Nissan 240SX successor concept to arrive in Tokyo
Nissan plans to unveil two sport car concepts in Tokyo next month. One of those will be a concept derived from the 240SX, which enjoyed a decade of production from 1989 to 1998 and was a popular small engine sport car, competing against similar-sized and priced sports cars from other Japanese automakers at the time.
The introduction and huge popularity that the Subaru BRZ / Scion FR-S (collectively known as the Toyobaru) have achieved in the North American market shows that there is a lot of interest in entry-level, rear-wheel driven, small-engine sports cars. The surprising sales numbers, which even the companies involved did not expect, have proven that the market is ripe for these cars. Nissan, whose only competitor in that segment is the more expensive 370Z, seems keen to jump onto the wave.
The 240SX was itself the successor to the moderate-selling 200SX. When they introduced in 1989, they had a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine in a single overhead cam (SOHC) configuration. The second-generation of the 240SX both updated that to become a dual overhead cam (DOHC) and expanded the engine bay to accommodate customers who wanted to put in larger, after-market engines. Today, many 240SX second-generation cars are still on the roads, many with non-stock powertrains featuring V6 engines and race-style transmissions.
Enthusiasts for both generations of the 240SX still keep their vehicles on the road and form clubs around the country to showcase their cars and talk shop about parts availability and do-it-yourself upgrades.
We can be sure that the concept introduced in Tokyo will only take styling cues from the old 240SX, as many things have changed since 1998. Nissan has hinted at reviving the 240SX before, most recently as a Mazda MX-5 Miata rival. That project was dead-ended for budget reasons in favor of a coupe version of the Sentra, which also didn't get far.
Until the Tokyo show opens, we'll have to just wait and see what Nissan is planning. They've promised two sport car concepts and persistent rumors are that one of them will be a 240SX-based design. The other is perhaps the next entry into the NISMO lineup? We'll find out in November.