A Fantastic Figaro for Friday

Small, quirky, JDM cars are just delightful. There’s something special about these machines and they’re both appealing and alluring. Rarely do you see them here in the States, of course, and that’s probably part of the appeal. Here, however, is one for sale and it’s currently parked in Philadelphia.
This is a 1991 Nissan Figaro and you can buy it if you head to BringATrailer.com and bid on it. It’s up for auction on the site and there are six days of bidding left. The current top bid is (as of this writing) $8,250 for what appears to be an excellent example of the Figaro.
Turn heads in a way no exotic supercar out there can, and do it with just 75 horsepower under the hood.
[Source: Bring A Trailer]

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  1. Alcology Avatar

    Oh man, I would love to drive this around. The guys on Mighty Car Mods had one and just ripped on it. Sad. Quite the steep price of entry for a novelty though.

  2. Sjalabais Avatar

    37 Figaros, mostly priced just below 10k$:
    What is strange with BaT auctions is that sometimes the price tends to take off. So much so, that one can either assume these cars are vetted so well, they represent the absolute top of the market – or prestige might be involved in the bidding process. So it will be interesting to see how far this Figaro ventures.

  3. nanoop Avatar

    Pah, I’ll bring my own trailer.

    1. Sjalabais Avatar

      70k€? Yikes! I’m still looking for my normal fare, where 1590€ buys a clapped out rusted specimen*, and 5600€ buys a perfect, restored example.
      *…it may also buy a claimed perfect driver from the motherland and plane tickets.

    1. Vairship Avatar

      Add some Hello Kitty stickers and you’ll get it. 😉

  4. Jaap Avatar

    Has in fact Nissan introduced the retro-stylingtrend, which brought us the new beetle, tbird, mini and so on?

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Yes .
      Long before J Mays put pen to paper on the VW Concept One first shown in 1994, and as the New Beetle production car in ’98, Nissan brought out the BE1 in ’87, the Pao and S-Cargo in ’89 and last of all ,the Figaro in 91. The cars were such an oversubscibed success that people in the West noticed. J Mays of VW and then Ford was the most prolific copier of the Japanese initiated trend.
      1994 sketch
      1987 Nissan BE-1
      1989 Nissan Pao
      1989 Nissan S-Cargo
      1991Nissan Figaro
      And let’s not forget the retro inspired and influenced Mazda MX5 of 1989.
      Retro is not a Western idea. Who are the imitators now?

  5. salguod Avatar

    There’s a Cars and Coffee regular in Columbus who’s a Japanese car fan and he just picked up a Figaro. He’s also got a Soarer, I think, a Toyota Century and a Mitsuoka. And a Polaris Slingshot.

    1. E34Less Avatar

      Is this the C&C at Lennox? I’ve seen everything but the Mitsuoka I think.

      1. salguod Avatar

        That’s the one. I’m there fairly regularly with my 1960 Thunderbird Convertible, sometimes the 1996 BMW 318ti.

        1. E34Less Avatar

          I’m a big fan of your T bird. I’m usually there with my beat up white XC70 hiding in the corner.

  6. crank_case Avatar

    There used to be loads of these on the streets in Ireland 10 years ago, mostly female owners, as used JDM imports have very little restrictions and it’s basically a turbo’d and tarted up version of a that Nun transport 2nd favorite, the K10 Nissan Micra (the first being the indestructable toyota starlet for anoraks of catholic motoring, later a favorite with autotesters (like autocross but nerdier) once the nuns and OAPs were done with them). The humble underpinnings made for cheap running costs, so naturally they were ridiculously popular. It’s a cool little retro runabout, but it’s not the most interesting K10 derivative, that has to go to the Micra Super Turbo, which aside from having a manual box, had a supercharger in addition to the turbo found on the Figaro. Way before the twin charged golfs, and apparently a damn sight more reliable. Bear in mind, only a few years before, this was still the sort of induction setup usually only seen on group b rally cars like the Lancia S4.
    What I find most amusing about the Figaro now is that at the time it was intended to give you the charm of a classic, but with modern, reliable underpinnings and convenience, but now it itself is old enough to be regarded as a classic in its own right, with all the care that requres.
    Around the same period, there were a few Nissan Paos imported too,
    ..but that was nowhere near as wildly popular as the figaro, sales only really limited by how many importers could get their hands on. I even recall seeing a documentary about a couple that specialized in selling these over in the UK, which was a little more restrictive than Ireland on JDM imports, but still pretty lax compared to the US, and to buy one, you had to be interviewed, because they’d only sell to people they liked. Prices have always been very firm, so this doesn’t seem to be too bad a price for one. Kinda makes me wonder why Nissan never really followed up. Hard to imagine something as charming slipping by under the hardnosed Ghosn regime sadly (where’s the IDX already?)

    1. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      This running gear in the Figaro would be fun.

      1. crank_case Avatar

        Sure would, but given that Super Turbos are kinda unicorns, I doubt anyone would tear one up. I’ve only seen about 2-3 for sale ever and I doubt they’ve a high survival rate either.

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