1991 Nissan Figaro
Americans waiting to get their hands on a Nissan Figaro can finally import them directly from Japan! As of February 2016, these playful retros are 25 years old, making them easily importable to the United States at last.
The Figaro was one of four quirky, cartoonish vehicles displayed by Nissan at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989. Once Nissan saw how enthusiastically visitors embraced the designs — dreamed up by young Japanese designers based on a “Back to the Future” concept — it subcontracted Aichi Machine Industry to manufacture limited versions for the Japanese market.
The Figaro was so popular when launched in 1991 that only people who won a special lottery could purchase one from Nissan. Of course, this didn’t stop the lucky owners from selling them at higher prices to celebrities like Eric Clapton.
Borrowing heavily from classic European cars of the 1950s and 60s, the Figaro looks more Italian than Japanese. Its body is smooth and simple, with expert retro detailing and a freshness that never fades. From cheerful grille to friendly round headlights, cartoonish hubcaps, white retractable top and four round tail lights, every detail is endearing.
The beautiful fluoroplastic finish on the composite body panels was originally available in four pastel shades; Topaz Mist, Emerald Green, Pale Aqua and Lapis Grey. But many owners have discovered that the Figaro also looks fantastic in black, red and even pink, which is popular among female fans in the UK, where the Figaro has a cult-like following.
Quality craftsmanship and supreme attention to retro detailing extend to the interior as well. There are antiquish meters with chrome surrounds on a flat white instrument panel, a 50s-style steering wheel on the right hand side, and standard leather seats with intricate old-fashioned padding. The fabric top can be retracted, leaving the sides of the cabin in place as in the Fiat 500 and Citroën 2CV.
Modern amenities like air conditioning and a CD player keep occupants comfortable and entertained, while four three-point seatbelts and a double lock on the retractable top (with warning buzzer) help keep you and your passengers safe.
The Figaro is fun to drive. While not a sports car by any means, its speedy, turbocharged 1.0-liter engine (MA10) combines with a lightweight body to deliver fairly quick response. The handling and ride are also excellent, thanks to four-wheel independent suspension with a rear stabilizer bar and power-assisted ventilated front disc brakes.
Nissan’s MA10 engine is also featured on the Nissan March (Micra), meaning there are plenty of parts available wherever you go. Mated with a three-speed automatic transmission and featuring ECCS (Nissan Electronic Concentrated Control System), the engine provides excellent 32 mpg fuel economy, 75 horsepower at 6000 rpm, ample 78 lb.-ft. of torque at 4400 rpm and a top speed of 106 mph.
This stunning Figaro with pale aqua finish was lovingly cared for by an enthusiast who couldn’t resist logging numerous miles. He removed the original white hubcaps, which can easily be replaced, but otherwise maintained the original features and kept the car in good shape.
This is just one of 20,000 Nissan Figaros, which were all produced in 1991 for the Japanese market. Secondhand Figaro’s of all colors and conditions can be found in Japan today for export to your country.
When you decide it’s time to directly import your dream Figaro from Japan, be sure to contact Japan Car Direct.
We’re dedicated to providing honest, professional, no-frills service and the highest quality vehicles at the lowest possible prices whether you seek a retro mini, exotic supercar, high-performance drift car, mini truck or German luxury car with RHD or LHD.
Our vast experience and solid connections with auctions, specialist dealers and shipping companies throughout Japan are your assurance of total satisfaction.