240SX drifting

Rad Ventures explains why the Nissan 240SX is great

Rad Ventures is a new video series over on Hagerty’s YouTube channel. It’s hosted by Ryan Symancek, who is pretty darn good at flinging vehicles down dirt-covered trails. Now he’s setting out to explore his favorite vehicles, and they hail from the ’80s and ’90s. First up, he’s exploring the Nissan 240SX. He talks about why it’s such a great car in stock form. He also gets a lesson on just how fun it can be when you set it up for insane drifting action.

The visuals here are great. And it’s clear that Ryan knows how to wheel.

There’s a lot more great stuff to come in this series and we can’t wait to see it all roll out.

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7 responses to “Rad Ventures explains why the Nissan 240SX is great”

  1. crank_case Avatar

    240SX and their international equivalents made sense when they were dirt cheap, I owned a JDM import S13 180SX, CA18DET UK spec 200SX S13s were even cheaper and you could turn up the boost to 270-ish bhp if you felt so inclined. For a time, the turbo version of these were probably the best bang for buck in terms of power and speed for your money in Ireland and the UK.

    That was before drift tax and “Rad Era” hysteria, which was kinda throwaway fun initially, is starting become embarrassingly like us Gen Xers doing our version of the Boomer Muscle Car bubble (though I reckon Millenials as this presenter seems to be are tagging on with some borrowed vaporwave nostalgia too).

    This guy is getting a teensy bit carried away about it being a corner machine. The reality for me was more the car Ford might have been making had it continued the idea of a RWD European Capri. Lairy, simple, RWD fun, but not a particularly precise machine, which he sorts of point out himself, but has the nostalgia goggles on too tight. A LOT of initial understeer, then snaps into oversteer, which only the long wheelbase makes easy to catch. If your Miata handles like that, it’s probably broken. Steering wasn’t exactly the most feelsome either.

    Fun cars, but the value to reality needle went into the red about 5 years ago.

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      I never owned an S13, so I’ll defer to your experience on that. However, anything with “snap oversteer” in my opinion doesn’t qualify as a good track car. Predictable, tractable oversteer is great, but when driving at the limit you don’t want those transitions to be like the flip of a light switch.

      Given my experience with a spouse who has an increasingly bipolar mood swings, I certainly don’t want a track car with bipolar handling.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Precisely, once you had the thing going sideways it was easy to hold there but the initial transition from understeer to oversteer wasn’t really “bigger Miata” in my view, and more “better Capri”, made a bit more unruly by old school turbo lag. You learned to keep the revs high so it was already boosting rather than boost coming on mid corner. Not a bad car, but not a scalpel to pick apart corners. You could improve things with suspension modification, but that applies to anything really.

        Now a mid engined car will snap oversteer if you’re cack handed, but that’s a different kettle of fish, and many still make great track cars because you get the advantages of mid engined car and will get traction and speed rather than wheelspin by taking a brake deep, power early approach. Some even have an arguably smoother transition balance.

    2. Maymar Avatar

      I know owning costs would be cheaper, but at the same time, once these started getting more expensive than Porsche 944’s, we’ve started moving past rationality (especially since North America got a relatively unimpressive truck engine rather than the 1.8 turbo the rest of the world got). The Toyobaru twins are a perfect modern equivalent – fun, cheap, RWD, joyless engine (although I think the 240’s are at least easier to replace with something better). For that matter, the non-S2000 early 2000’s sports cars are also better value, hitting that sweet spot of fully depreciated but not beloved yet.

      I will also back up that the Radstalgia is also a Millennial thing, and I anticipate a future where we’re just as insufferable as our Boomer parents. I’m still guilty of it, mind you, but since I’ve always been irrelevant, it’s easy for me to stay irrelevant.

  2. Neight428 Avatar

    I remember the Bubba Drift guy that slung around an El Camino, but the reference to the Frontier had me thinking, has anyone attempted the same, quasi competitively with a cheap old small pickup truck? I know plenty of people that attempted it back before competitive drifting was a known thing, with results that often involved a ditch.

  3. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    i got a chance to sling a BRZ around some curvy roads last night. i had a lot of fun. the engine sounds awful, and the options for swap fantasies are fewer, but it really is the spiritual successor to the S13/S14 more than the AE86. simple, plentiful, usable, great handling, Toyota quality, good aftermarket support. the only missing piece is the hatch, and I’m sure i could get used to that.

    don’t worry about the prices of clean S13s. when we’re ready to set aside the turbo RB swap daydreams, the 86 will be there for us.

    1. Tiller188 Avatar

      Sounds about right! A bit off-topic, but I’m in a chatty mood, so… I have a 2011 WRX, my brother has a BRZ (2014, I think?). We’ve each driven the others’ cars, and it’s quite fun to see the differences. I didn’t really drive his car “in anger”, considering, y’know, it’s my brother’s, plus I wasn’t particularly familiar with it…but all it took was a couple of corners to realize, “oh, this is where it’s at home”. On straights I missed big brother WRX’s turbo power, but the BRZ (by comparison) just sat so low and turned so flat, and rotated right around my hips. We’ve done some trackdays together, and it’s really fun to look at our onboard videos in comparison — watching videos where he was following me, it’s clear that he’s sawing the wheel more, really working for the traction on those “Prius tires”, and balancing the car on its limits, whereas the WRX is kind of easy mode with its turbo and AWD traction. Looking at our videos, I can’t help but be a little afraid of what would happen were we to swap cars for a session…