KIDNEY, ANYONE? Original-owner 1988 Nissan Van

Here’s your chance to own perhaps one of the rarest JNCs ever sold in the US. You’ll probably see more Hakosuka Skylines on the road than the second-generation Nissan Vanette, known simply as the Nissan Van in the States, as it was one of the few models in automotive history whose entire production run was recalled by the manufacturer.

The Nissan Vanette was hugely popular in Japan, on par with contemporaries like the Toyota TownAce and Mitsubishi Delica. However, when Nissan decided to offer them stateside to capitalize on the minivan boom, they decided, fatefully, to increase the displacement on their Z-series engines from 2.0 to 2.4 liters. The thought was that American drivers needed more power and torque for its expansive highways and more air con for the blazing hot southern states.

Sadly, the increased capacity caused some heat of their own, and the lack of proper cooling in the engine compartment led to 153 reported engine fires. In 1994, After four recalls, none of which resolved the issue entirely, Nissan issued a buyback offer on all 33,000 vans sold between 1986-89. Customers were offered up to $7,000 depending on the condition of the vans, a rate reportedly much higher than blue book values at the time. Nissan crushed all the cars they got back. in all, the Van cost Nissan $200 million and was at the time the largest buyback of its kind in US history.

However, not all buyers took Nissan up on their offer. Currently on Craigslist and located in Alta Loma, California, is just such an example. The 1988 top-trim GXE is said to be a one-owner car that has somehow managed to log 100,065 miles without self-immolating. The seller says that the interior is pristine and that the car has always been garaged. From the potato-quality images in the ad, it certainly looks quite clean, but as always, caveat emptor.

Not only is it a rare van, but it’s fitted with rare options as well, such as second-row swiveling captain’s chairs (in burgundy velour, of course), dual sunroofs, and a 494 color code Dark Red and Platinum two-tone finish. And now, for the asking price of $5,000, you have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own one of the rarest mass-produced vehicles in US history. You’re guaranteed to stand out at any car show you attend, assuming you make it there without being burned to a crisp. Will there be any takers? If so, find the ad on Craigslist Orange County.

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6 Responses to KIDNEY, ANYONE? Original-owner 1988 Nissan Van

  1. Dimitry says:

    I bet getting barbecued alive would feel wonderful on these plush red seats.

  2. cesariojpn says:

    Asking for $5 grand on CL, Nissan offered to buy it back for $7.5K back in the day cause the vans loved to self-immolate itself.

    Shitty ROI.

  3. Ricky says:

    I know someone who kept his instead of selling it back. He told me the story of how theyd burst i to flames. He kept his because he knew once almost everyone sold theirs back itd be a rare piece of nissan history.

  4. Owen says:

    Nissan Vans I’ve seen on the road in the past couple years: A couple
    Hakosuka Skylines I’ve seen: None

  5. ArchetypeDatsun says:

    I had high interest in this Nissan Van, spoke to the owner he was cool and all he was just way too attached to it for me and him to come to a price we both were happy with. He went down to $4500 only thing was it did not run which was a bummer and I wasn’t about to pay almost $5k for a non running low target market vehicle. Anything could have been wrong as to say those Z24i engines aren’t always the best especially in those heavy vans.

    I ended waiting years later and just recently acquired a 1987 Nissan Van XE base model 5spd which is pretty darn rare. All the other Nissan Vans I’ve come across for sale were all automatic.

  6. Louis says:

    We owned a 1988 Nissan van brand new. What a wonderful vehicle. We were sorry to sell it 2010. It was a perfect vehicle for groups of friends to publish the good news. We miss it for freight delivery; garbage disposal and recycling.

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