Junkyard Find: 1987 Nissan Maxima Sedan
The Nissan Maxima of the 1980s remains one of my favorite Junkyard Finds, partly because it began the decade as a sporty rear-wheel-drive cousin to the Z-Car and ended it as a swanky front-wheel-drive pseudo-luxury machine… but mostly because these cars came stuffed full of the quirky futuristic technology that made Japanese cars so interesting during The Turbo Decade.Here’s a high-mile ’87 Maxima I spotted in an East Bay self-service yard last month.
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Infiniti Is Poised to Overtake Acura in America's Auto Sales Race for the First Time Ever

They’re always bridesmaids, never the bride.

But after holding down the fort as America’s second-best-selling Japanese premium brand since surrendering to Lexus some two decades ago, Acura is now about to be bumped from its maid of honor position.

Scottie Pippen? Acura is quickly becoming Toni Kukoc.

After a record U.S. sales performance in 2016, Infiniti sales are rising faster than any other auto brand in America save for four niche-market luxury contenders. After trailing its Acura compatriot for 28 years, it’s past time for Infiniti to catch the bouquet.

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Ask Jack: The Man Who Flexes From WRXes To Lexus?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: everything, and I mean everything, is utterly and absolutely context-dependent. It’s literally true on the atomic level, where we cannot accurately measure both position and velocity at the same time. It’s true at the quantum level, where “quantum entanglement” governs behavior that is currently beyond our ability to understand. It’s even applicable in your dating life; the same size-six girl who feels insubstantial to you in the long evenings at home will acquire new heft after you spend a drunken weekend away with a size two.

Since this is an automotive website and not The Journal Of Theoretical Physics And Deniable Adultery, let’s focus on what context means in the automotive sense. The definitions of fast car, big car, economical car, reliable car, and even full-sized pickup have all changed several times since the end of the First World War. Imagine you fell into a coma in 1975 and woke up today; you’d probably ask how and why cars got so tiny and trucks got so big. The first 911 Turbo was a “widowmaker” with 260 horsepower; today’s model delivers twice that much power and still isn’t the fastest car (around a track, at least) in its price range.

More importantly, our own personal context for an automobile often determines how much we enjoy and appreciate it. Think of all the people who spend their weekends restoring, cleaning and driving “classic cars” that other people threw away decades ago. Think of the over one million people who couldn’t wait to trade their Tri-Five Chevys in on something new, and of all the people who’ve spent major portions of their lives making those same cars better than they were when they left the assembly line. That’s the power of context.

Which brings me to today’s question for Ask Jack. It’s all about one man’s very unusual, but entirely understandable, definitions of “daily driver” and “weekend special”.

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  • MaintenanceCosts The worst of the malaise era. Engines with primitive emissions systems layered onto otherwise ancient technology, which managed to be unreliable, wimpy, and undriveable, all at once. Rust that was already starting on the showroom floor. Interior trim that makes a Cozy Coupe look sturdy. Packaging that gives you Civic interior space with Avalon exterior dimensions. Just a horrendous steaming pile all the way around.
  • Bobbysirhan If anyone needs proof that automotive styling has reached an all-time low, it is that the Subaru WRX isn't being singled out as an abomination on the scale of a Pontiac Aztec or 1958 Lincoln Continental. These days it is almost expected for a new car to be hideous.
  • MaintenanceCosts Compromised safety test results and minivans do not go well together.A shame as the looks are neat (the last interesting van) and the CVT/V6 powertrain is better than a lot of people give it credit for.
  • Tassos Oh yeah! Great Catch! All my life I was looking for such an UTTER PIECE OF CRAP from the CRAPPY 70s and 80s, when ALL Cars were Crappy... at least all DOMESTIC cars were. Seriously?Maybe next time you will outdo yourself and dig up the mummy of Pharaoh Ramses the Second.
  • SCE to AUX If Lexus badge-engineered a Camry in 1977, this is what you'd get.27 HP/liter - wow... my new 2.5T has 112 HP/liter and many engines are much higher. Malaise Era, indeed.GM died by a thousand cuts, and this car is definitely one of them - 100% mediocrity.