Junkyard Find: 1985 Nissan Maxima

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1985 nissan maxima

A front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima in the junkyard must have something special to induce me to shoot photographs. We’ve seen this gig-rig ’86 wagon with pleading note to the tow-truck driver and this super-weird ’86 sedan with brake fluid used as coolant and washer fluid in this series so far, and now I’ve found this extremely rare 5-speed-equipped ’85 in a Northern California yard.

The body is pretty dinged up but there’s no rust. Just over 100,000 miles on the clock of this 1985 Nissan Maxima.

By the middle 1980s, almost no luxury-sedan buyers had any use for a manual transmission. You’ll see the occasional BMW or Audi from this era with a 5-speed, but a three-pedal mid-80s Maxima is about as easy to find as a two-headed snake.

Interestingly, this car has a solid-state version of the phonograph-based Voice Annunciator System used in earlier Datsuns. The harness connector is identical to the one on the early-80s units, but the box is full of digital circuitry.

Naturally, I had to buy it.

I haven’t hooked it up to power and a speaker yet, so I don’t know if the voice is the same as the one on the tiny phonograph in the 1982 version.

Ah, the cult of the Talking Nissan.

In addition to being the Turbo Decade, the 1980s was the Cassette Equalizer Decade as well.

In Japan, schmaltz was applied heavily to the ’85 Bluebird ads.

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  • BklynPete BklynPete on May 29, 2015

    Eddie Murphy on talking cars: "I bought an '82 Datsun, only I got it in my neighborhood. Once I turned the ignition and it said, 'yo man, someone stole your battery.' Three seconds later it said, 'I say we go get the m-----f-----s!'"

  • JohnPhantom JohnPhantom on Feb 07, 2021

    I created an account here just to say this, I am not a huge car fan, though I do love my 2000 convertible black Trans Am with less than 100k miles. My mom bought a 1985 black regular 4 door 5 speed stick Nissan Maxima new off the lot when I was 16. When I was 21 it had been used a good bit by 1990. My dad died and I went on a suicidal rampage, doing 125 mph in it over 3 counties before blowing the motor. Here is a warning for you and the reason why I came here: this car by a long shot is the most unstable car I have ever driven, at over 100-110 mph and literally bounces around at 125.

  • Alan The Prado shouldn't have the Landcruiser name attached. It isn't a Landcruiser as much as a Tacoma or 4 Runner or a FJ Cruiser. Toyota have used the Landcruiser name as a marketing exercise for years. In Australia the RAV4 even had Landcruiser attached years ago! The Toyota Landcruiser is the Landcruiser, not a tarted up Tacoma wagon.Here a GX Prado cost about $61k before on roads, this is about $41k USD. This is a 2.8 diesel 4x4 with all the off road tricky stuff, plus AC, power windows, etc. I'm wondering if Toyota will perform the Nissan Armada treatment on it and debase the Prado. The Patrol here is actually as capable and possibly more capable than the Landcruiser off road (according to some reviews). The Armada was 'muricanised and the off road ability was reduced a lot. Who ever heard of a 2 wheel drive Patrol.Does the US need the Prado? Why not. Another option to choose from built by Toyota that is overpriced and uses old tech.My sister had a Prado Grande, I didn't think much of it. It was narrow inside and not that comfortable. Her Grand Cherokee was more comfortable and now her Toureg is even more comfortable, but you can still feel the road in the seat of your pants and ears.
  • Jeffrey No tis vehicle doen't need to come to America. The market if flooded in this segment what we need are fun affordable vehicles.
  • Nrd515 I don't really see the point of annual inspections, especially when the car is under 3 years (warranty) old. Inspections should be safety related, ONLY, none of the nonsensical CA ARB rules that end up being something like, "Your air intake doesn't have an ARB sticker on it, so you have to remove it and buy one just like it that does have the ARB sticker on it!". If the car or whatever isn't puking smoke out of it, and it doesn't make your eyes water, like an old Chevy Bel-Air I was behind on Wed did, it's fine. I was stuck in traffic behind that old car, and wow, the gasoline smell was super potent. It was in nice shape, but man, it was choking me. I was amused by the 80 something old guy driving it, he even had a hat with a feather in it, THE sign of someone you don't want to be driving anywhere near you.
  • Lou_BC "15mpg EPA" The 2023 ZR2 Colorado is supposed to be 16 mpg
  • ToolGuy "The more aerodynamic, organic shape of the Mark VIII meant ride height was slightly lower than before at 53.6 inches, over 54.2” for the Mark VII."• I am not sure that ride height means what you think it means.Elaboration: There is some possible disagreement about what "ride height" refers to. Some say ground clearance, some say H point (without calling it that), some say something else. But none of those people would use a number of over 4 feet for a stock Mark anything.Then you go on to use it correctly ("A notable advancement in the Mark VIII’s suspension was programming to lower the ride height slightly at high speeds, which assisted fuel economy via improved aerodynamics.") so what do I know. Plus, I ended a sentence with a preposition. 🙂