After seeing the real life Nissan Juke-R pace car at the 24 hour Race while bearing in mind all the mixed reactions about this car. I decided to go back in time to find out about “other controversial” cars Nissan produced and sold some 22-24 years ago:
The Nissan Pao, unveiled at the 1987 Tokyo Motor Show:
The Nissan Figaro, unveiled at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, under the slogan “Back to the Future”:
The concept goes as follows: take retro design cues and features from the 50s & 60s and re-introduce them on a first generation Nissan Micra platform. Nissan teamed up with the design house PIKE to produce the designs.
The number of vehicles produced from both cars was limited and were sold only in Japan (Figaro, 20,000 units & Pao 10,000 units ever made) the goal was to enhance Nissan’s image back in the days. These models started as concept cars, the Figaro was the more popular one yet both had such appeal that Nissan started a limited production run.
There are communities for the Pao and Figaro; most notably in the UK & Ireland and some rare imports to North America. Local clubs & organizations do what it takes to import the right hand drive Paos or Figaros, from Japan, restore them and keep them on the roads. You can check them out on:
Both cars are something quite original/controversial as they did commemorate retro styling in-terms of everything from the colours, shapes, finishes & materials. The auto designs during the 80s & early 90s were at their dullest and emphasized dull boxy/angular shapes, those two were a whole different statement.
Performance wise, the cars are basically a Nissan Micra, under the skin. Both are powered by a 1.0 engine mated to a 3 speed automatic or a rare 5 speed manual, with exception that the Figaro came with a turbo-charger. Decent enough to move both cars at that weighted slightly more than three-quarters of a ton.
Which leads to this question, did anybody ever modify or tune the Pao or Figaro? Owning a customized model of one of these probably means you are the only one on Earth, that’s the easiest excuse of think of for a start. Here is a Pao tracked down by speedhunters.com:
Looking at the Nissan Juke, a car I personally hate; I start thinking about the fact that automobile designs haven’t evolved much for a decade if not more. I am not sure if it is convenient to say that Nissan did not try hard enough or pushed the envelope with the Nissan Juke, rather the car just looks too controversial and confusing as a character, my humble opinion. Perhaps we should see more curvy/retro/unconventional designs in the future? I wouldn’t mind but lets hope they do it right.