What is the differences between a Nissan S14 240sx Zenki and a Kouki ?

Zenki and Kouki, the Quick Answer illustrated

The difference between Zenki and Kouki can be seen when looking the front of the Nissan 240 sx car also called Silvia S14.

The picture below may help you to see the difference with the headlamps and curves on the hood :

  • rounded headlights and shape on the Zenki
  • the Kouki features sharper, aggressive headlights.

zenki vs kouki on the s14 nissan silvia 240sx

When you enter the world of drift-cars enthusiasts, Japanese words "Zenki" and "Kouki" may arrive in your ears. If you don't speak Japanese, you may ask yourself what is the meaning of theses.

kouki nissan silvia 240sx drawing

A Quick Japanese lesson :

I don't speak Japanese, but I've searched the translation for these words for you :

  • Zenki is for "zenki-gata" : prior period.
  • Kouki is for "Kouki-gata" : later period.

 japanese car nissan silvia

 Basically, it's an automotive term to distinguish cars before and after the car facelift also called the mid-generational refresh. (fixing minor bugs and boosting performances).

This term is used for Japanese cars but isn't used for other countries. You never heard about the New Beetle Kouki or a Zenki Newby !.


nissan silvia detail drawing print


The other names for Zenki and Kouki

The Nissan Silvia S14 can get a different name depending where you live.

The Zenki is called S14 and is also known as

  • Nissan 200SX in Europe, NZ and Australia.
  • Silvia or 200SX in Japan
  • 240SX in North America

The Kouki is know as the S14a is also know as 200SX and 240SX.

The S14 Zenki comes with different engines

The S14 Zenki is equipped with different engines. In Japan, You can get the SR20DE engine or the more powerfull SR20DET in two color version : "Red Top" or "Black Top" ( color of the top engine). Fr the US market, you have only one engine : the KA24DE.

zenki red top black top sr20det

Is an engine swap between Zenki and Kouki

Shit happens sometimes and the more you drift, the more you have chances to break your car : It could be just the front bumper or may be worst and you have to change the engine.

If the differences between kouki and zenki are just aesthetic, this should be easy then ?

damaged zenki reparation project

So you think a Zenki and a Kouki are the same, well, it's not exactly the case if you plan to do an engine swap for a car restoration.

zenki kouki engine swap challenge

Like many drift car enthusiasts, you will have to gather all your pay-checks and spare time to go for an engine swap, with the very tricky moments like :

  • the wiring challenge : very few compatibilities between a Zenki and a Kouki.
  • fitting the engine and exhaust pipes : it doesnt fit exactly and will need some adjustement
  • The connexions : parts are really hard to find now and you will only get JDM parts or other countries with different connexions. good Luck

The Nissan 240sx, a Blue Bird called "Silvia"

Nissan Sylvia blue bird from JapanThe Nissan 240SX is a sports car, build between 1989 and 1999. This car is called Silvia in Japan (a small blue bird in Japan).

From 1989 to 1995, the Car was an S13 model (S stands for Silvia) and (13 stands for the Mark model ), From 1995 to 1999, The Car was an S14 model which is called Nissan 240sx outside Japan (this is not 100% true for purist)

This is a very famous car in the drifting world, a "must-have !", gained in popularity and got praised by drifters people. they suddenly started to speak Japanese.

If Nissan wasn't Japanese?

Just for fun, imagine if Nissan was from another country, we would have a translation of the bird name and the translation of facelift ase well :

English: The Nissan "Warbler", before and after Facelift.

German : Das Nissan "Grasmücken", Vor Modellpflege / Nach Modellpflege

Spanish : El Nissan SylviaFase I /  Fase II

Polish : Nissan Jarzębatka, po lewej / po prawej

French : La Nissan Passereau, Phase 1 / Phase 2


Here it is for the story of the Kouki and Zenki, and if you want more stories about the Nissan Silvia 14S, i've done a compilation inside the Silvia drawing below. Explanations are here.

nissan silvia s14 print


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