The Nissan 240SX S13 vs S14 Comparison. Despite being almost three decades old, the Nissan S-Chassis is one of the most recognizable and popular Japanese platforms. The Nissan 240SX won the hearts of innumerable enthusiasts over its decade-long production run from 1989 to 1998 due to its timeless appearance, huge modifiability, and proclivity to get sideways.
In the United States, the 240SX was available in two generations, frequently known to as early and late versions. The chassis codes for the two generations were different. The S13 was the first model 240SX, introduced in 1989 and discontinued in 1994. The S14 took over in the spring of 1994, and was sold in the United States as the 1995 model year. It was still in production until 1998.
The two generations differ in many ways, but there are arguments for both. The S13 offers a more raw and barebones feel, which some track car aficionados prefer. The S14 is more stiff than the S13 and includes modern creature amenities that the S13 does not. The S13 vs S14 debate is complicated, with no obvious winner. It everything comes down to personal taste.
S13 vs S14 Historical Comparison
Nissan was preparing to launch a new front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sports car on the global market in the 1990s. The 240SX was Nissan’s replacement for the previous S12 (200SX), which was manufactured from 1983 to 1988. The first generation (S13) 240SX was significantly improved over the previous 200SX. MacPherson struts and rear multilink suspension are among the changes, as is a more modern KA24E/DE engine and improved chassis dynamics.
Depending on the market, the S13 was known by several names. The 240SX was assigned to US-spec automobiles, while the 180SX and 200SX were assigned to Japanese models in European countries. There are substantial variances between 240SXs built in the United States and 180SXs and Silvias built in Japan. While most 240SXs in the United States had the KA24E/DE engine, Japanese models had the more powerful, turbocharged SR20DE/DET engine.
The S14 chassis code was assigned to the second generation 240SX in 1994. Nissan’s objective with the S14 was clear: update the platform and integrate new technology in line with the times. The S14 offered keyless entry, an anti-theft system, a CD player, anti-lock brakes, and an optional limited-slip differential in terms of quality of life enhancements.
The S13 and S14 each have their own separate versions with largely cosmetic modifications. In the next sections, we’ll go through those distinctions in further detail. In Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, the S-Chassis evolved past the 240SX to become the S15. Direct S15 sales were unavailable to the rest of the world.
240SX versus Silvia
Many enthusiasts will use the terms 240SX and Silvia interchangeably. That being said, there is a distinction between the 240SX and Silvia models. The 240SX coupe, as it is known outside of the US domestic market, is known as the Silvia. The S13 Silvia looks remarkably identical to the USDM-spec 240SX coupe, with the exception of the Silvia’s fixed headlamps and right-hand drive arrangement. The S13 Silvia was available in three trim levels: “Jack,” “Queen,” and “King.” The primary distinction between trim levels is the powerplant.
The CA18DE engine was used in early model S13 Silvias in Jack and Queen configuration from 1989 to 1991. Jack and Queen Silvias received the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine from 1991 to 1993. Depending on the model year, the S13 Silvia in King configuration received the turbocharged version of the relevant engine. The turbocharged CA18DET was used in early model King S13 Silvias, whereas the Red Top SR20DET was used in late model King S13 Silvias.
In contrast to the S13, which was sold in non-USDM territories as both the 180SX and the Silvia, the S14 was only sold as the Silvia. Because the S14 was only available as a coupe, every S14 Silvia is likewise a coupe. The only difference between US-spec S14 240SXs and S14 Silvias is the engines and right-hand drive configuration. The S14 Silvia, like the S13, was available in Jack, Queen, and King trim levels. The naturally aspirated SR20DE engine was used in the Jack and Queen S14 Silvias, while the turbocharged SR20DET engine was used in the King.
Nissan S13 Specifications and Information
We’ll discuss the S13 and S14 separately now that we’ve covered the 1000-foot view of both. We’ll start with the original 240SX. As previously stated, the S13 is the S-Chassis’ most basic and analog form. Despite being relatively basic in terms of technology, the S13 has a number of performance-oriented components that make it popular among the drift and time-attack communities.
- S13 Advantages Over S14
- S14 is 64 pounds lighter.
- The hatchback bodystyle is available.
