Saturday, March 9, 2019

1989 Nissan Pao vs 1991 Nissan Figaro

What are the chances? Two of Nissan's sweet retrotastic "Pike" cars for sale at the same time.  Most people have never heard of oddball classics, much less seen one in the wild and here is your chance to buy two of them for less than a new Accord.  Now you get to pick the one you like better.  First up is this 1989 Nissan Pao offered for $14,800 in Gardena, CA via craigslist. Tip from Rock On!

From the seller:
Condition: Good
Year: 1989
Make: Nissan
Model: Pao
VIN#: PK10-0017469
Exterior: Orange
Interior: Gray 
Fuel Type: Gasoline
4 Passengers
Mileage: 129800km(81125mile)
Drive Train: FF
Drive Side: Right-hand drive(RHD)
L4 1000cc


Next up is this 1991 Nissan Figaro offered for $9995 in Naples, FL via craigslist. Tip from Dascpcu.  

From the seller:
1991 Nissan Figaro 
condition: good 
cylinders: 4 cylinders 
drive: rwd 
fuel: gas 
paint color: brown 
size: compact 
title status: clean 
transmission: automatic 
type: convertible 
1991 Nissan Figaro just imported from Japan. Decent body with only a few minor bubbles at the rear trunk, nice paint in the original Topaz Mist color. 1 L turbo motor runs well with no noises, smoking or dripping. Timing belt was redone in Japan. Automatic transmission, power windows, power steering, power brakes, shiny chrome and nice shiny bumpers. Everything mechanically works including the A/C. 4 new Yokohama tires. Currently at the auto upholstery shop where it will be getting a complete interior restoration and a new convertible top. 112,000 KM ( approx 66,000 miles ) and then the entire brake system will be replaced. Waiting on the parts delivery from the UK. The car has been tuned up, and all fluids have been flushed and refilled. The radiator and hoses have just been replaced. All the paperwork needed to register the car is included and all US import fees, taxes, duties have been paid. This car is priced below market value due to the paint imperfections.

Which way to you go -- west or east coast?


  1. Dang that's cute. Yes I said it. Would love to put a mini longboard on the roof of the orange one and head to Rincon.

  2. I like the way the Pep Boys headlight eyelids come stock on the Figaro, you almost expect one of these beaded seat covers.
    Hey is that a 58 Pontiac Starchief wagon behind it?

    Missing the what is it feature.

    1. +1 missing what is it

      I never had even the remotest idea what they were but I liked where my mind went with them, regardless.

  3. Thumbs up for both of these designs. They were done with a level of retro authenticity that has kept them looking dated from the 60s, not the 90s. It's a different approach to retro design that cars like the New Mini, PT Cruiser, and New Beetle never could achieve. I blame U.S. safety regulations for that. How much cooler would a new Mini or Beetle have been if it was just designed for the Japanese market? They'd be smaller for sure.

    Yes, please bring back the What Is It, even if it's just at random or once a month.

  4. I really like that Pao in orange. The whitewalls set it off very well. Too bad so many of these that make it over to North America are automatic. I think the drive trains came from the Nissan Micra, so mechanical parts should be easy. But US$15K seems like a lot of money for an 80,000 mile example.

  5. Both are cool looking, but I'm sure they can't get out of their own way. Are they even highway legal? What's top speed, 60? That said, I like the Pao better.

    1. Sigh..... where do people get ideas like this? These cars are based on the mechanicals from the 1.0 litre Nissan Micra, which has been available in Canada since the 1990. Top speed is in the 140 kph range (85 mph). We currently have a racing series for the Micra:

      Nissan Micra Cup

      So let's get beyond the idea that a light, moderate horsepower car is some how unsafe.....

  6. Wait, I didn't realize the Figaro is turbo. So maybe it's top speed is 65.

  7. Just to complete the set, there is an S Cargo (escargot - franchise for snail) over on UK eBay...

    I’d go for the pao in the greenish color they came in.

  8. Having owned both briefly, I'd take the Figaro all day long. Really cool art deco interior and pretty perky once the turbo spooled up. The Pao was just a big tin box.

    1. The turbo runs constantly. It doesn't "kick in".

  9. I have to agree with you on the price. That's high for even a low mileage one. The AT does make the car more sluggish. They didn't make as many 5 speed manuals so they are tougher to locate. The electric canvas tops are also more desirable.


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