Little did the engineers in Japan know back in the 1990s, but they were creating a modern rockstar of a machine with the Nissan 240SX. Sure, at the time it was a 155hp sports car that was designed to appeal to women, but had they known that the car would eventually become the go-to platform for building a drift car or potentially the most LS-swapped Japanese car of the era, what would they have thought? The Nissan 240SX by 1995 was a pretty good car, as you will see. The four banger made decent power, it ran the 1/4-mile in a respectable 15.5-seconds, and it didn’t look bad, either. Not exactly the manliest thing around but it got the job done for many people.
As things go, some cars have secondary lives that no one would have expected when they were first introduced. We’re not sure that Chevrolet engineers figured the 1955 Chevy would become one of the most iconic drag racing cars of all time, and the list could go on and on.
Why did these things become so popular for drifting and for LS-swapping? For the same reason anything does in hot rodding. They were cheap to find, cheap to modify, and cheap to fix when the need arose. Being small and light helped them on that front but being rear wheel drive and being able to handle at least mild V8 horsepower without having to instantly replace the whole driveline was a capper as well.
The 240SX was a little car designed to be fun to drive by a wide swath of the population in the 1990s. It sold well and made plenty of money for the company. Little did they know, though that the car’s true glory was a couple decades in the future!