I find lots of Malaise Era Cressidas for this series, but what about the Cressida’s main competitor, the second-generation Datsun/Nissan 810/Maxima? As you can see by the confusing names for this car, Nissan was going through some marque- and model-name gyrations during the early 1980s, which makes today’s Junkyard Find a car of some historical significance.
The 810 became the Datsun 810 Maxima in 1981, then the Datsun Maxima in 1982, then the Datsun Maxima By Nissan in 1983, and finally just the Nissan Maxima in 1984.
A series of TV ads during this period tried to reduce the level of confusion for American car shoppers: “From now on… the name is Nissan.”
Just as the Cressida boasted much Supra genetic material, so did the Maxima share its ancestry with the Datsun Z Car. Here’s the L24 engine, same displacement as the 240Z’s engine but with a more modern fuel-delivery system.
All sorts of whiz-bang, futuristic electronics graced the Maxima’s cockpit; this stuff was pretty much required by law in early-to-mid-80s Japanese luxury sedans.
Best of all, of course, was the Maxima’s Mars Base-grade “Voice Annunciator” system. A few years ago, I became obsessed with this system’s hardware, because I discovered that it is based on an under-dash box with a tiny phonograph record.
Supposedly, this system originated in Japanese-market large appliances and was then licensed by Nissan. 280ZXs also got the Voice Annunciator.
The Voice Annunciator was so cool that Nissan just had to add a snazzy console switch, to remind drivers that they were driving in The Future.
In spite of all the built-in Extreme Science™, this Maxima didn’t even make it to 100,000 miles. The interior is filthy but not too thrashed, the body is rust-free, and there’s a good chance the engine is still good.
Oh yeah, about that Voice Annunciator? I bought it. 15 bucks well spent.
Actually, it was 30 bucks well spent, because I found another Maxima at the same California yard and pulled the talk-box from that car as well. My collection of four Voice Annunciator boxes goes well with my collection of 1980s Japanese digital dashes.
“This is the first car that speaks to you!”