small, wallet-friendly, rear-wheel-drive sports cars were still viable in the U.S. market. Eight years later, the 2022 Toyota GR 86 is poised to be a big seller. That is proof that there is space to offer similar cars.
The new Nissan Z needs a “younger sibling”
By the time you read this article, Nissan would have revealed the brand new 2023 Nissan Z coupe. The new Z car checks nearly all the boxes for sportscar enthusiasts and ardent Nissan fans. It has a design that throws back to the original 240Z and the 300ZX, and it features a 400 horsepower twin-turbo V6 engine.
The one thing that isn’t known about the new Z car is its price (as of this article’s publication date). However, the chances are that the new Z will have an MSRP of at least $40k. While that is a potentially great price for what the car offers, it could keep the car out of reach for sports car enthusiasts who don’t quite have that much to spend.
A new Nissan 240SX would complement the new Z car nicely. Just as the Toyota GR 86 compliments the Toyota GR Supra. Imagine if Nissan could swing a $35,000 240SX with a single-turbo, 2.0 four-cylinder engine? That could fill out Nissan’s performance line nicely.
Drifting is just as popular as ever
This last reason might seem a bit silly, but drifting has affected the enthusiast automotive market. Some can argue that drifting is why Toyota decided that it was a good idea to launch the 86 platform. Furthermore, since that platform launched, Toyota has used the Formula Drift series as a marketing channel for several of their cars.
Considering that early model 240SXs are among the most popular platforms for drifting, Nissan could capitalize on that audience to sell a brand new generation of the car. Combined with the new Z car, Nissan would have a two-pronged strategy to attract buyers.
Those are just a few of the reasons why we think Nissan should bring back the 240SX. There are probably many (primarily financial) reasons why Nissan believes it would be a bad idea. Either way, with the debut of the Z car and the continued success of the Toyota GR 86, we remain optimistic that a 240SX resurgence is in the not too distant future.