Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Nissan Pao - S-Cargo - Figaro Conundrum

Any devoted masochist would or should gravitate towards owning an automobile not sold in his/her own country, with all the pitfalls that go with it. To that end, Jennifer has thrown down the gauntlet and declared "I Will Have a Nissan Pao - or an S-Cargo!" and with that the search began. It was with some enormous disbelief that the first search on Craigslist returned a Pao only a 20 minute drive away. Had we called last month that would've netted a S-Cargo too. What are the odds?

As I am loathe to retype the entire sordid history of these truly and refreshingly odd vehicles, let me Google that for you. I'll wait for you to get up to speed. Meanwhile, the bare minimum is that Nissan in a fit of madness/genius back in '89 released a trio of vehicles that were an homage to styles of the distant past, like creating a parallel timeline. This was well before the New Beetle, PT Cruiser or Thunderbird, and even those cars were meant to ape their former selves. Not Nissan. At any rate, here's the Pao we're considering, as seen at Montu Motors in Oldsmar, FL:

Tailgate folds down, glass hinges up, nice!


The very definition of Spartan.

It's the black sheep at Montu.
Even its stereo is retro!

While not perfect, it's certainly much, much nicer than most any American 26 year old daily driver. There's a rust spot in the spare wheel well, the pivoting vent window frames are rusting, the accordion sliding rag top refused to open and there's a crack in the fiberglass hood. Sam tells us that he'll make sure that's fixed as well as service the a/c before the sale, so there's that.

In no order of preference, here's the other cars on their sales floor. I was smitten with the '89 Prelude 4WS 2.0xx - mostly identical to the one I owned, blissfully, over a decade ago.

The apogee of affordable Honda engineering.

Those turbine wheels look better with age.

The most functional automotive cockpit ever.

My a/c was manual. This one is much nicer.

Make no bones about it: it's FOUR Wheel Steering!
Nissan Patrol fire truck. My Japanese pal Nob noted
"The livery says it belonged to the Kamikawa
City Fire Department, part of the Fukumoto Squad."

I am a long-time fan of the Honda Beat - when I lived in Japan from 99 to 00 (that doesn't look right) they were still a common sight on the road, though their numbers were waning. It seemed that there was no closer four wheeled relative to the motorcycle available and certainly not with air conditioning and a stereo. I wonder if Kitano "Beat" Takeshi had any say in its name?

Honda's legendary Beat. A truly Lilliputian roadster.

Really, really tiny kei. No better deal out there by the pound.

"Trunk" No topside engine access?

Looks like a BDSM dream. I kinda like it!