Junkyard Find: 1990 Infiniti Q45

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
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junkyard find 1990 infiniti q45

A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to own a well-preserved 1990s Japanese luxury car, and my first choice was the Infiniti Q45. Well, it turned out that just about every example of the Q45 got completely trashed by about 2005, and so I found a very nice Coach Edition LS400. Still, though, I love the early Q45’s weirdness and its Nissan President origins, and so I shot this first-year example that I found in California.

These were seriously luxurious and powerful cars for their day, but most of them weren’t cared for so well once they went to their second owners.

This one just barely made it past 150,000 miles.

There is no compromise at any speed.

Take a long, hard test drive.

In Japan, it was called the Nissan Infiniti Q45.

I couldn’t find the weird US-market “Zen” Q45 ad, but here’s the Japanese counterpart.

Murilee Martin
Murilee Martin

Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.

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  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Mar 12, 2015

    My uncle in Cambridge, MA had one of these. It lived a hard life, outdoor parking for long periods of inactivity followed by infrequent blasts to Conn. and surrounding region. It was pretty much bulletproof and wore quite well, and was the definition of luxury at the time for me.

  • Emanistan Emanistan on Jul 27, 2016

    As philisophical as I try to be about cars, it still hurts me on an almost personal level to see the disrespect the original Q45 was subjected to, and how mistreated so many of the ones that have survived are. I first saw the Q45 at the 1989 auto show at Moscone Center in SF when I was 15, and I'd never seen a car like it. It had a totally unique beauty on the outside, & conveyed quality on every little detail, & to this day, I've never sat in a more comfortable interior, even having ridden in several Mercedes & Beemers since. To my 15 year old mind it was inconceivable that this car wouldn't take the country by storm & become the ultimate prestige machine. This spring a very pretty 1990 Q45 with a low serial number ended up at the local pick-n-pull here in Redding. I was almost tempted to save it, but soon came to grips with the fact that I had neither the time, the money, the space, let alone the trailer to do so, so-even though it makes me feel lie a vandal-I went about saving as much from the crusher as I could. Naturally the cloisonné emblem was the first thing to go, and is now on my wall, then I spent the next few weeks dismantling the doors to get at the pretty oval door handles, then I got all of the seats, front and back, which I'm in the process of restoring in order to mount in my van. Even as a junkyard hulk its a beautiful car. Redding gets very hot, but even with no power to it's AC, the Q45's interior is still comfortable, and it's usually my break spot during long days in the yard. Taking it apart, I'm still impressed by it's build quality: the only junkyard car I've worked with yet that's as solidly put together as a Mercedes.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.