Home » The Pathetic ‘Pintara’ And A Minivan Called The ‘Prairie’: A Look At The Strange Nissans I Saw In An Australian Junkyard

The Pathetic ‘Pintara’ And A Minivan Called The ‘Prairie’: A Look At The Strange Nissans I Saw In An Australian Junkyard

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Holden and Ford are thought of as the two big Australian car companies. Despite sticking it out until the bitter end of local manufacturing in 2017, Toyota never really got put in the same category, nor did Mitsubishi. Even fewer people remember that Nissan used to build cars in Australia, and yet, on my latest junkyard tour, I came face to face with those long-forgotten Japanese cars built in Australia.

As with my previous junkyard visits, I’m at a local pick- a-part yard which mostly deals in common commuter vehicles. You pretty much get scrap value for selling a car to a place like this. That means more desirable vehicles tend to end up elsewhere, while this yard serves as a good cross-section of everyday vehicles from the last 30 years or so, plus the occasional older outlier.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

You might think that with Nissan being a global brand, you’ve already seen everything that it has to offer. And yet, the Australian Nissan range has varied quite distinctly from what was sold in North America over the years. Let’s dive in!

Japanese Cars & Local Stars

You wanna know the headline model that Australia got that America didn’t? It was the Nissan Pulsar!

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In the 1980s, America got the Nissan Sentra, which was known in Japan as the Nissan Sunny. It was the first front-wheel-drive model in the Sunny lineup, and served as a compact sedan, hatch and wagon for the US market. Filling a similar market role in Australia, the Pulsar was available as a hatchback and sedan. The model line is originally linked back to the Datsun Cherry.

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The models in question most prevalent in this junkyard were the N13 Pulsars. While the model was built in Japan for several markets, it was also built in Australia from 1987 to 1991.  These models were also rebadged and sold as the Holden Astra as part of Australia’s well-known Button Car Plan.

The Australian cars actually differed a little from their overseas siblings. The five-door hatches had different rear quarter panels and the doors were slightly modified, too. The engines were different, too, with Nissan instead fitting the cars with the GM Family II engine.

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The 1.8L and 1.6L Family II engines.

The N13 Pulsars could be had with the carbureted 16LF, a 1.6-liter engine, good for 75 horsepower and 92 pound-feet of torque. Alternatively, spendier customers could option the 1.8-liter 18LE, which came with multipoint fuel injection. That bumped power up to 106 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque—quite the jump over the base model. There was also a Special Vehicles Division (SVD) model which came in a higher state of tune, offering  113 horsepower and 119 pound-feet of torque for those wanting the quickest stock Pulsar available. I found examples of both 16LF and 18LE engines in the yard.

Also of note was the Pulsar Vector. In Australia, this was based on the Nissan Langley, which was basically an upmarket sedan version of the JDM Pulsar. It got a sporty taillight treatment and angular good looks.

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The Pulsar Vector.

Hilariously, though, the version I found here had been given a DIY ute conversion with a daring yellow-and-black paint job. Plenty of artificial grass was used on the body, too, which I assume helped cover some ugly weld and cut lines. Overall though, it looked fun as hell and I’d love to have seen it out on the road.

What was great about Nissan in this era is that it wasn’t afraid of a bit of color. Bright blue and bright yellow were common sights on the Pulsar, with bright red popular on the Holden Astra models. Later imported Pulsars continued the trend, with the junkyard featuring a lovely red N14 model from the early 90s, too.

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N14 and N15 generation Pulsars.

Nissan would ultimately stick with the Pulsar through the N14 and N15 generations. It then applied the Pulsar name to the Bluebird Sylphy from 2000 until 2005 or so, which was known as the N16 model. At that point, Nissan’s global headquarters pushed its operations all over the globe to sell the Tiida, using the same name worldwide. This rankled with the Australian arm, which wanted to stick with the Pulsar name. Research showed that Pulsar was one of the most trusted nameplates in the country. Head office forced the Australian arm to go with the Tiida name regardless. Nissan would sell the Tiida in Australia until 2013, with the C13 Pulsar eventually replacing it in 2012 for a few more years before disappearing in 2017.

The Cherished Skyline

Once upon a time, Nissan built Skylines in Australia. The plant in Clayton, Victoria was charged with building the R31 Skyline from 1986, fitted with the venerable RB30 engine. Good for 153 horsepower in basic trim, it could make up to 187 horsepower in the special Silhouette models. That engine also starred in the Holden Commodore VL.

