Thirty years have passed since the Figaro was marketed: the name can’t say much in Europe, where it never arrived (except for very few specimens that have landed in the UK), but in Japan they remember this fun little car and the excitement it evoked.
Besides the sympathy it can inspire, the Figaro – although not a re-proposal of a specific model – is considered the predecessor of a trend, is the trend of “auto revival”, re-releases or modern reinterpretations of classic models, such as the new Volkswagen Beetle, Mini or Fiat 500.
The Nissan Figaro is the latest model for the Pike Cars program, a series of retro-style cars built to promote the Nissan branding concept (even if it came out without the home emblem) among the general public.
The Japanese manufacturer at that time had a reputation for quality (largely acquired from the powerful off-road vehicles of the Patrol family and Navara pickups), but it suffered from a not very flashy image.
The first Pike cars were the Be-1 and the Pao, based on the first generation Micra. One was essentially reminiscent of a Mini Cooper, the other echoed some elements of the Renault 4, Citroen 2 CV, and Fiat 500, both of which were Made in a limited series.
The Figaro entered the line, which debuted as a concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1989 and immediately received a high level of recognition: in the face of an expected production of 20,000 units, orders exceeded 300,000, forcing Nissan to keep a car. Lottery Reward cars, produced since 1991.
The Figaro’s success was certainly the line: the front summoned the Datsun Fairlady, a compact sports car from the 1960s, while the cabriolet body with firm, overhead skid bars also recalled the Autobianchi Bianchina Trasformabile and was an anthem for the. Simple and elementary lines for the French and Italian cars of the 1950s. Not only in small shapes and dimensions, but also in designing and operating various switches and levers.
Even the colors were a clear nod to the past, with only four available, all strictly pastel (emerald green, blue, cream, and dark gray), while the technical part, i.e. the mechanics and the equipment, was contemporary.
The engines were Micra engines, including the 1.0 75 hp turbo, and the very complete equipment with air conditioning, power steering, power windows, CD radio, and leather upholstery.