Stop Supporting 240sx Drift Tax – Buy These Starter Drift Cars Instead


I love the Nissan 240sx as much as the next guy in the drifting industry. We just fired up our second S13 project car for the magazine with Vapure and love how easy it is you can get a 240sx drift worthy. However, 240sx inflation or drift tax has grown rapidly out of control over recent time. I won’t even post some of the insane prices I have seen for the S13/S14 chassis models here in Southern California over recent months. At the Wrecked Magazine office all we really want to see is more people drifting and coming into the sport, so we have found that drift tax on the Nissan 240sx is not helping newcomers enter the scene. With that we found some cars that you should consider buying before taking out a loan just to own a S13 coupe.



This car has already become super popular in Europe and other nations as a great turn key drift car. They are so cheap in price and have great aftermarket support. Added bonus with the E36 chassis is they look pretty good for a car so old. These are readily available in any major market for cheap. A quick eBay search found several set for a Buy It Now of under $1,500 for running cars. If you are lucky you can get some tips and tricks from a Formula Drift driver like Chelsea DeNofa who has these BMW chassis all figured out.


Ford Mustang

Another great option is the Ford Mustang for a beginner drift build/car. You have multiple body style options and years that are priced well below a few thousand dollars. Vaughn Gittin Jr. has been seen in his Foxbody missile showing even that chassis can drift with ease. The Mustang market has seen a huge growth in drift specific parts and the forum even has an active Mustang owners section. Just wait until you find out how cheap you can swap differentials and gear ratios compared to the 240sx chassis as well.


Lexus SC300

Have you been to a junkyard in the last 2 years? If so, you have probably laid your eyes on about 1,0000 Lexus SC300 bodies. These things seem to be everywhere and they just get cheaper and cheaper. Parts are plentiful and even Tony Angelo has assembled one as a missile car these days (seen above). This car isn’t the easiest to setup for drifting of the group but it looks good and will easily take a 2JZ swap.

Nissan 350z

This option is a little more expensive but if you can find a cheaper Nissan 350z beater you should pick one up. You will get taxed a little extra on parts but the Nissan 350z is a Formula Drift championship winning chassis via Chris Forsberg 2009. Companies are developing more and more suspension products in recent time and many people will tell you the VQ35 platform is a solid engine base for a drift car.

Toyota Cressida

This is a chassis you can purchase for cheap that many people in the drift community tend to overlook or forget about. The car has some loyal fans, a core community, and some solid aftermarket support. Out of our group they probably aren’t the best looking vehicle you can choose but they seem to be fun drift projects.


Mazda RX-8

Okay, this is the most expensive option I am going to throw in your face but hear me out. The Mazda RX-8 is an awesome car that nobody wants in the world it seems due to it’s terrible engine. So, buy one that is blown up, purchase an awesome LS crate engine, and then call Sikky to make the new swap kit from this car super simple. Mazda RX-8 cars can be found without engines or blown up motors for about the same price as a S14. If you were going to do a V8 swap into a S13/S14 then I suggest considering going this route instead.

I attended my first drift event at Road Atlanta in 2005 while shooting for Import Racer Magazine (RIP). Since then I have produced drift content for PAS Magazine, Modified Magazine, Drifting Magazine (RIP), and many more publications. I was the producer of the movie Slide America and then helped found this website in 2007.


  1. RapperDan says:

    Call SIKKY! Yep (877)SIKKYHP or 410780009-local

  2. rotarypower says:

    Soooo u put the rx8 in this blog but no fc!?! I payed 500 for a 91 and u can put anything in that chassis and it fits perfectly UR FIRED JOEY

  3. protomor says:

    FYI the E36 is best if you get an M3. Those come with LSDs and a beefier rear end. Non M models tear out the subframes. No bueno.