Local production also spawned the Pintara, a nameplate unique to Australia. It first showed up in 1986, applied to four-cylinder models of the R31 Nissan Skyline. These cars were locally built at Nissan’s Clayton plant. Instead of the RB30E, the Pintara featured the CA20E engine, with just 105 horsepower on tap.

The idea of the Pintara was to give Australians a replacement for the outgoing Bluebird. The Bluebird sedan and wagon had gone front-wheel-drive in the mid-1980s. Nissan didn’t expect these to sell well in the Australian market at the time, but it still wanted a four-cylinder sedan and wagon. Hence, the R31 Pintara.

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However, you almost certainly won’t find an R31 Skyline or Pintara in a junkyard like this anymore. Rear-wheel-drive and vague notions of their applicability as drift cars means they’re too popular and thus too valuable. So why am I going on about these cars that I didn’t see? It’s because I had to fill in the backstory!

You see, I did spot a Pintara, only it wasn’t an R31. Instead, it was the lowly U12 model—an Australian-built version of the U12 Bluebird from Japan. It was sold as a sedan and an ugly hatchback and was built in Clayton from 1989 to 1992. The so-called “Superhatch” was sold as the Bluebird Aussie in Japan. It allegedly sold with a fluffy koala and an Australian flag on the dash. It was available with a 2.0-liter CA20E engine with 111 horsepower, with higher trims getting a KA24E good for 129 horsepower.

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“Boo! Hiss!”

The second-generation Pintara was poorly regarded. Low sales saw Nissan Australia give up on its local factory and switch to an import-only business from 1992 onwards.

The nameplate hasn’t been missed, much like the Toyota Paseo or Holden Camira. I believe I will never live to see the day that Nissan builds another Pintara.

Nissan Bluebird 1991 Wallpapers 3
The Bluebird Aussie had a flag sticker on the dash, just under the clock.

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Yes – it really came with a fluffy kangaroo. Ask Adrian to tell you what’s wrong with the lines on this thing.

Birds of Blue

The Bluebird did keep showing up in Australia for some time, though. The U13 model was imported and sold from 1993 to 1997. You’d see them around the place in the 1990s and early 2000s, but they weren’t hugely popular.

Australians would typically either go for a full-size Commodore or Falcon if they wanted a sedan, or they’d look for a hatchback if they wanted something smaller. If they were willing to make do with front-wheel-drive, they’d go for the Toyota Camry or Mitsubishi Magna. In the 1990s, there were an embarrassing number of good sedans on the market. The Bluebird just didn’t offer anything special to win hearts.

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A car for Grampa.

Nissan tried to make it work by packing the cars with equipment across the range. Climate control, airbags, and sunroofs abounded, along with heads-up displays and lashings of woodgrain, but it wasn’t enough to make a difference. Hilariously, the SSS model might have sounded the sportiest of the lineup, but it didn’t have any additional power. All models had a KA24DE under the hood with 150 hp on tap.

It was much the same story for the Nissan Maxima that came later. Nissan tried to position the sedan as an upmarket option with leather interiors and bells and whistles. Ultimately, it was up against luxury versions of the Falcon and Commodore, the tastier Camrys, and the Mitsubishi Verada. Nissan wasn’t seen as a luxury brand, either, so buyers looking for that kind of thing would more likely head over to BMW, Mercedes, or Lexus, paying a premium for the pleasure.

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Me cringing at the Maxima’s failure to connect with Australians.

Several Maximas I checked out had climate control and surprisingly nice interiors, as seen in my video tour above.

It’s funny to see these cars in the junkyard. You’ll rarely see Falcons, Commodores, or Camrys with climate control or sunroofs in a place like this. The nicer trims are mostly outnumbered by the bargain basement versions. In contrast, cars like the Maxima were mostly sold with a higher level of equipment as a point of difference. If you find one in the yard, it’s probably going to be nicely specced. It’s much the same for Euro imports, too.

Other Charms

The X-Trail is another Nissan that may be unfamiliar to the American audience. It hit the market in the late 1990s as a boxy fun-loving SUV. They’ve lasted pretty well, but a few are starting to turn up in the yards as their odometers crest the double ton.  The U.S. would eventually get an X-Trail, but not until the third generation—and over in Yankland, it’s called the Rogue.

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Another rarity that I never expected to see here was the NX Coupe. This was a nimble little Nissan from the early 1990s. You’d rarely expect to see a sports coupe in the yard, as coupes are usually worth too much to see them sent here. It’s also probably the only car with an SR20 engine I’ve ever seen in this yard, albeit a non-turbo version.

