Nissan has announced that they have added a metric crapton of old press releases and photos to their newsroom archive, and it’s proving to be fantastic so far. As the proud owner of a 1990 Nissan Pao, I immediately started to scour the archive for interesting Pao stuff, and hot pickles did I find something good, which you can see above you. It’s a drawing for the concept version of the Pao, which was first shown in Tokyo in 1987. This seems to be a drawing from after the general design direction of the Pao was decided, but still relatively early in the process. It’s significantly and fascinatingly different from what the Pao became, which is why it’s so exciting.
Looking at it, you can get an idea of the rugged, almost militaristic look they wanted for the Pao, a novel mix of adventure, capability, toughness and yet, somehow, cuteness. This early drawing captures most of the basic lines and proportions of the Pao, but has significantly more aggressive off-road tires and lacks the Pao’s trade mark roof rails.
Some of the proportions are a bit different, as is the bumper design, the lack of an actual grille, and how the rear vent windows can open far wider here.
A somewhat later drawing is far closer to the production Pao:
With this drawing, we’re pretty much to the Pao shown at the auto show:
Looking at all of these, I think the most significant change is the de-emphasis on the wheels, which makes the Pao look a bit less like a military vehicle and more like a plucky hatchback that’s up for a little adventure.
I kinda like the more butch Pao, though; a 4×4 version like that, perhaps scaled up a touch in size and power would be a really exciting thing. A Paower Pao.