Wednesday, April 15, 2015

1k: Prairie Dog: 1987 Nissan Stanza Wagon

If you are looking for a dirt cheap 7 passenger vehicle, the market seems to consist primarily of 60/70s American plus sized wagons or late model minivans with 300k miles on the odometer.  Neither of those vehicles provide particularly good fuel economy so you are obliged to wait until Tesla P85 with rear jump seats has depreciated...or are you?  What if you could get a small 7-passenger car with great fuel economy and eat your funnel cake too?  Mmmm, I love funnel cake. Find this 1987 Nissan Stanza Wagon offered for $1,500 in Boise, ID via craigslist.  Tip from FuelTruck.


The Nissan Prairie was sold in the USA as the Stanza Wagon and in Canada as the Multi, but it pure Nissan Sunny on the greasy side with powertrain from the Stanza/Violet.   The Stanza Wagon featured a strange b-pillarless design with front door that latched at the top and bottom, and a rear sliding door complete with roll down window.


This is the picture you want to see -- it looks like some bizarro world compact minivan, or something the French would have built and called Le Box.  However, the combination of wide side opening, folding rear seats, and huge rear hatch opening makes the Prairie extremely versatile for hauling all manner of oddly sized/shaped cargo.  Power comes from a 2.0 liter Nissan CA-series inline-4 pushing out 102 horsepower into a 5-speed gearbox.


See a better family hauler for the dough? Mmmm dough... tips@dailyturismo.com

17 comments:

  1. So cool to see one of these again! Were they any good? No, definitely not. But interesting and about as close as we Americans could get to the stranger side of JDM? You betcha!

    [img]http://i.imgur.com/SNmh6KV.jpg?1[/img]

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    1. I can't argue with the brilliance of the concept. They were just fantastic and probably all the car most people really need, then and now. And they were reliable. To me, after this is when things took a turn for the worse for Nissan with quality and reliability steadily falling from the high they'd worked so hard to build up to.

      But it's hard to argue with 97 hp in a top-heavy, softly-spring car that weighed over 2800 pounds (add about 200 pounds with the 4WD). One year earlier and it wasn't based on the Maxima and was a bit lighter. While I didn't own one, I'd guess that probably made a difference. Reviews at the time also indicated that braking performance was not particularly good.

      But noting all of this and if you're willing to accept the limitations (I still contend it didn't all add up very well, which is somewhat supported by the fact they they didn't last that long), these were good cars. Don't believe me? Read these.

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  2. When these came out, they provided the best accessibility for people with wheelchairs. Ironically, when Nissan re-introduced the next version, it was called the Axxess (sp); we just called them urban assault vehicles.

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    1. Ugly as hell but useful enough, I guess.

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    2. THAT was a missed marketing opportunity if there ever was one! Just imagine the sexiness of..."Wheelchair PERFECT!"

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  3. For much less than the price of an old midsized or compact pickup, you get much of the utility, and a cozy cabin. The 5-speed manual is the way to go, rev it up, and you enough power to easily keep up with traffic. I owned a manual edition while living in the Bay Area...no problem with the steep hills. These cars are total sleepers. Large cargo area, especially with all the rear seats removed (e-z peazy). I even made trips to Burning Man in Stanza. Carried my Burnbike in the cargo area on the drive from San Fran. The cargo area is large enough to sleep in, and the rest of my (dusty) things fit just fine. The Burnbike was happy to sleep under the stars :-). Reliable as any modern Nissan. I sold it to a guy that planned to travel cross country in it!

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  4. I bought one of these used in 1994. It was small on the outside, huge on the inside, surprisingly comfortable riding, good on gas, and reliable. Pretty low on the "cool factor" scale - often referred to as a "Wally Wagon" by mechanics. (My junior high age daughter at the time can attest to the uncoolness.) I had it until 2000 when a relocation made it the right time to let it go. I've never had a vehicle that got more "do you want to sell it?" comments from strangers in parking lots. It happened all the time.

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  5. The late 80's were the pinnacle of Japanese automotive experimentation. Dual sliding doors on a small wagon, all digital dashboards, turbocharging- they were all taking risks. Now they only offer different colors of beige as options. *Sigh*

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  6. Whooo hot commodity, Gone!

    And for less than half of a M3 Clutch (more evidence for K2)

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    1. Cha-ching! :-)

      Man, that's actually scary to think about...a car for the price of a clutch. Wowzers.

      Thanks, Scott (even though you're probably making fun of me and my cheapo ways a bit)!

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    2. We are here for fun right ? ; )

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    3. I'm pretty sure you just cursed me. 5 minutes ago I got a call from my wife that her Cayenne was blowing hot air with the A/C on. Looks like my weekend will be just me and my ohmmeter, taking a dash apart and going through servo motor diagnosis hell.....I'll make sure it's a cheap fix tho!

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    4. Ack! That sucks. Just leave that German car by the side of the road. I have this nice domestic or Asian car right here behind the curtain...just walk over here...

      [img]http://i.imgur.com/Xlddkxo.png[/img]

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    5. Ahhhhh....new Denso Compressor, $360.....90 minutes of my time to install, under $100 to have system recharged when finished. Life's good.

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    6. Excellent! I'm glad it wasn't anything major. A happy wife is a happy life.

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    7. What year is the Cayenne and how many miles are on it? Which variant and what has your experience with it been like?

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  7. Those crumple zone jump seats seem best suited for red-headed step-children.

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