Predictably, someone identified that the engine had some value, and plucked it out. Motors at this yard only cost a few hundred bucks, so someone really scored with that one.

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The NX Coupe, sans the SR20 powerplant.

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I wanna take you home.

The other notable coupe was a Datsun 120Y. These were everywhere in the 1990s, but rust claimed many, and youthful hijinx most of the rest. It was glorious to see this gorgeous 1970s design in the flesh, even if it was too far gone for someone to bother with a restoration. Still, those tail lights will probably be of great use to somebody.

Oh, and the Nissan Prairie. You didn’t see many of these around, but they were glacially slow. If you did get stuck behind one, you’d be seeing it for a while. [Ed Note: Holy crap, is this a minivan? -DT]. 

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Looking Back

As beloved as Nissan is in Australia, it’s mostly for the cars you didn’t see here. Think later Skylines, Silvias, and the 180SX. Most of these vehicles were all grey imported, though, not brought in by Nissan Australia itself. Despite its era as a local manufacturer, the company never really felt Australian, much like Toyota. The honor of being a local is really only bestowed on Holden and Ford, even despite their strong American connections.

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It’s fun to imagine an alternate universe where Nissan stuck around in Australia. It’s also enjoyable to look back at an era when sedans ruled and the SUV was yet to dominate all. How times change.

Image credits: Lewin Day

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Sledgehammer
Sledgehammer
28 days ago

From 86 to 92 the tarrif protecting local manufacture approximately halved from 20 to 10% and Nissan knew it was coming (and kept dropping and dropping). That combined the German imports being much more competitive like the 3series and Jetta (which they did globally) killed them off. They made them until they were uncompetitive.

Used to be a swb black maverick with gold wheels near me growing up. Looked ace.

Lack of snow in Australia always hurt the fwd sales. That and towing. The wedge magna was everywhere back in the day but seemed to vanish overnight. Sigma and magna big Camry competitor but not really cross shopped with the bigger Holden and ford.

Loudsx .
Loudsx .
28 days ago

I had a U13 bluebird back in the day, fitted with semi slicks and the full range of whiteline suspension. it was a little autocross beast.

kinda miss it, but replaced with a S14a 200SX so life moved a little faster.

Prizm GSi
Prizm GSi
28 days ago

You’re nuts. That Superhatch is amazing.

Prizm GSi
Prizm GSi
27 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

I think I’m overcoming my rejection of a RHD car because of all the interesting cheap tin I’m seeing on Japanese auction sites. But yeah, that Aussie definitely intrigues me. But I think the Geo Prizm hatchback is super sexy, so I’m weird like that.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
28 days ago

I always thought it interesting that the U12 did poorly in multiple markets, with an unusually short 3 model year run as the Stanza here.

Does that Prairie have sealed beam headlights? Odd seeing that given they had composite lights in the US.

I also thought Nissan should have sold that last Pulsar hatch in the US as it was around the time of a small hatch resurgence in the 2010s: Mazda had long done well with the 3, all the hype around the Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks (pre-Powershift), Auris came to Scion/Toyota showrooms, Chevy had the Sonic and later added a Cruze hatch, etc. At the least I imagine it might have done well in Canada, where more than a couple Nissans were for Canadian consumption only (that X-Trail, Micra, extra years of the gen 2 Prairie/Axxess).

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
28 days ago

I had a N13 Holden Astra SL/E. Bought it off my stepmother who bought it new but couldn’t make the repayments. So I paid out the loan and got a bargain first car. The combination of the Family II engine, an automatic gearbox, Nissan electronics and Holden’s utter disdain for the car meant that, despite my best efforts, it really only lasted six years from new before trying to find ways to economically end itself. Some months after I offloaded it, I saw it ‘parked’ in a breakdown bay on the Great Western Freeway…

Dávid Tóth
Dávid Tóth
28 days ago

I have an N15, though in Europe it was called Almera. Boring, utterly reliable, but its suspension is really good.

V8 Fairmont Longroof
V8 Fairmont Longroof
28 days ago

Parent’s friends bought a Prairie new – was instantly named the Prairie Dog surprisingly…  One wonderful feature I recall was the petrol cap, (I’m not joining Lewin with his Americanisms), being behind the right hand rear door, which slid open. You can guess what happened quite regularly at the bowser!

Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
28 days ago

A slight correction on the R31 Skyline Silhouette – it was a basically a sports trim/bodykit/paint/wheels package with a standard RB30 engine – the uprated engine output was in the Silhouette GTS, which was a limited edition model built by Nissan’s Special Vehicles Division, and got more bodykit. bigger wheels and brakes and a bunch of suspension stuff as well as the engine mods.
Confusingly, they built 200 white GTS 1 cars in 1988 based on the Series 2 R31 Skyline, then 200 red GTS 2 cars based on the Series 3!
I had a lot of earlier Nissan stuff, from a Datsun 1000 wagon (with ‘big-block’ A12 swap!), a whole bunch of Datsun 610s (1600s), many 610s (180Bs) including an FJ20ET powered one and a Leyland V8 powered one, with the most modern one a Series II Bluebird TRX (910 series) with the weird vacuum fluorescent bar graph gauge cluster.
I met someone who worked at the Clayton assembly plant in the 70s, and he was often taken to the port in a bus with a bunch of other workers to drive the imported models from the port to Clayton, rather than them being trucked. The top trim levels of various models were apparently assembled in Japan rather than locally, and according to him for some reason they were forbidden from using the clutch on manual models during the drive, and it was usually done in the middle of the night when roads were empty.
As the Nissan R32 GTR became the current race model, the Nissan Motorsport workshop in Melbourne held a ‘garage sale’ to clear unwanted spare race engines and parts – being particularly broke at the time it was painful to see them advertise unused but dyno-tested full race engines for the Bluebirds and DR30 Skylines that preceded the GTRs, for a mere $600 each! About $1000-1200 at the time would have bought a whole race drivetrain from engine and turbo, gearbox, IRS conversion and race LSD!

Loudsx .
Loudsx .
28 days ago
Reply to  Morgan Thomas

I came across one of the GTS 1’s out actually being driven a few weeks ago still a great looking car.

Ron888
Ron888
28 days ago

This brings back a few memories!
I distinctly remember nissans using cheap metallic paints in the early eighties.It was kind of odd even then.They were giving you the nice paint free but you knew it could be so much better with a clearcoat.
I remember the Prairie! IIRC it was much loved by bigger families.I think it was the only car available with such seating capacity.

Weren’t the Skylines and Pintaras of the late eighties weird?Solidly good cars but the slab sided shapes and horrible advertising dragged them down.

While i’m here i cant not praise the 2.4 liter engine in the Corsair.Everyone i know who drove it loved it.
It did nothing outrageous, just a deceptively strong midrange that had you breaking the speed limit in places you didn’t expect.

And OMG the tiida.What a abortion of a disaster that was.From the most popular entry level car to the least in one go.
I must admit this kind of shit annoys me.They KNEW the new car was ugly but somehow everyone from board of directors to designers let it go ahead.WTF??

Widgetsltd
Widgetsltd
29 days ago

It’s a good thing the car was called the X-Trail rather than the N-Trail. Right?

Ron888
Ron888
27 days ago
Reply to  Widgetsltd

Great! Now i have a witty insult if my x-trail owner friend starts up

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
29 days ago

Still can’t believe that Nissan self-sabotaged the Pulsar nameplate with the garbage name that is Tiida. Made no sense at the time, still makes no sense now.

Ron888
Ron888
29 days ago
Reply to  Rod Millington

Not only that,the tiida has a hideously awkward shape.It wouldnt surprise me if they hold some kind of record for loss of market share

SK2807
SK2807
29 days ago

Don’t forget that the CA20e in the U12 was a twin spark engine, eight of them in a four cylinder boat anchor engine which neither improved fuel economy or performance. I did put a CA20e into a Morris Minor many years ago though, it was a hilarious nose heavy thing but it was quite quick.

And they managed to rebadge the U12 as a UA Ford Corsair in Australia and sell almost none of them.

Ron888
Ron888
29 days ago
Reply to  SK2807

I remember a friend complaining about them charging him twice for spark plugs XD

Did you ever drive the 2.4L corsair?That motor is surprisingly good. Everyone i know who drove one loved it.

SK2807
SK2807
28 days ago
Reply to  Ron888

Yeah, the KA24e was a pretty good thing, especially if you had the 5 speed manual behind it. Not sure if you could get a manual/KA combo in the Corsair Ghia (Corsair GL was CA20e powered only), but I did meddle with some manual/KA Pintara’s back in the day when they were cheap and not hard to find.

Neomancer Nz
Neomancer Nz
29 days ago

I find these stories fascinating for a different reason. Growing up in NZ, “just across the ditch” you’d think the cars would be the same, but there are quite a few I don’t know. Then some are super familiar, like the Pulsar and Bluebird. I always wanted a Bluebird SSS, I was this old when I learnt they didn’t have more power..

