When first introduced to the U.S. market, the then-Datsun Maxima sought to offer a balance between fun-to-drive handling and traditional comfort in a midsize premium sedan. As the 1980s progressed, Nissan began refocusing the Maxima as a higher-tech, sportier offering, while still retaining its comfort features, such as available button-tufted velour or leather seats. This particular example however, appears lost between two worlds.
I don’t know the exact year (composite headlights peg it as an ’87 or ’88), but the bottom is all four-door sports car while the greenhouse is decidedly Brougham. Clearly aftermarket, the canvas top with C-pillar opera light and window air deflectors look like they belong on a Cutlass Ciera, and not a Maxima. They totally clash with the white wheels and body kit (which appear to be factory, or if not are a very good aftermarket job) spoiler, and blacked-out grille. I’m just totally perplexed here. If only this was one of those 1984 Maximas that was double-badged as both a Datsun and Nissan.
Cohort images by CJCZ92
I remember when these were THE hot car. All the younger guys wanted a Maxima with a “kit” (aero add-ons)!! 🙂
I LIKE IT!
Let’s Tokyo Drift our way to the opera house… 😛
The Maxima always did well with young, black professional buyers. As those buyers have aged, it is understandable that the customizations take on a diverse path. Wonder if the roof and the body kit are from different periods of the cars long life.
I am not sure this roof treatment would have worked well on a Ciera. The thin roof pillars that come with 80s boxiness make vinyl tops and Cabriolet treatments harder to pull off.
The Maxima of this generation really went all out for eighties boxiness. Combined with the shift to front drive, one would have expected a roomy interior that was quite lacking. Blame the long overhangs, short wheelbase (100 inch) and narrow Japan body.
The simcon-top gang had a solution to the thin pillars of the prefacelift FWD A-bodies – they just covered the rear quarter window.
Even GM themselves resorted to this on certain versions, but even GM who was still largely building cars a la carte never offered one on the “sporty” trims – if you wanted a fully loaded A-body from whatever division you had to choose sporty or brougham.
Nice Mullet buddy!!
BUT I like that the owner’s clearly having fun with it and would welcome them on the street or at any cruise night.
Love the body kit. The vinyl roof, etc., can only be described as gag, gag, gag. I always like the Nissan styling of this time period, from the Sentra up to the Maxima.
This car looks like it was bought new by some sucker who the dealership saw coming a mile away. I wonder how many other costly, useless, add-ons not visible in the photos are on the car.
Those rain shields are on many ex JDM cars, not sure why.
This was the first generation with FWD and it was decidedly more sporty than the prior model. It was the first Maxima with SE trim and had that totally up to date, 80s styling. The platform was basically the 4-cyl. Bluebird from Japan with a big ol’ V6 crammed in there, you can see how they stretched the nose. Long hood, short deck, hot rod.
A good chunk of the SEs went out the door with the 5-speed manual. I remember thinking how much more modern and sporty it was than the RWD Cressida. Back then there was a very high correlation between manual transmission fitment and sporty image.
The GXE trim carried over the pillow seats from the prior gen. With the GXE and SE the model was trying to bridge both worlds but the feature car takes that to a whole new level.
Yeah, my first thought was that the roof treatment would’ve worked much better on a GXE and surely the dealers back in the day knew this.
The body kit, while not factory, definitely works well with the car and the white wheels are full on 80’s monochrome aero. That part I like. The vinyl top? Ack. They work on certain cars and this is not one of them, *especially* not with the aero kit. I do wonder how long the two have coexisted.
BTW–I agree that this is an ’87 or ’88, but the Maxima had composites all the way back to ’85 which puts them in the “first wave” of cars to use them after they were legalized in the USA. I don’t think anyone had them in ’84 other than the Mark VII, for which Ford had to get last-minute approval. The tell for this being ’87-’88 and not ’85-’86 is the subtle lean back of the headlamps and grille. They were completely vertical on the ’86.
You know your Maximas. I loved the more upright grille on the 85-86s. It made the front sort of coffin nosed and those wraparound light clusters gave the look of a cool pair of sunglasses. SEs in white, black or silver were all the rage out here.
Nissan Skylines of the period underwent the same subtle change from a vertical grille to one a bit more laid back, with the same ultra-square body.
I had a set of those wheels on my 1988 Honda CRX. Wish I still had that car. if im not mistaken they were inkie wheels. I don’t know if that is spelled correctly.
What, no continental kit? No Phaeton Hood ornament, stick-on ventiports or plastichrome wheel moldings?
In some locales cars like these are often seen sporting adhesive sunshades across the windshield top emblazoned with witty monikers to describe the vehicle or its driver. This one needs a “tastefully color coordinated” banner reading “Blurred Lines” in a Broughamtastic script appropriate to its top-end treatment.
Nissan Maxima Brougham GTI D’elegance TURBO?
No, but there WAS a Nissan Cedric Turbo Brougham for a while, no lie. And it looks — about like you would imagine it looks.
That’s a Kaminari body kit; the feature car is the same color and even has the same wheels of the car Kaminari did up for photos back in the 1980’s.
Gives this square-cut boxy thing a small degree of character.
I never understood why these roof conversions all were done in a puffy cloth fabric, tinsel laden, broughamy sort of way like this, complete with coach lights no less! I draw a firm distinction between this style roof and the tightly wrapped vinyl ones common in the 60s(and very early 70s) often seen even on muscle cars, those never looked bad, and I don’t think it would look nearly as out of place in this case.