    Also, as an E30 drifter, I’ll toss that in too… Sikky also makes a kit for that LS swap 🙂

  4. steven b. says:

    Cressida’s are sick! With that said, anyone wanna buy my MX73? It’s great for a project car. I just dont have the time or money to do anything with it.

  5. YoDonny! says:

    Damn, wheres the FC love at? You can find a ton on CL already V8 swapped and needing just a trans and other menial things for 5k and lower.

  6. Fleemer says:

    240sx is still hands down the best bang for your buck drift car, regardless of all other options. Its the most driftable and has the best parts availability as far as drifting parts is concerned.

    People always ask me to recommend a good starting car, and it will always be a 240sx. Buy one, weld diff get coils go. Its the only car you can get away with these minimum mods.

    You can drift anything but the easiest and cheapest way to do it is the 240sx, regardless of drift tax.

  7. 8-Bit Miata says:

    Joey I would recommend not ignoring what everyone is seeing out there besides S-Chassis.
    We are talking about “Starter Drift Cars” as in least expensive to get sliding right?
    You forgot the NA6 Miata. It is the perfect starter drift car. From a stock NA6 with no A/C, all you need to do is install a rollbar, weld the diff, add tie rod spacers, cheap cone air filter, and straight pipe exhaust. Bucket seats and aftermarket steering wheel if you want. 195/50/15 tires in front, stock wheels and 185/60/14 tires in back. Leave the suspension and engine stock. This alone is capable of drifting banked turns without straighting, and 90+mph ebrake slides into multiple transitions.

  8. jcatz says:

    “will easily take a 2JZ swap.”

    but… but… it should already have a 2jz rofl.

  9. tungm says:

    great article! It’d be cool if you went into detail about common pros/cons and common set ups.

  10. Blaze1 says:

    Miatas are the new ae86… a ton of tuner tax and fewer are available un molested.

    All E36s are good, M3 or not.

    E30s are fun but I can see how one could outgrow one. The suspension isn’t as adjustable as a E36.

    Every semi competitive cressida I have seen runs all sorts of suspension parts from other cars.

    The mustang formula is out there but no one wants to share the secrets it seems like.

  11. ashley says:

    What bout miata or ae86 or camaro

  12. Brian says:

    You all have good opinions but you all have forgotten one very important thing and probably the cheapest of all these options… VOLVOS! still drive a “240” but avoid the tax all together lol. They are stupid cheap and there’s always a wagon model for extra awesomeness!

  13. n l seapage says:

    on the cressida:

    massive amounts of bandwagonner insterest have forced prices of barely passable shells into $1,000+ territory. this is not an easy chassis to build unless you think off the shelf Megans and a welded open are enough to be competitive. ditch the M engine immediately, na 2j is the cheapest option and can be turbo’d later if you have a few hundred extra bucks in your budget.

    again, the bandwagon interest means these cars are getting picked up, stripped/swagged and abandoned when the prospective/wannabe’s budget dries up, which it inevitably does before drivetrain is even a consideration.

    avoid this chassis unless you want heartbreak and endless shit talking. yes, people have done it right. no, you cant be one of them. also, avoid like a plague if you value your self-esteem.

  14. Atlantian says:

    Does the MX-5/Miata/Roadster count?

    Or do those have Spec/Club tax (about the same deal as drift tax for 240s)

  15. 8-Bit Miata says:

    I got my Miata for $1K. I never spend more than $100 for 6 tires to burn up at a 6 hour open drift event and I still drive home one the tires I drifted with.
    There are good Miata pricing out there. You just have to look for them and save up for that one chance to get a good running Miata. I started drifting mine since the beginning of this year with over 200K miles on it. I just keep the fluids changed and replaced the OE radiator since then. Drift tax on a Miata has not hit yet here in the Phoenix area. In all fairness to this article, The fact that the miata did not make this list keeps the prices down too. With all the gay and hair dresser jokes about Miatas, that helps keep demand down as well. If you can’t find a beater cheap Miata that runs great, you are not looking hard enough.

