Rare Rides: The 1986 Nissan Pulsar NX Coupe, Economy From Long Ago

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1986 nissan pulsar nx coupe economy from long ago

There were precisely two generations of the Nissan Pulsar sold on North American shores, and we’ve covered the latter previously in an absolutely excellent NX Sportbak from 1988. Today’s Rare Ride is a final-year 1986 example of the first generation Pulsar, which wasn’t quite as versatile as its replacement in 1987.

This one’s as clean as they come.

The first generation Datsun Pulsar wore various names around the globe, and was known to its North American customers as the 310. Produced from 1978 to 1982, the Pulsar was available in a wide variety of body styles, six in total. In North America the 310 was sold only with its largest 1.4-liter engine, and a much more limited number of body styles. A peek at its real name was visible in Canada, where some were sold with Pulsar tape stripes.

For its second generation, the Pulsar adopted its Japanese name for North American use as Datsun and Nissan consolidated global branding practices. For one model year only – 1983 – Americans and Canadians were offered the new Pulsar in sedan and hatchback shapes, or in NX format as a sporty looking two-door coupe. From 1984 onward the Pulsar was available only as the NX, as Sentra (with which it shared parts) and Stanza filled in the compact segment for the vanished versions of Pulsar.

Worth noting, the rest of the world knew the Pulsar coupe as the EXA; only North Americans saw it as NX. The Japanese market also received a limited-production EXA convertible, as a celebration of the 15th anniversary of Nissan Cherry dealership outlets. The coupe’s styling was rather upright, due to Nissan’s money-saving decision to port over the standard Pulsar windshield and dash to the NX version. If it were a bit longer, it could qualify easily as the ever-formal two-door sedan.

Engines available globally were all of inline-four configuration and ranged from 1.3 to 1.6 liters in displacement. On American shores, the 1.5-liter offering was available in two flavors: with a carburetor and natural aspiration, or with fuel injection and a turbocharger. With a turbo, 113 horsepower were on offer and promised a zero to 60 time of 8.8 seconds.

The first Pulsar NX remained on sale through the 1986 model year in North America and was replaced by the previously featured three-door NX in ’87. With its trick removable roof and coupe/wagon/targa/convertible personality, the rather bland original Pulsar faded quickly into oblivion.

But a careful owner kept today’s naturally aspirated Rare Ride in exceptional condition. It’s for sale presently in Denver, and with a graph paper themed interior, manual transmission, and 150,000 miles on the odometer, looks as clean as you could possibly ask. Yours for $4,500.

[Images: seller]

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 03, 2020

    I want this because its ridiculous.

  • Paxman356 Paxman356 on Dec 03, 2020

    I got to drive one of these, a turbo, in the late 80s. It could scoot, but the torque steer was terrible. I wound up getting an '83 Civic HF 2-door hatch instead. It was slow, but it got 40mpg all day long, and was cheap to insure.

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