I like the bodykit, back in the 80s they actually could enhance the looks of the car without looking completely like boy racer, then ricers happened and we all know how those bodykits looked by the late 90s and 00s. Kind of like aftermarket stereos really, I can just picture a great looking and great sounding Alpine pull-out in this Maxima back in the day, now modern aftermarket stereos look like rejected props from the movie Tron
Ah, the aftermarket stereo debacle. Tron is a fitting description. There’s a debate in my house at present over whether to replace the factory Infinity head unit in our 300M with an aftermarket unit that’d add bluetooth connectivity, iPhone compatibility, etc. Aside from the financial aspect of such an “upgrade”, I’m opposing it because the factory unit was designed and component matched to the car, the factory amp would have to be disabled or replaced, and I just can’t stand the idea of some flashing whirling obnoxiously bright and colorful light box defiling the dash when the current setup is nicely integrated, color matched and dimable to the level of the other lighted areas of the interior. I may yet lose this battle, but for the moment a good quality cassette tape adapter fills the need for Pandora or MP3 playback, and the sound quality through the very good factory system is probably better than anything Best Buy is going to offer in our price range, so I’ve closed the subject for the moment.
Don’t despair on the stereo–there are many on which you can customize the brightness and color of the buttons to match your dash lighting. I’ve got an inexpensive Sony (something like $100 on sale) in the Crown Vic and I have the illumination color-matched to the soft green of the rest of the dash and the LCD clock. Looks almost like it’s supposed to be there (except for Ford’s use of double-DIN units originally which require an adapter which is somewhat lacking in fit & finish.)
Sound quality is an upgrade too, but then again, the original in my car was no great shakes. Factory amp? Surely you jest.
It goes far beyond lighting. It’s the silvery/ brushed or fake carbon carbon fiber trim and knob, glossy screened billboard exclaiming the the features it has – “I know you have Bluetooth, MP3, XM and output 50w, that’s why I bought you!!!” – teeny tiny buttons, pain the ass menues, and the round shape protruding out of my otherwise flat clean tidy satin black dash.
We did that to our Diamante when the standard double-DIN factory radio-tape-CD unit started gobbling discs. But that was fifteen years old. Don’t think I’d do it to a car like yours.
You might want to check out Parrot and GROM for adapters to add Bluetooth and/or USB functionality to your OEM stereo.
Apparently, not even the dealers at Japanese car companies are immune to the trappings of stupid looking and outdated trappings of Detroit’s malaise era. At least on Detroit’s cars that had these, the D pillar was big enough that these kinds of things made some sense to install, this just looks like a cloth laundry bag that got applied on with a nail gun.
The body kit looks right, but I think it looks right because it was designed to work with the lines of the car. The reason most aftermarket body kits look terrible, is because they use a shape that is totally against the flow of the cars lines. This Maxima is blocky enough that the body kit looks more natural than it otherwise would.
I presume we are looking at a rag-top. I hate the wheels.
I don’t find the wheels beautiful, either, but like the body kit, they suit the car – from an era when three-spoke (see: Saab) and color-matched wheels (see: Ford, GM) were in style. There are much worse aftermarket three-spoke wheels out there.
There’s no excuse for that roof, though. Yuck.
I’d like the subject car if it didn’t have that roof… it’s awful and aftermarket additions like this have no business being stuck on any car.
Probably the rarest edition of the ’85-’88 U11s was the ’88 Shiro. They were all monochromatic white including grille and wheels, clear instead of amber front signal lenses and came with a special brown suede interior. I think something less than 500 were made. There was also a Shiro Special edition of the ’88 300ZX Turbo that had a comprehensively revised suspension over standard models along with Recaro seats and pearl white monochrome paint treatment.
These monochromatic editions also remind me of ’88 Mercury Cougar XR-7s that could be bought in monochrome white, black or red… pretty sharp cars then. Also the ’87 or ’88 Mercury Sable had a white monochrome version available too.
Nissan did make an 87 Maxima SE known as the “MegaMax” that came with a body kit standard. I remember seeing these back in the day, back then everyone loved and wanted a Maxima GL/GXE or SE in the LA area.
I had to Google Shiro – “white”. Figures.
Here is a picture of my 1987 MegaMax.
Do you still have a 1987 Maxima? I need parts for my husband project car. Your Maxima is beautifully kept. I would love to get his fixed up and surprise him.
Hate all of it: the junk body kit, the white wheels, the whole monochromatic cliche, to say nothing of the vinyl top. A low in 80s styling and taste.
Adding a body kit to an already unimaginative design is putting lipstick on a pig. Like putting a spoiler on a 66 Dodge Coronet sedan. A brick can be attractive [Volvo] with some thought. The Maxima had zero styling and zero presence. Adding crap to it, just makes it look silly.
Sorry, the mono look only reminds me of neighbors down the street who took a brown 60 Dodge Dart Seneca and painted it, chrome, grille and all a baby blue. With a brush.
+1. This thing is uglier than Oprah.
Needs a sticker on it that says “Hoover” in red letters.
i hate to bump , But here gos BUMP
Love to know if there are more of these old girls out there, please shoot me a note if you have an old mega max shiro, se 87 88 maxima, alive or dead in the weeds, dont matter curious how many survivors are out there, firstname.lastname@example.org