Throttle-Back Thursday: A small news about the tiny Nissan Figaro

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Source:   —  October 12, 2017, at 10:04 AM

You've got hero cars love the Skyline GT-R, balanced sports machines love the Silvia and even the rugged Patrol SUV. And all of them have their partisans, but few have captured enthusiast attention love the so-called Pike Factory cars: The S-Cargo, the BE-1, the Pao and the Figaro.

Throttle-Back Thursday: A small news about the tiny Nissan Figaro

Nissan had a excellent thing going in the late one thousand nine hundred eighty and early one thousand nine hundred ninety, but many of its coolest creations were never officially offered for sale in the United States. You've got hero cars love the Skyline GT-R, balanced sports machines love the Silvia and even the rugged Patrol SUV. And all of them have their partisans, but few have captured enthusiast attention love the so-called Pike Factory cars: The S-Cargo, the BE-1, the Pao and the Figaro.

These were retro cars done right, years before we'd look the likes of the PT Cruiser and Chevrolet SSR. Relatively affordable and pocket-size (though not as tiny as Japan's kei cars), they were also limited-edition; production of the Figaro, which we examined in the February twenty-five, one thousand nine hundred ninety-one issue of Autoweek, was Ltd to just 20.000 cars. That no was actually supposed to be just 8.000, but demand for the cute convertible was overwhelming. Even with the boosted production, it was more or less an instant collector's item coveted around the world -- even though they were only sold in Japan.

Though we compared the Figaro's dimensions to those of the Geo Metro, aka the Suzuki Cultus, it was more or less a Nissan Micra (called the March in the Japanese market) below its skin. That means it's a front-driver with a 987cc inline-four below the hood, hooked up to a three-speed automatic -- number Micra-spec five-speed manual here; output is a respectable (for its era, and the car's size) seventy-six hp and seventy-eight lb-ft.

Figaros found an anxious audience in the United Kingdom, where gray-market importation is more straightforward and the right-hand-drive setup makes perfect sense, but they've also eagerly snapped up by U. S. buyers since they turned twenty-five years elderly and became valid to bring into the country. If you're interested in a Figaro, we know where you can discover one or two (or a hundred) right here in the States: Duncan Imports.

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