- Styling that is more retro or sharper
- Minimalist / Fewer Driver Distractions
- Headlights that Activate
The 240SX’s outstanding chassis dynamics are one of the key reasons why so many enthusiasts adore it. The S13 established the precedent. The 240SX boasts a large wheelbase, a light curb weight, a front-engine-rear-wheel-drive layout, and a highly customizable engine. The S13 is also 64 pounds lighter than the S14, making it easier to break traction. All of these elements combine to make the S13 an excellent choice for a drift or lightweight track build.
Another reason why some people prefer the S13 over the S14 is aesthetics. The S13 was available in three different body styles. There is a two-door coupe, a three-door hatchback, and a two-door convertible. The S13 had teardrop wheels and a sportier front appearance from 1989 to 1991. The S13 had a facelift in 1991, which included 7-spoke wheels and a smoother front fascia. Some individuals like the hatchback appearance of the S13, which the S14 does not have. In the final year of manufacturing, 1994, the S13 was only available as a convertible in the United States.
Aside from cosmetic changes, facelifted 1991+ S13s were also fitted with the more powerful KA42DE engine. The KA24DE is a dual overhead cam version of the KA24E that produces 155 horsepower. The K24DE additionally has an additional valve per cylinder, for a total of four valves per cylinder.
Nissan S14 Specifications and Information
Many enthusiasts consider the second generation 240SX, or S14, to be the more “touring” focused S-Chassis alternative. It’s easy to see why, as the S14 offers several more quality-of-life enhancements over the S13. Having said that, the S14 is no slouch in terms of performance applications. Despite being heavier and larger, the S14 boasts a stiffer and more robust chassis than the S13.
- S14 Advantages Over S13
- Increased chassis stiffness (50% torsional stiffness, 100% bending rigidity)
- Improved everyday usability (keyless entry, leather seats, anti-theft)
- More contemporary design
- Improved security features (dual airbags)
- Suspension geometry has been improved.
The increased chassis rigidity is one of the most significant differences between the S13 and S14 240SX, particularly in drifting applications. The rigidity of the chassis is vital in performance driving because the more rigid the chassis is, the more probable the wheels will remain oriented in the desired direction. It also makes shifts in direction more straightforward and predictable. This is critical when drifting.
The S14 also has higher rear strut mounts, which improves the suspension geometry. Suspension is another critical feature of high-performance driving. In this regard, the S14 outperforms the S13.
The S14, like the S13, received a mid-production facelift. The early model S14, known as the “Zenki,” has a more rounded front end and fixed headlights. The facelifted “Kouki” vehicles after 1997 had more aggressive slanted fixed headlights, a redesigned front bumper, fenders, taillights, and hood. The S14, unlike the S13, was only offered as a two-door coupe.
In general, the S14 is the more popular model of the 240SX. Late-model S14s, or Koukis, are possibly the most desirable of the entire 240SX lineup, owing to their visual appeal.
Used the KA24DE engine
The S14, like the S13, used the KA24DE engine. Many fans thought the KA24DE’s 155 horsepower and 160 pound-feet of torque were inadequate for a sportscar. The fact that the S14 is heavier than the already underperforming S13 adds to this argument. While it doesn’t have much power out of the box, the KA24DE’s aftermarket support is extensive enough to compensate.
Price Comparison of the Nissan S13 and S14
When comparing the S13 versus S14, price is a key factor to consider, especially in today’s market. Drifting has become a worldwide sport that has permeated almost every country and culture since the 1990s. As a result, the top JDM chassis’ prices have risen in the recent decade.
Naturally, the 240SX ranks towards the top of the list in terms of coveted drift chassis. The term “drift tax” is frequently linked with the 240SX purchasing procedure. Due to the strong demand, it is nearly impossible to find a 240SX in good condition at a reasonable price. To be honest, it’s difficult to find one at all these days, let alone an unaltered example. It was a different story 5-10 years ago when you could get any 240SX model for under $5,000.
Early model S13s with the single overhead cam KA24E engine are the least desirable, according to current Bring A Trailer auction prices. This is followed by S13s equipped with late-model KA24DE engines. Zenki S14s are little more expensive, yet they are still reasonably priced. Kouki S14s are the most costly 240SX model, usually selling for more than $20,000 for pristine examples.
