COAL Capsule #11: 1983 Datsun-Nissan Maxima–The Talking Car

Nissan 1983 Maxima

This was my second nostalgia-driven purchase, as my dad owned a grey 1982 Datsun Maxima when I was growing up. For the princely sum of $280, this car was mine. I drove all the way to upstate NC in the Durango next to it and then towed it back to South Carolina, where I was staying at the time. It started right up after sitting in a field for ten-plus years. That’s old-school Nissan for you. Try THAT in your 2012 Maxima 30 years from now.

I absolutely LOVE the sound of the L24e motor (except for fuel injection, essentially the same motor  offered in the 240Z). A little-known fact is that the L-series motor was loosely based on an older Mercedes SOHC inline-six design. I also love the styling of these older Maximas. I’m a firm believer that there is beauty in simplicity–it’s tasteful and attractive, without drawing attention to itself. It also handled well, and the voice command feature still worked (Key in ignition, *bing*, key in ignition, *bing*) and wowed everyone who rode in my car.

This car had the dumbest automatic transmission I had ever witnessed; it maddeningly hunted back and forth between third and fourth gears. Sadly, even a Datsun Maxima can’t sit in a field that long without sustaining long-term damage, which showed itself in the form of a rusted-through strut tower and a blown head gasket. The fact that it ran as well as it did was a testament to Datsun, and despite the condition I sold it in, I still made $500 off it. Amazing. I’d love to find a five-speed version someday and perform an L28et swap.