  16. David Curtis says:

    Thanks wrecked. Now everyone will have an e36 and I won’t be special anymore.

    -sincerely an e36 drifter

  17. otis says:

    Yes,everyone buy those and save the s chassis for me

  18. Kirby says:

    What about older volvos? Specifically the 240, 740, and 940s. You can put any motor that you want to under the hood of those things, or even better, you can build the block to push 25 lbs of boost and make a max of 550 and thats without doing internals. You can get them for under 1,000 almost anywhere and the motors are bulletproof. The aftermarket motor parts are mainly made by IPD and are top notch in my oppnion. Look into them before you blow thousands of dollars on a bmw, lexus, mazda, or nissan.

  19. rotarypower says:

    @brian good call on volvo i love that car definitely flying under the radar

  20. Johannes says:

    What about IS300’s? Miata’s are really missing on that list. Parts are really cheap and it’s good to get into that sport.

  21. Derek Losano says:

    Wait where are these junkyards with 1000000 SCs in it? Good god please tell me because I rape everyone I find for spare parts lol. So hard to find them in yards.

  22. Pokrop says:

    I recommend polish forum (cheap drift in english). build dirt cheap bmw e30s and e36s. In Poland you can buy drift ready e36 for +/- 5000 pln (around 1500 usd). You will pay next 3k pln (1000 usd) for little repairs and preparation and done, you have drift bimmer.

  23. Tomfoolery says:

    Awesome! Now instead of overpriced 240s we’ll have overpriced everything! You get to pay drift tax! You get to pay drift tax! Everybody gets to pay drift tax!!!! /oprahvoice

  24. kipp says:

    Uhm pretty sure the sc300 already come with a 2jz 5 speed which was pretty much the only difference between the sc300 vs the sc400. sc400 came 1uz-fe v8

  25. ziptied mafia says:

    Score for the cressida just watch you will see that the mx chassis is great new parts coming out every year for them it seems and out of the box it’s the simplest to make it a manual

  26. Cody says:

    SC300s already have a 2j, just a NA version. Instead of swapping the engine, you could build the engine in it and turbo it. the SC400 has a 1uzfe v8 so it might be a better option.

  27. Seth says:

    shhh don’t give away the cressida secret

  28. wien says:

    190e would be a fun cheap project drift car too

  29. Doozer says:

    @8bit don’t encourage the straight pipe exhaust. If another uncorked buzzy miata shows up at firebird I may lose it lol

    e36/e36 is a great choice. Base chassis is cheap ($2k with a manual), and m3 parts are awesome OEM upgrades.

    Awesome post, seeing fields of 240s at drift events makes me want to die. Nothing screams individuality like a 240

  30. Mike Peters says:


  31. I always have a S14 or 350Z start chassis for sale.

  32. ASD Motorsports says:

    Fox body drift parts are coming. Purposely reorganized my schedule so there is time for this and also an all new ASD Mob program.
    Been too busy to do the cool shit that is needed. About to change that. Back to the roots.

    – Ian.

  33. Anthony McQueen 87 says:

    S13s are just great vehicles all around and parts are more than plentiful. But I can see if the drifting community wants to see different vehicles out there tearing it up. Understandable but I prefer the S13 or the Ae86 personally the drivers car that teaches the driver to drive with very little HP. The Scs are a decent choice as well strong frames and can get upgrades relatively cheap unless you do swaps into the obvious Ls motors. Put something different into the car like a Ford motor instead parts are plentiful as well thats what I did instead of a LS series motor I put a 302 Boss engine in my S13. Purrs like a kitten with upgrades of course.

  34. EvanFitch says:

    Does anyone else feel like an article like this does nothing to lessen 240sx prices and only stands to raise prices on the other cars.

    p.s. Not posting the FC3S RX7 is a huge miss.

  35. 209kid says:

    Just picked up a mx83 for 200 bucks last week. Project in the works