Prices are based on Bring A Trailer auction sales and current Craigslist ads. Of course, 240SX cost might vary greatly depending on a variety of circumstances. Your location, the state of the car, and how extensively modded the 240SX are all variables.
- 1989-1991 S13 Early Model – $3,000 – $7,000
- 1991-1994 S13 Late Model – $4,000 – $8,500
- S13 in Grail Condition / Unmolested – $7,000 – $15,000
- S14 “Zenki” Early Model – $4,500 – $8,000
- 1997-1999 S14 Late Model “Kouki” – $6,000 – $18,000
- S14 Grail / Unmolested – $12,000 – $25,000
Mods & Upgrades for the Nissan 240SX S13 vs S14
The Nissan 240SX is one of the most adaptable Japanese vehicles on the market. That statement pretty much applies to all 240SX models, whether S13 or S14, early or late model. Because the S13 and S14 share the same KA24DE engine, there is some overlap in the changes that may be performed on both versions.
It’s no surprise that the majority of the most popular 240SX modifications revolve around power. Because the KA24DE engine is lackluster out of the box but has a lot of performance potential, the 240SX aftermarket community offers a wide range of engine upgrades for both the S13 and S14.
The KA24DE has a cast-iron block that is rated for roughly 350whp with stock internals, making it an excellent candidate for boost. For good reason, turbo kits are one of the most popular 240SX performance mods. First and foremost, turbocharging is the quickest and most cost-effective technique to drastically increase stock 240SX power. Second, forced induction is an excellent choice for drift applications due to its predictable power delivery and quick-onset power to break rear-end traction. If you want to learn more about the KA24DE, we have an entire guide dedicated to it!
Aesthetic modifications are very popular in the 240SX community. There is virtually no limit to what you can do to improve the appearance of your 240SX. A Kouki front-end swap is a popular aesthetic upgrade for S13s and Zenki S14s. It’s a simple bolt-on change that can be completed primarily with OEM parts.
Engine Swap Capabilities S13 versus S14
The KA24DE doesn’t always cut it for 240SX users searching for the massive power required for serious drifting. Engine swaps are one of the most prevalent in-depth performance mods for the 240SX, aside from turbocharging.
JDM-spec SR20DETs found in Japanese 180SXs, RB26DETTs, 2JZ-GTEs, and LS engines are among the most prevalent engine swap possibilities for the 240SX. Because all of these swaps are quite prevalent in the 240SX community, there are kits and an abundance of information available if an engine swap is in your plans.
While both the S13 and S14 have significant engine swap potential, the S13 is the more likely candidate. This is especially true of more powerful Nissan engines. The S13 chassis is built similarly to the Skyline R33 platform, making it relatively simple to swap in an R33 cross member. This makes swapping out the RB26 engine on the S13 more easier than on the S14.
This is a vital factor to consider if you want to turn your 240SX into a true drift or track monster. With stock internals and a well-tuned RB26 or 2JZ engine swap, a 240SX can produce around 800 horsepower. That’s an astounding figure for a car weighing only 2,700 pounds.
Nissan S13 vs S14 Comparison
As previously said, there is no conclusive answer as to whether 240SX model is superior. The S13 and S14 both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. In the end, the S13 vs S14 dispute is only determined by your own personal demands and goals.
The S13 is the more basic, analog option. This includes less driver distractions, a smaller overall weight, and retro design. The S13 also features more bodystyle options, including hatchback and convertible bodystyles in addition to the coupe. The lesser KA24E engine handicaps early model S13s, although they have superior support for RB engine swaps.
The S14, on the other hand, is the more luxury and practical daily driver alternative. Keyless entry, leather seats, and an anti-theft system make the S14 easier to live with. Despite being heavier than the S13, the S14 features a stiffer chassis, making it marginally simpler to control in a drift scenario. Some people appreciate the more modern design and fixed headlamp front end of the S14. With that out of the way, expect to pay a premium if you insist on purchasing one.
In any case, there’s a reason why the Nissan 240SX is one of the most popular JDM chassis. Neither the S13 nor the S14 are awful cars, and regardless of which way you lean, you’ll leave in a cloud of smoke with a smile on your face.