Junkyard Find: 1987 Nissan Stanza Wagon

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1987 nissan stanza wagon

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!

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  • Richthofen Richthofen on Sep 06, 2013

    There are two of these still roaming the streets in my town, an immaculate-looking blue one driven by someone at my workplace (huge parking lot so I've not figured out who yet) and a beige one that either lives in my neighborhood or belongs to a student at the adjacent university. Pretty good for a 25+ year old Nissan, so these seem like pretty tough customers. Ugly? Sure, they're ugly. But in that 80's Japanese way that now has, at least to me, something of a cool factor.

  • Canandovq Canandovq on Sep 11, 2013

    It had a 4 cylinder engine, but had 8 spark plugs, it behave quite well and was certainly a reliable vehicle. It was my company car from 88 to 89, lots of good memories from that time.

  • Tassos Before you rush to buy this heap of rusty metal, maybe you should wait a day or two.I hear Tim will have an Model T next time.
  • Redapple2 I d just buy one already sorted. Too many high level skills (wiring, paint, body panel fitment et. al.) that i dont have. And I dont fancy working 100 s of hours for $3 /hour.
  • 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
  • Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
  • ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)