QotW: Which Nissan model is the most Nissan?

This is going to be a tough one. Not only has Nissan has built a wide variety of enthusiast cars over its 90 years in business, it has created icons over and over again. From the Datsun 510 to the R35 GT-R, Figaro to Fairlady, it’s almost impossible to pick one car that best represents everything the brand stands for. But asking you to try anyway.

Which Nissan model is the most Nissan?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What tool has saved you the most agony?“.

Well, this QotW has been an informative one. We even picked up few tips for items that we’ll need to add to our toolboxes. Maybe you’ll find something useful here as well.

The right tool can be highly dependent on the type of job you’re doing. If you’re doing a lot of body work, Ben E‘s suggestion of a welder is probably a must. Once you can control the power of metal you can make almost anything. Similarly, Dillon‘s hand-held belt sander is something is important, especially if you sweat the details. MWC‘s harmonic balancer remover is another useful item, and definitely more professional than our cheapo long-piece-of-scrap-metal-bolted-to-the-balancer alternative.

For general-purpose tools, we thought it might be fun to discuss them in the order that we added them to our real life tool kits. speedie‘s duct tape is the earliest do-it-all solution an individual acquires in life. Once you get past the basics like hammers and screwdrivers, Hachibrokeyou‘s vise grips are a must-have for any tool kit. For us, George‘s Dremel was next, especially the cutting tool attachment. Once we began cracking into suspensions and engines — and graduating from the pipe-on-a-wrench thing, Alan‘s breaker bar gave us the power of Archimedes. For some reason we waited a long time to get TheJWT‘s impact screwdriver, but that has been such a huge time saver that we wish we’d had one much earlier. We still don’t have Taylor C‘s flexible retrieval claw, having used a magnet antenna for years, but he sold us on it.

Several readers went meta with abstract answers that are also true as true can be. Brett nominated a mechanic, which prompted streetspirit to agree that mechanics can indeed be tools. Franxou said a friend, which is always a welcome addition, especially if they know what they’re doing. And Fred Langille suggested a tool that, like fire, is as useful as it is world-changing as it is dangerous: the internet.

Ultimately, the winner this week is Michael Jue, who made us chuckle with his one-liner comment:

C’mon! My youngest JNC is 56 years old. Penetrating oil.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

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17 Responses to QotW: Which Nissan model is the most Nissan?

  1. Lakdasa says:

    Nissan President – A smooth, refined, luxury vehicle, with roots to the Japanese government. They were well built and if not for them to be Japan only models they would have done well against the German luxury cars at the time.

  2. BlitzPig says:

    The Altima or Sentra, Why? They are boring, bland, forgettable cars that belong in rental fleets, which pretty much sums up Nissan in North America these days. Long gone are the S30 and 510, cars that were inspiring and still trip the triggers of enthusiasts to this day.

  3. lb1 says:

    Long running models like the Bluebird, Fairlady, Crown or President. Skyline and Gloria came from Prince. Ok, I’ll go with the Fairlady Z, the Z car.

  4. lb1 says:

    Sorry, I meant to say Cedric, not Crown.

  5. Benjamin Luke Heynen says:

    it’s going to be the original Z cars (s30, 240 to 280Z) as they are something that old or young will identify as Nissan if not “Japanese”. What else looks like these things? Younger people will know the R32 GTR but EVERYONE knows the Z!

  6. Benjamin Luke Heynen says:

    it’s going to be the original Z cars (s30, 240 to 280Z) as they are something that old or young will identify as Nissan if not “Japanese”. What else looks like these things? Younger people will know the R32 GTR but EVERYONE knows the Z!

  7. GSX-R35 says:

    It’s not a nostalgic (yet) but I volunteer the Nissan Juke. Why? Because it embodies so many of the great things about Nissan as well as the missteps it’s taken in its history.

    When it first debuted as a concept it was called avant garde by the charitable and fugly by critics and few thought it would be a successful production car. Once it was a production car it sold like crack in Europe and did fairly well in other markets too. Typical Nissan, take a risk on a weird design and have it be a smashing success. It was also ahead of its time like many Nissan concepts.

    Also typical Nissan though was the shortsighted decision to not sell the much-improved second-gen version in North America despite the insatiable appetite here for crossovers – a recurrent theme with Nissan in that the company has often failed to properly follow-up on its successes (for other examples see how badly they squandered their lead in EVs and how they wasted Infiniti’s potential).

    The design was typical for many Nissans: polarizing. Whether its a Juke, GT-R, Cube, Murano, pike car, Rasheen, or any number of other Nissans you’ll see many haters but just as many or more who lust after them more than Sidney Sweeney in a Hooters uniform.

    It had cool tech baked in like many Nissans – torque-vectoring AWD, a peppy turbo four, all the Nissan safety tech of the time – but Nissan let it languish without an update for too long, another repeated refrain for the company.

    The Juke also got blessed with a Nismo version which was cool on its face but underwhelming in execution since it was mainly an appearance package with some suspension tuning and next-to-no power bump. Oh, and a performance pack that doesn’t let you get a manual with AWD – just FWD? Yeah Nismo, F that. Typical Nissan and Nismo – highs and lows all the damn time.

    But then they went bonkers and built the Juke-R – an absolutely insane animal with twice the power of the stock Juke, a roll cage, and a price fit for only oil sheiks and drug lords. This from a company so typically conservative its top of the line performance car has been largely unchanged for two decades. Nissan isn’t immune to crazy sh*t though as witnessed by the hand-built 1st gen Silvia or the travesty that is the Murano CrossCabriolet.

