Junkyard Find: 1986 Nissan Maxima, Brake Fluid Overdose Edition

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1986 nissan maxima brake fluid overdose edition

You see some weird stuff in San Francisco Bay Area wrecking yards, from lunatic-with-a-glue-gun art cars to dipped-in-battery-acid rust to chopped, Italianized Swedes. Last weekend, I stopped by a well-stocked Oakland self-serve yard and found this puzzling brake-fluid test vehicle.

I’m thinking that Cartel Products probably didn’t hire some East Bay Maxima driver to use their silicone brake fluid and advertise the fact with scary-looking nail-polish-painted signs all over the car. That leaves the question: who, and why?

Well, nail-polish and mailbox stick-on letters.

The radiator smelled like brake fluid.

But it gets weirder than that. Who puts brake fluid in the windshield washer system? And then installs inline fuel filters in the squirter lines?

This is one of those 1980s Japanese cars that had all the control labeling translated directly into English, regardless of hyphenation. SECU-RITY!

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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3 of 62 comments
  • Mechimike Mechimike on Jan 20, 2014

    One wonders what other critical fluids the misguided owner replaced with DOT5... Perhaps the motor oil?

  • Ron B. Ron B. on Feb 18, 2014

    i think the answer lays in the locale. San Francisco . A cold, dank,foggy climate. A large preponderance of sexual alternative folks. Feminine hand writing by a male..yeah it all fits.

    • -Nate -Nate on Feb 19, 2014

      Me - YOW !Ron . I know how much most guys dislike & fear Gays but they're people too and I might remind you : would anyone really _choose_ that hated 'lifestyle ' ? . FWIW : I know quite a few gays , Male & Female and my freind Tom is one of the best Machinists I've ever met , honest , hard working and courteous too , not a common thing in The Auto Trade these days . I also know more than a few who are the toughest hombre's I've *ever* met , I live in The Ghetto and would love to have them by my side when things go sideways , not so much to be up against them when they're mad . All that being said , yes there are lots of weird flamers out there too , maybe this car belonged to one , maybe not . -Nate

  • RHD This looks like a lead balloon. You could buy a fantastic classic car for a hundred grand, or a Mercedes depreciationmobile. There isn't much reason to consider this over many other excellent vehicles that cost less. It's probably fast, but nothing else about it is in the least bit outstanding, except for the balance owed on the financing.
  • Jeff A bread van worthy of praise by Tassos.
  • Jeff The car itself is in really good shape and it is worth the money. It has lots of life left in it and can easily go over 200k.
  • IBx1 Awww my first comment got deletedTake your “millennial anti theft device” trope and wake up to the fact that we’re the only ones keeping manuals around.
  • ToolGuy "Images © 2023 Tim Healey/TTAC; Mercedes-Benz"• I bet I can tell you which is which.