My mum’s first car was a Datsun 120Y, I’d love to get one of those, or the Mark II Escort she had after that.

Last edited 29 days ago by Neomancer Nz
Gashlycrumb
Gashlycrumb
28 days ago
Reply to  Neomancer Nz

This is another odd quirk between the NZ market and AU market Nissans. The NZ Bluebird sedans were Japanese models so the U12 SSS we got came with a Twin Cam Turbo 1.8l engine. We also got the SSS-X as a grey import which came with Atessa Awd.

The wagon versions were AU market Pintaras but badged as Bluebirds, so didn’t come with the better engines.

Neomancer Nz
Neomancer Nz
28 days ago
Reply to  Gashlycrumb

Ah, that makes more sense. So I was right to lust after that black SSS after all. $3k at an auction, more than I could afford sadly.

Neomancer Nz
Neomancer Nz
27 days ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

Yeah, our car market was super weird for a while, with a combination on the road of the locally sold Aussie market cars, and a ton of direct imports from Japan. I was back home over summer (southern hemisphere) and didn’t recognise half the cars on the road cos they were Chinese. And thetop selling car is the Toyota Aqua, taking over from the Mazda Demio.

Ricardo
Ricardo
29 days ago

Great article Lewin and great spotting some very rare Nissan indeed. NX coupe? I wanted an NX-R in my day. Nissan in Australia never had significant market share like Holden and Ford but they had their fans, and their successes in Australia. Value for money was always their core offering and a few hero cars over the years never hurt either. Certainly, in my circles the Nissan Pulsar Turbo and Exa Turbo of the 80s and early 90s were obtainable and (mostly) insurable cars.

You will remember that in the late 80s and early 90s the Skyline GTRs dominating our local Touring Car races to the point of being banned through rules changes. Those GTRs had been enhanced and developed with some Australian know how to produce more horsepower than the Japanese GTR race cars were making. Nice article here explaining how all that came about. https://www.whichcar.com.au/features/aussie-legends-group-a-r32-skyline-gt-r

Nissan Australia still has a casting factory in Dandenong, Melbourne which is still very much alive and healthy. It provides high quality but low production run castings and other niche parts into the Nissan production machine. Some state government money to keep the plant open never hurts either. Should we be proud to be providing parts for the Nissan Leaf? Not so sure.

Love that you got a pic of a 120y in your article. These things refused to die for lack of maintenance but couldn’t avoid rust eating them away.  Link attached of what someone did to a 120 by fitted a turbo V6 under the bonnet in regional Australia. https://www.streetmachine.com.au/features/ultimate-sleeper-11-second-datsun-120y-turbo-v6

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
29 days ago

> You wanna know the headline model that Australia got that America didn’t? It was the Nissan Pulsar!

Whut. We did get the pulsar, for a while. The one with the removable sport back shell.

SK2807
SK2807
29 days ago

The Pulsar NX you are talking about was built and known as the Nissan EXA worldwide while Nissan also made and sold a different car known as the Nissan Pulsar at the same time. The Pulsar name for the EXA was a North American thing only and was not the “Pulsar” that the rest of the world got.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
29 days ago
Reply to  SK2807

Gotcha

AlterId
AlterId
29 days ago
Reply to  SK2807

We had a previous-generation Pulsar as well – a close-coupled, angular notchback 2+2.

Last edited 29 days ago by AlterId
Chris Lewis
Chris Lewis
29 days ago

I’ve often remarked on how unusual it was that Mitsubishi wasn’t considered as ‘Australian’ as Chrysler, despite designing and building cars in Australia at the exact same facilities with the same workforce. I’d like to say it wasn’t because of racism, but I can’t think of another way to finish this sentence.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
29 days ago
Reply to  Chris Lewis

Racism in Australia? Never! I jest.

It is strange they weren’t considered as “Australian” but I wonder if it may have been a generational thing – WWII veterans were still very much around and buying cars when Mitsubishi took over. Also super weird – weren’t Sigmas badged as both Chryslers and Mitsubishi’s for a short period?

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
28 days ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

They were in the first year or two. My dad had a Sigma Scorpion with the Mitsubishi by Chrysler badge…

SpookedMoose
SpookedMoose
28 days ago
Reply to  PajeroPilot

What’s also super niche is that (because of market protectionism) Mitsubishi cars were restricted in the UK, so we got Lonsdale cars (1600 and 2000 if i remember correctly) that were effectively Mitsubishi Sigmas, but made in Australia and rebadged and circumnavigated the Japan import controls.

