I can’t remember the last time I saw a clean, unmolested Nissan 240SX. At some point—I believe it was earlier this decade—all of them seemingly got stanced, turned into drift cars, engine-swapped, grafted with various body parts from the Silvia and 180SX and just otherwise Frankenstein’d into something new and crazy. I assumed they were all gone.
I assumed wrong.
Up for grabs on New York City Craigslist is one of the last un-messed-with Nissan 240SX-es we have left in America, a 1997 model. In fact, it’s so un-messed-with, it only has 676 miles on the odometer.
Here it is, in all its 1990s glory: cloth sport seats, cassette stereo, four-speed automatic, 2.4-liter KA24DE engine. A humble but fun and affordable car in its day, yet one that seldom survived the Tuner Wars (and then the Drift Wars) without battle scars.
How did this one stay so nice, so practically un-driven? Well, that’s a story in and of itself. Read the whole thing on the Craigslist ad, but here’s how it’s claimed to go:
Call it what you want. A unicorn. A barn find. In reality, this is a living room find. That is no exaggeration. this 1997 Nissan 240SX named “Midnight” has been so meticulously cared for, the 1 and only owner literally pulled this car in to his sisters living room, in her house to avoid the cold New York winters, on specially custom ramps made out of old airplane wings.
Supposedly, they kept it in a living room during the winter. That’s crazy. But, friend, it’s not even remotely as crazy as the rest of the story, which involves the Lemon Law and two legal cases against Nissan, one of which reportedly (let me stress that part here) resulted in the court-ordered sale of this display model to its one and only owner:
The problem was that after all this time the 1997 cars were slowing down production and Nissan was gearing up for the potential new and fancy 1998 240's. In Japan, was a special built, special finished “Display 240SX “ which was to be readied and placed in a custom built mahogany showcase for all the new U.S. and foreign auto shows. Because of all the care and attention that went into this vehicle, it was not to be given to anyone. Two weeks later, having heard about this special car, the judge ordered Nissan to ship it to the U.S., in its wooden case, and eventually ship it to my New York dealer. Having carried out the order, the Senior Vice President of Nissan America was removed from her position and the company, now without a show car for all their presentations. After the car came home, I could tell immediately that this vehicle had been assembled with the care and attention of watch builders. The car also has a special built body of Nissan “DuraSteel” which prevents the car from ever getting rust.
It was obvious that this special car could never be replaced. I decided it will spend its life in the living room of a special built home. It would be started and ran a few times a year and insured and registered and taken for annual inspections to maintain the history and mileage records with the State of New York Department of Motor Vehicles. Every year the gas was drained and refilled, the oil and filter changed with Mobil1 only. The car would be washed and waxed and then returned to its carpeted spot in the air conditioned living room. It has never seen rain or put on the street other than in August. A few years ago, a friend who is one of the founders of Tire Rack, presented me with a custom made set of OZ rims made especially for the car in Italy ( five rims ) mounted with the best Michelin Super Sport tires.
I am willing to take all of that with a grain of salt, but the pictures are certainly compelling here.
The current seller says it comes with all paperwork, two sets of wheels, the original wiper blades, a shop manual and a car cover.
Now, onto the price: they want $125,000 for it.
While I recognize that this thing has probably been as meticulously preserved as they claim, and that the story of its origin is most unusual indeed, six figures for an automatic 240SX is a tough pill to swallow. Even for a museum or something!
Here’s what the owner says:
“Some people might think we are asking a crazy price, some may not. When you have a car like this, that has been babied for the last two decades, how do you put a price on it?”
You be the judge.
Update: I spoke to the owner of the dealer that’s selling this 240SX, and like me, he is skeptical of the whole “Lemon Law” story of how the previous owner says it came to be.
But, the car is exactly what is claimed here: it has 676 miles, has the original brakes and spark plugs and more, and still runs perfectly today.
His phone’s blowing up, but he hasn’t gotten any serious offers yet.
Thanks for the tips everyone!