By on December 2, 2020

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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29 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1986 Nissan Pulsar NX Coupe, Economy From Long Ago...”


  • avatar
    Imagefont

    I’ll be in Denver next week – I want it!!!
    Okay $4500 is a little high I think.
    A friend of mine had one of these, bought new. It was actually a blast to drive.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    College housemate had one exactly like this. In the context of it’s time it was what many young people wanted in a first car. Illusion of sportiness, sunroof, 80’s design, yet inexpensive. A print ad from the period has a 20-something couple with the guy’s quote “Costs half as much as it looks!”. It baffles me now that younger single people aspire to cars that I consider baby wagons, but I guess that’s what they know. We had 2-door family cars until I was in high school.

    • 0 avatar
      DungBeetle62

      Think about it, at that time your Nissan showroom has a Sentra coupe, probably a Sentra hatch, this, the 200SX and the 300ZX.

      Before much longer, a Nissan showroom won’t have that many different CARS.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    These were pretty cool back when, they could be had with various body attachment to make either a hatch or a wagon type thing. Not this particular version, but there were others

    https://i.redd.it/q46q7s78mp151.jpg

  • avatar
    MoDo

    Some joker use to drive one of these up and down main street with crappy dance music blasting out of it back in the 90’s, even by then the thing was punched. Those paper thin 80’s cars didn’t last very long.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Good name.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    To the purchaser of this vehicle, please try these two products on the plastic interior window cranks and let us know which one works better:
    • 303 (30313CSR) Products Aerospace Protectant
    • Sprayway Interior Detailer

    Thanks in advance.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    In the late ’80s I had a girl friend (not girlfriend, although she was kinda hot) that owned one of these in gold with a brown interior, with the five-speed, and a set of “Limited Edition” (lol) wire wheel covers.

    Every once in a great while I still see these driving around. From back in the days when Nissan built solid, reliable cars, before Carlos Ghosn and Renault ruined them.

  • avatar
    azfelix

    That rear glass appears to substitute as a rather rigid headrest.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Talk about “Breaking Badly — Whiplash Edition!”

      I suppose the various K-Car variants which eschewed a package-shelf to eke out a few inches of extra room in back had the same hazard, though the couple times I rode in the back of a “cloud car,” which had some K left in them (a Plymouth Breeze, IIRC), there were headrests fitted.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    There were the other Pulsar subcompacts, three and four door hatches which replaced the 310. These always reminded me of the first generation Prelude. The second generation Prelude competed with sports coupes like the 200SX, Celica and Mitsubishi Cordia.

  • avatar
    davew833

    As I drove past the local Infiniti dealership where I worked for a couple of years in the early 1990s the other day, I was really surprised that the brand has lasted this long. Remember the first Q45 that had NO grille at all, just a giant “belt buckle” emblem? (I still have a few of those.)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I want this because its ridiculous.

  • avatar
    paxman356

    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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