    And like many Nissans the Juke is destined for (cult?) classic status for its uniqueness.

    Because the Juke encapsulates the highs and lows of the sometimes schizoprenic company it hails from I say its as Nissan a vehicle as you can get.

  8. Taylor C. says:

    The Nissan Z. A car originally developed by Nissan and developed for all the markets. As much as I like the Skyline, it probably would not have as much fanfare here in the States had it not been for Gran Turismo. Those who are diehard car fans will know the Skyline, but the video is what brought the masses.Plus the Skyline was originally created by Prince Motors, and Nissan bought them in the ’60s. Also, in my opinion it’s the Skyline GT-R that really stole all the attention, the other models are essentially your more-common modes of transportation.

    The Z was designed to represent Nissan and its enthusiast-driven roots. Yes, there were some years where it was more akin to “boulevard cruiser,” but the majority of its generations pitted the car with the best in the field. The car has always been Nissan’s flagship car, even if the Skyline GT-R has been the better performing car. You say “Nissan Z,” and people know what you’re talking about. My daughter wears the JNC Nissan Z Legacy shirt, and her classmates point out by saying “What Z car does your dad have?”

  9. Franxou says:

    I would like to nominate the Nissan 4DSC, the early 90’s Maxima SE, because Poof!
    Back when a family car meant some unremarkable sedans, boring wagons or weird minivans, if one wanted to drive one’s family in something with some oomph, there were the expensive Euro sedans, the Taurus SHO, and then maybe some other cars I forget, but no way a Chevrolet Celebrity would have scratched that itch. The Cressida was for older people, the 929 was pseudo-luxury, Acura was just getting started and with smaller engines, and Poof! Nissan offers a limited-slip diff, 5-speed, 190hp, nice looking sedan with good driving dynamics for the mid-size family sedan market.
    A “good but not too much” car that happened to fall in line with what the market wanted. Think about the 240Z, Poof! Datsun is on the map in North America! The King-Cab, Poof! extended cabs pickup trucks everywhere! The Murano, Poof! sportier crossovers for everyone! The Qashqai, the Leaf (kinda), all had a Poof! of success at first, but were then left too long without proper development to make another homerun, or just evolved in “another offering on the market”.

  10. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    The 510 stands as the quintessential Nissan for me. The coupes may be the most popular but the wagon is the one

  11. maxima is the most nissan, I drove a I think it was a 310 years ago, then a1999 maxima, and most recently I owned a 2011 maxima fast and class ,hoping to find a 2021 platinum, more smiles to the miles

  12. Kalervo Kasurinen says:


  13. Brett says:

    I say the S-Cargo. It was described as a ‘snail-like masterpiece’ and ‘something a two year old would draw’ but the public loved it and it sold very well, and they are still sought after today. The S-Cargo is just as heroic as the Skylines, although in a different way, and it still a Nissan icon today. What’s not to love!

  14. robin says:

    The Nissan Sunny (b-series) Truck…

    Hi Everyone, I trust you all are well?

    The reason for my answer is, well I try telling these stories for QOTW from my perspective which is one from a country called South Africa.

    The story goes something like this and one that is true to the core and no deviation nor half truth. The Sunny or what was dubbed the Datsun 1200 pickup or bakkie (Latter is what we all know it as) was sold at around the same time as the rest of the world would have received them.

    However something unique to SA is that we continue a model well past it has stopped in other countries (Toyota ae92 Corolla Hatch comes to mind ). Immediately I can hear Sunny Truck owners asking” can you get parts, please!” and the answer to that you can find at the end of my story, sorry I have to keep you interested (sly smirk)

    Sometime in the 90’s the name was changed from Datsun to Nissan and a bigger a14 engine was fitted but along side this addition the roof was raised by a few centimeters and we got packages such as the Sport which had two individual seats whereas most of the others which was the normal 1400 (we just called them Nissan 1400’s) had a bench seat to allow three grown adults to sit somewhat comfortably. I will paint a picture as to how the person in the center would sit … legs wide open over the tunnel for the shaft.

    Which is fine, but after 1 year the gearknob for the locally built ones became very smooth and added to these being workhorses and most drivers having dirty hands it would slip and inappropriately touch the middles persons closest body part.

    Jokes aside these Bakkies became common site one our roads and to this day we still have many of them still working extremely hard and have earned the same respect as a Toyota Hilux.

    In the early 2000’s these 1400’s got grey interiors (they were brown before this) and the sports version was called the champ and this name is what everyone calls a 1400/1200 Bakkie in SA even though it was only for the flagship model at that time. However in the last run of these 2006 to 2008 Nissan SA called them Champs as they realised its street name.

    Almost every South African would have had one of these or driven in a Nissan Sunny Truck, we only received the short version and like myself owning 1 of these and my Family owning 5 of these for our little business we always wondered why the long version was never released here, SA could have had the high roof with long body and it would have been even more perfect, even though the high roof looked silly to me.

    For those who don’t care about this story and only want to know about parts availability of these like fenders; bonnets/hoods; taillights; interior bits; doors; windscreens; tailgates; door handles; bumpers… yes all available, a quick search on market place (change your search location to South Africa choose any province) and you will quickly and easily find many being broken up.

    Brand new aftermarket parts are available too which don’t fit as well but to be honest neither did the locally built ones fit up any better.
    Many older chrome bumper parts are not as easy to find but they are hidden in peoples yards or want to fit the more modern bumpers and lights etc.

    So to me personally the Nissan 1200/1400 might not be the most Nissan but it certainly helped build our country and helped many small businesses run efficiently and without hiccup.

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