The Nissan Figaro was a limited-production, high visibility “halo” car, intended solely for the Japanese market. Based on existing Nissan Micra mechanicals, the “retro styling car” was intended to provide “delicate elegance” and “trendy sophistication” with a sense of ‘60s retro styling, “satisfying a zestful desire for a good time.” It was first shown at the 1989 Tokyo Motor show. The name comes from Mozart’s comic opera “The Marriage of Figaro.” The Figaro proved to be so popular that the original run of 8,000 vehicles was increased to a total of 20,000. Potential buyers had to enter a lottery in order to purchase a car; winners were then notified if their car would be produced in March (8,000 cars), June (6,000), or August (6,000). Wildly popular in their intended market, they also became quite a commodity on the used-car market, with many Figaros finding their way to the UK, another RHD market. The roofline and folding top of the Figaro mimics some 1950’s Italian cars particularly the Autobianchina Transformabile and the Vespa 400.
Manufacturer: Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.
Country of Origin: Japan
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine: 987cc, turbocharged and water-cooled I4, 76hp
Transmission: 3 speed automatic
Years of Production: February-August 1991
Number Produced: 20,000
Original Cost: 1,870,000 Yen ($13,651)