It might be hard to remember a time when Nissan last built some regular-but-hip cars. This nearly perfect 1986 Stanza Wagon comes from that time as an incredible boxy wagon with the sliding doors and convenience of a minivan. While the Bring a Trailer auction is in its final hour, you still have a chance to bring it home for what could be cheap.
The funky wagon, named the Prairie in Japan, hit its home market in 1981 before spreading its wings throughout the world. When it landed in America in 1982, it was called the Multi in Canada and the Stanza Wagon here in the States. Yes, this is a different car than the Stanza hatchback and sedan despite having the same name. But it does share the same powertrain.
The Stanza’s boxy shape and features have sparked debates about what it really is, even today. Is it an early crossover? Is it a minivan?
Indeed, it rides on a front-wheel-drive platform with optional four-wheel-drive like a crossover. But how many crossovers have sliding doors like an old Dodge Caravan? Check these things out: Look, Ma! No B-pillars!
Inside, the interior is airy with its expansive greenhouse and what looks like ample room. This one on Bring a Trailer seats five, but these had seating for up to eight people in some markets. It’s hard to picture one of these that loaded up.
I really like the dashboard, too.
Like a minivan, it doesn’t have a center console and the dashboard layout is tight. It reminds me a bit of my Suzuki Every kei van with compact areas for the radio and HVAC controls.
Meanwhile, the gauges sit recessed inside of a box and feature a fantastic grid overlay.
Power comes from a fuel-injected 2.0-liter CA20E inline-four making 97 hp.
That’s mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, which sadly in this one just goes to the front wheels. The car is listed as having all of 50,000 miles under its wheels, and considering how clean it looks, I believe it.
Part of why it looks so good comes from a repaint earlier this year. That fresh paint already has some scratches, and there is some overspray. Another disappointing note is mismatched tires.
Curbside Classic and the Truth About Cars call this a crossover, but I’m not convinced. The Stanza Wagon has more features in common with old minvans such as that low floor, huge greenhouse and lack of a center console. That’s to say that this car is a rad van and an awesome wagon at the same time.
Whoever buys this one gets a service manual and a clean California title. The car itself has also seen an ignition system tune-up and some fresh parts such as axles and belts. It’s currently bidding at $4,200 on Bring a Trailer with an hour to go. That’s a decent price for a mildly-quirky wagon perfect for cruising car shows.