Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fond Memories: 1984 Datsun Stanza

The year was 2001. The place; a bit outside of Raleigh, North Carolina. My buddy Steve and I pulled a free 1983 Stanza from some guy's wood pile and got stung by yellow jackets trying to get it out. We got it running on a Carter YF carburetor from my AMC Javelin using a manifold adapter made from a 2x4 block and nails. As you may guess, we started a large field on fire during a drought and hydro-locked the CA18 motor on Mountain Dew trying to extinguish the flames which were dripping from the manifold. Then we rolled it. Find this piece of my adolescence, a 1984 Datsun Stanza, for sale in Seattle, WA for $1,590 via craigslist.

Once a completely disposable car, the first generation Stanza now starts to hold some appeal again due to rarity via attrition. Furthermore, everything new is even more boring. The legendary Japanese build quality and ample area for sleeping or whatever else make this product of the transitional Nissan-Datsun era timeless.

An optimistically placed anti-theft boot adorns the otherwise perfect interior of this Stanza. The velour seats seem to have held up quite well over 130+ thousand miles of use and the ubiquitous 80's Japanese dash - seemingly shared between all makes - is miraculously un-cracked from the sun and careless passengers' feet placement.

Folding seats are one way to make an otherwise incredibly mind-numbing vehicle interesting. The possibility of making junkyard runs and perhaps living out of it on an emergency basis add some utility to the otherwise bleak interior. 

See another Japanese car that you only slightly have to convince yourself is a classic? email us here:

Matt, a self-proclaimed bottom-feeder of the classic car market, spends half of his time buying cars, half of his time retrieving them, and the remaining third on keeping them on the road.


  1. Nice find Matt. Reminds me of my front-drive '86 Subaru GL-10 wagon. Same basic shape, same color pallete, same velour, similar dash. I scrapped it over 10 years ago but would like to someday find a 4WD Turbo version of the Leone/GL to futz around with.

    Don't get me started on passengers putting their feet on the dash. Not only is it extremely tacky, it's also quite dangerous. I had a co-worker who used to be an accident reconstruction expert in a previous career. He told me stories about what happens to the human body when it folds completely in half under the extreme g's of a frontal collision. Since then I've enforced an anti-ottomanic policy in my vehicles.

    1. Your buddy is correct. I have had several cases where this was an issue. Same problem with people and their feet hanging out the window. Never ends well.

      Most people never think about not only the g forces but rotational rigidity and your spine. Seat belts are designed for frontal crashes and when you are already twisted, well, physics and torque ain't kind.

    2. I like those old Subies, especially the mid-80's ones with the single headlights.

      My girlfriend in high school single handedly (well, double footedly I guess) destroyed the dash of my AE82 Corolla.


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