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
28 days ago
Reply to  SpookedMoose

Lonsdale? Well there you go. That was the name of the suburb where the Chrysler/Mitsubishi engine plant was. Building’s still there, it’s now a recycling plant. No doubt it’s shredding old Sigmas and Magnas these days!

Captain Zoll
Captain Zoll
28 days ago
Reply to  Chris Lewis

I think it largely comes down to the prestige of the car itself.
Most people probably didn’t think of Telstars or Cruzes as all that “Australian”, that was reserved for the big flagship RWD cars.

From what I’ve observed, a large amount of fans follow Holden, Ford and Chrysler more as if they’re sports teams than car manufacturers.

I think if Mitsubishi had managed to keep the RWD layout around on the Sigma/Magna, and maintain some kind of motorsports presence, people would froth over VR-Xs and Ralliarts today just as much as they do over a VT SS.

Dangerous_Daveo
Dangerous_Daveo
29 days ago

Well, that is all my mates, and my cars from our youth.

Space
Space
29 days ago

Sometimes I’m surprised Nissan is still holding on the way they are in the US. Years ago I remember seeing way more Nissan sedans and the Titan was certainly the topic on the tip of many tongues. Now Nissan just seems like an afterthought.

Alec Harvey
Alec Harvey
29 days ago
Reply to  Space

Sounds like Nissan in the USA is similar to Honda in Australia. Wouldn’t suprise if Honda exits the Australian market at some point. They are just way too expensive compared to every other mainstrem brand, and they don’t have an offering in the vital dual cab truck space.

Alexander Moore
Alexander Moore
28 days ago
Reply to  Space

Huh? Altimas and Sentras tear up the roads down here and almost every new CUV is a Rogue. Versas are out in droves and I even see the occasional Murano or two. Nissan is very content selling as many CVT-mobiles as they to Americans, at least as far as I can see.

Space
Space
28 days ago

After reflecting on it I may have mistaken what I see I’m my local area as reflective of a wider trend. I see loads of slightly older Nissans but nowhere as many newer ones which can somewhat be explained by how far away the nearest Nissan dealer is (far)

Alec Harvey
Alec Harvey
29 days ago

The Prairie and Diesel Serena have got to be some of the slowest vehicles Nissan ever produced.

FYI the U12 Pintara TRX model had a KA24DE

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
29 days ago

“The engines were different, too, with Nissan instead fitting the cars with the GM Family II engine.” What a way to f*** up a perfectly good Pulsar!

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that yellow Vector “Ute” is a Shitbox Rally veteran. The astroturf “bed” edges are the red flag for me.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
29 days ago

[Ed Note: Holy crap, is this a minivan? -DT]. 

Sure is. As someone who test drove a used 80s Nissan Stanza Wagon (the Prairie), it’s a compact minivan. Probably a little bigger than the Mitsubishi Expo, which was a 4 door hatch with a sliding door. The Prairie/Stanza Wagon had sliding doors and a rear hatch, which qualifies it as a minivan.

Although I own a 2015 Nissan Quest now, I wish I bought that AWD mini-minivan.

Marc Fuhrman
Marc Fuhrman
29 days ago

Even cooler is the Prairie didn’t have any B pillar, allowing tons of access to the inside (at the expense of side crash protection).
https://petrolblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Nissan-Prairie-sliding-doors.jpg
And the front seats were able to fold down flat, turning them into a bed. Pretty neat little cars.
https://img.retro-rides.org/i/v/lukeevangelou/7f8cf8233831.jpg

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
28 days ago
Reply to  Marc Fuhrman

The original design also had a rear gate which included the bumper. All of this sheetmetal on top of a Sunny/Sentra platform, and with giant openings everywhere made for an extremely flexible (good and bad) shell. Nissan had to reinforce it significantly and provide a proper rear bumper after two years.

Jimmy7
Jimmy7
28 days ago

The Stanza wagon! Followed up in the States by the even more obscure Axxess!
I owned a Stanza wagon. They eventually were hard to keep on the road here in California because of the pre EFI emissions (vacuum lines everywhere) and when my mechanic refused to work on it I let it go to a new home. Pretty industrial…seemed like a delivery van that had been re-purposed by the marketing folks to get a minivan to market. Handy as heck, though!

Last edited 28 days ago by Jimmy7
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