8 weirdest Nissans everyone forgot

They may be one of the best-selling brands in the world and move millions of cars every year, but Nissan had very humble beginnings. During its first decades of existence, the Datsun / Nissan company was a local Japanese automaker that no one knew outside of its home country, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that its popularity began to grow. in the whole world. Part of this possible explosion in global sales was due to Nissan’s relentless innovation, as the company’s cars were way ahead of their competitors in terms of cost and reliability.

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This philosophy of innovation has continued to this day, but it produces a strange side effect. Nissan is always coming up with new ideas and new models, and as a result some of these models are incredibly weird. There are famous Nissan quirks like the Figaro, S-Cargo and Cube, but many other eccentric models have sunk into the archives and long been forgotten. Many of them stuck as concepts, but some found limited production runs and one even stuck in dealerships for several years. Let’s take a look at eight of Nissan’s most unusual creations that most gearboxes won’t even remember.


8
Trail runner

Nissan Trail Runner

Via Nissan

The ’90s and early 2000s could well be considered Nissan’s “golden age of weirdness”, as that’s where many of their craziest designs came from. The Trail Runner concept was unveiled in 1997, and while it’s really weird, it’s pretty cool as well. It’s a first attempt to mix a crossover SUV with a coupe, a styling trope that’s in vogue today among many high-end manufacturers.

Nissan Trail Runner

Via Nissan

It was powered by a 1.8L engine producing 185 hp, which would have made it quite fast for the time. The large rear spoiler and angular front end is certainly a striking look, but unfortunately the Trail Runner was way ahead of its time. It was never produced and was recorded in the archives shortly after its debut.

7
Nails

Nissan Nails

Via Nissan

Nissan, or rather their sister brand Datsun, had been very successful early on with its compact pickups in the mid-20th century, and so perhaps the Nails were meant to explore a contemporary re-entry into this segment. It was certainly innovative, with a lowered cargo bed that was supposed to make it easier to load heavy items into the truck.

Nissan Nails

Via Nissan

The body panels would also have been resistant to scratches and dents, so the nails would stay newer for longer. Innovations aside, the truck’s design was just plain silly, and it was too small to be of use to most buyers. It never went into production, but it established itself as one of the strangest pickup trucks ever made.

6
DeltaWing

Nissan Deltawing

Via Nissan

The DeltaWing design was originally created by an American racing designer, then Nissan co-signed the project in exchange for supplying an engine for the car. It’s a completely unique shape and really reinvents the idea of ​​how a racing car looks.

Nissan Deltawing

Via Nissan

The car took part in several major endurance races between 2012 and 2016, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring. He never won or even achieved a pole position, but he always attracted attention thanks to his odd appearance. Due to changing regulations, the car was withdrawn from competition in 2017 and since then it has been largely forgotten by racing fans.

5
Judo

Nissan Judo

Via Nissan

First shown as part of a major exhibition at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1987, judo went largely under the radar even upon its release. It was sort of a sports car SUV, with an off-road-ready chassis similar to that of a Jeep Wrangler, but an overall cabin the size of a Mazda Miata. It featured a number of unusual design quirks, including a spare tire placed behind the rear bumper.

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Nissan Judo

Via Nissan

The roof was also an odd feature as it was designed to slide rearward in one piece, providing an alternative to the sunroof. It slid so far back that the rear windshield was flush with the spare tire, which made a very strange vehicle. Nissan also decided to include integrated ski racks on the roof to really convey that this rugged Jeep-Miata was ready for anything.

4
R390

Nissan r390

Via Nissan Global

In the late 1990s, Nissan needed a way to meet the 24 Hours of Le Mans homologation rules, which stipulated that every car competing had to be based on a production model. To solve this problem, the company built a single road-approved R390 supercar, as well as a few prototypes. Other than a few small changes, the road R390 was exactly the same as the competition car, making it one of the most extreme cars of the era.

Nissan r390

Via Wikimedia Commons

It is also assumed to have top speed well over 200 mph, although it has never been officially tested. The car itself is quite odd for a road car, but what’s even stranger is that Nissan would build something so good and never market it. It might even have been the fastest car in the world at the time, but no one will ever know, because Nissan quietly hid the R390 in its museum and never did anything else with it.

3
Murano CrossCabriolet

Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Via Nissan News

There have been a few attempts by manufacturers to make a convertible SUV, and all of them have been horrendous. The Murano CrossCabriolet was Nissan’s shot at this odd segment, and well, it just seems just as odd that most people would expect a sunroof crossover to look.

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Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet

Via Nissan News

Despite this, it went on sale worldwide in 2011 and continued until the Murano was refreshed for the 2014 model year. It sold surprisingly well and it still has a little cult following today. , simply because of its strangeness. Doug DeMuro reviewed the car and called it “interesting. [rather than] well, ”which seems like the perfect way to sum up this bizarre creation.

2
Saurus Jr

Nissan Nismo Saurus Jr

Via Nissan Global

The small Saurus Jr actually represents a milestone in Nissan’s history as it is the first car to be fully developed by the racing arm of the automaker, Nismo. It was built as an accessible track day racer, with most of the 120 units used in Nissan’s own racing school throughout the ’90s and 2000s.

Nissan Nismo Saurus Jr

Via Sodo Moto auction

A few examples have also been sold to motorsport teams, and these cars are very occasionally offered for sale. The car above has come not that long ago and apparently competing as recently as 2016. It is powered by a 1000cc engine and has a five-speed manual transmission, so it is about as basic as possible. It’s very strange to think that the division that started making them was going to make legends like the Skyline R34 Nismo Z-Tune several years later.

1
SNC

Nissan NCS

Via Nissan

That odd and downright hideous concept is the Nissan NCS, a car so odd it’s been all but wiped from the internet. There is no record of this on the company’s official website, and there are only a few places that still host these original press photos.

Nissan NCS

Via Nissan

This would have been unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in 1999, so it’s likely destined for the US market. a archived press release from 1999 claims that the car combines “the style of a sports sedan with interior versatility […] minivan or SUV “. Other than that, there really isn’t any detail about the NCS available, which is very unusual for a concept from a major manufacturer. just serves to make the concept mystery. NCS even stranger.


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