Friday, February 12, 2016

Right In The Kisser: 1989 Nissan Pao

In the late 1980s Nissan released a series of retro-styled vehicles for the Japanese market built on what is called the Pike platform with design by Naoki Sakai who was noted for bringing retro styling to Olympus brand cameras.  The limited production retro-minis included Be-1, K10-Micra, Pao, Figaro and snail styled S-Cargo.  Regrettably, Nissan did not export any of these little oddballs into the USA, but you can find examples that have migrated here over the years.  Find this 1989 Nissan Pao offered for $10,000 in NYC via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.

This Pao features the "desirable(?)" canvas-top textile sunroof, an olive paint job (a recent respray), and a set of sweet yellow amber fog lights.  The Pao has a definite 60s vibe to it, but what really sells the design are the cool little touches like external door hinges, rear 2CVesque flap-up windows, and a split rear tailgate.

On the inside you've got more retro-styled classic junk -- a small functional painted dash with minimal dash cap.  The Pao is equipped with a 3-speed automatic transmission mated to the 1.0 liter MA10S Nissan inline-4, good for 52 horsepower and 55 ft-lbs of torque.  Performance will be on par with a 60s city car, but the fuel economy should be great. 

See another Pike peeking through the junk on craigslist?


  1. Shame about the automatic, in such a small car. Were these available with a manual gearbox?

    1. I just answered my own question: yes, these could be had with a 5-spd. It is a 1-litre Micra power train, not a Kei-car set up.

  2. I love it. I'm thinking bike engine/manual box and some more suitable wheels. Maybe too much bamboo themed luggage strapped to the top (with a leather strap of course)

  3. These things were retro cool way before Chrysler ran with the theme (though much watered down) in the Crossfire and PT Cruiser. At least the Figaro and this Pao had more ornate details. Looking inside, they are true to the period they emulate. I think I would stick with the slush box if I had to drive from the right.


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