Chrysler scored big in the North American market with their K-car-based minivan in the early 1980s, and the Japanese automotive manufacturers wanted to cash in on the demand for front-wheel-drive (or four-wheel-drive) small van-like machines. Toyota, Nissan, and Mitsubishi brought over the Master Ace, Vanette, and Delica, respectively, and you could get all sorts of little Japanese wagons as well, but nothing seemed able to pry many sales away from the Caravan. So, Nissan took their top-heavy-looking Prairie, slapped some badges from the unrelated Stanza on it, and shipped a bunch across the Pacific. Few bought the Stanza Wagon, which makes them very rare Junkyard Finds. Here’s one I found in Denver a couple weeks back.
This one has just 151,369 miles on the odometer. Practically new!
The Stanza Wagon was a pretty good vehicle for its time, but it was funny-looking and didn’t have as much interior space as Chrysler’s minivans.
It turns out that the Stanza Wagon does acceptably well (relative to expectations, which are quite low) on the race track, as the Sputnik Racing Stanza proved in the 24 Hours of LeMons.
With 102 horsepower, the Stanza Wagon wasn’t the slowest thing on the road in the late 1980s.
Such a happy little crypto-van!