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When looking at photographs of 1980s traffic, you often encounter Japanese cars that have now almost entirely vanished – the Mitsubishi Spacewagon, the second-generation Honda Accord, and the Nissan Stanza
Few, if any, people are likely to approach Davey on seeing his 1974 Nissan and tell him ‘my dad/mum/next-door neighbour/teacher used to have one of those’. The H250-Series President was never officially sold in the UK, and Mr. Peskett ‘only bought it by fluke from Japan’. In its homeland, this was the car for senior politicians, business tycoons and the Royal Family.
Melissa Jardine’s fascination with the Laurel stemmed from her family’s old car. In 1993 her father exchanged the Nissan for a base-model Ford Sierra, but such a fine vehicle could never be forgotten.
What compiling a list of cars that now appear to have almost vanished, one question kept recurring to this writer - i.e. when I did last see a Primera? In fact, it comes as a faint surprise to recall that Nissan displayed the prototype at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show as the Primera always seems a car associated with the ‘nineties, a vehicle for the John Major years as opposed to the late Margaret Thatcher era.
‘The Arna/Cherry Europe has more myths surrounding it than most cars’ observes Eddie Rattley, Nissan expert extraordinaire.
“I’ve always been a Japanese car guy. My first car was a 1983 Suzuki SJ410, and I have had a 1985 Mazda 323 RWD estate, Suzuki SC100 and 1998 Subaru Impreza etc. I had been looking for a large classic Japanese estate car for a while and when I saw the Cedric, I had to get it”.
The Datsun 100A Cherry is an exclusive sight these days and a well-preserved survivor that has the power to evoke days of Cola Rola ice lollies and Kenny Everett announcing Celebrity Squares on ATV. It was also the first Nissan with front wheel drive and a car that helped to radically alter British attitudes towards Japanese imports.
Through no fault of their own, some cars never seemed to establish a niche in the UK. In Spain, the SEAT 133 was regarded as the heir to the 850. However, British motorists were perplexed by what seemed to be an enlarged Fiat 126. The Cherry Europe was the product of an ambitious agreement between Nissan and Alfa Romeo, but it seemed to have no apparent role in Datsun GB’s line-up.
From the deliciously fun Mazda MX-5 to that driving school favourite, the Mk2 Nissan Micra, the 1990s gave us plenty of engaging, characterful cars (and more than its fair share of barnstorming sports cars, too). Here are some of the decade's best sellers.
It's clear that the electric car movement is gathering pace, with cars like the Tesla Model 3, Kia e-Niro, Volkswagen ID and Nissan Leaf now familiar sights on our roads. This is good news, because electric cars are, on balance, better for the planet than their petrol or diesel counterparts.
A little over 37 years ago, Nissan and Alfa Romeo signed an agreement that eventually produced one of the most notably unsuccessful cars of its generation. Even now, the question is often asked in motoring circles – ‘was the Arna a Nissan Cherry with the build quality of the average Alfa?’