David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/29/18 9:32 a.m.

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Perhaps what was once retro is retro yet again. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Nissan released a string of classically styled small cars for the home market: the Figaro, Pao, S-Cargo, Pao and Be-1. Because they came from Nissan’s Pike Factory, together they’re often called Pike cars.

Nissan never offered the Pike cars stateside, but now is your chance: Since they have all celebrated their 25th birthdays, they can be legally imported to the U.S.

Several are already on our shores. Duncan Imports & Classic Cars of Christiansburg, Virginia, specializes in such Japanese-spec cars, and last time we checked they had more than 100 Figaros in stock. (In fact, our current values come from their inventory.) The Lane Motor Museum of Nashville, Tennessee, also has these models in their collection. “They are both quirky yet modern Japanese interpretations of older cars like the Mini,” says David Yando, manager of the Lane Motor Museum. “All the creature comforts–air con, CD player, auto trans–with the shell of an older-looking car around you.”

Speed is not their strong suit, however, Yando explains. A governor starts beeping around 55 mph–a feature that’s easily defeated, he adds. “They are cars meant to garner attention in a slow-moving, highly aware, urban society like Tokyo,” he continues. “Here, driven in Nashville, they scarcely get a second glance, except by the few who know what they are.”

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