$1,673 Diesel Datsun! 1982 Datsun Maxima

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This transitional vehicle is a 1982 Datsun Maxima and it’s located in Morris, Manitoba, Canada – right between Winnipeg and the North Dakota border. It’s listed on eBay with a price of $2,200 Canadian, or $1,673 good ol’ US dollars! That’s about twenty times less than the price of a new Nissan Maxima! That’s not a big head-scratcher for me, I’ll take twenty used cars like this one for the price of one new car any day of the week.

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1982 was right when Datsun started switching over to using the Nissan name for their vehicles in the North American market. It was also the first year that the Datsun 810 became the Datsun Maxima instead of the Datsun 810 Maxima. Confused yet? This first-generation 810/810 Maxima/Maxima was made between 1980 (for the 1981 model year) and 1984 when they carried both the Datsun and Nissan badges. “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” Nissan showed you more badges that you may have needed to see, but it was as confusing to consumers back then as it is trying to explain that transition period now.

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This car looks great, especially for a 34-year old vehicle, I don’t see any rust, dents, or dings at all and the seller doesn’t mention anything like that. To say that the photos aren’t the best is a bit of an understatement. I have never understood why some folks don’t spend a little more time to at least clean their vehicle and then take photos somewhere other than in a cramped garage where you can’t even get the entire car in a shot. The seller just got this car from someone in Tennessee one short year ago and then promptly parked it for the winter! That either explains how it’s been so well-preserved over the decades or it raises a bit of a red flag. Why would anyone go through all the trouble and expense of getting a car from another country (albeit, an adjacent one), and deal with customs and licensing and duties, not to mention probably spending at least $1,000 in shipping fees, and then park it for several months as soon as they get it, and then sell it a year later? For a scant $1,673?! Who knows, but, it sure looks great, doesn’t it!

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This car has an automatic transmission, a “3-speed with a lockup converter”, but a 5-speed manual was available, unlike in today’s Maxima. In keeping with the theme, the interior photos almost couldn’t be any less inviting to potential bidders or any more contrast’y and hard to view then they are. But, what is discernible sure looks great! That classic light blue velour almost looks like a couple of suits that I had in this era. In 1981, the Datsun 810 Maxima was the first talking car available in the US! Coincidentally, 1982 was when the TV show, Knight Rider, came out which featured KITT, “an advanced artificially intelligent, self-aware and nearly indestructible car.” Hmm.. I smell a marketing opportunity. I had a LeBaron convertible that talked to me whenever I left my lights on or, God forbid, when my door was ajar!

A pro tip for sellers of nice vehicles like this one: at the very, very least, vacuum and wash your vehicles before posting them for sale, they will look their best and will most likely bring quicker, and higher, bids than dirty, seemingly-unloved, seemingly-unmaintained vehicles will. It’s literally that easy. One hour spent on just washing the exterior and vacuuming the interior of this car would have made a world of difference in the presentation of it. But, even in its unwashed and unvacuumed state, this car looks fantastic for being 34-years old. The seller says that this Maxima has AC, cruise, power windows, and power locks, a true luxury car of the era. Today this would be a mid-sized car but in 1982 this was the big one for Datsun/Nissan.

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Here’s where things get really cool, at least they do for me, being a lover of all things unusual. The exterior of this car, and of most cars of this era, is boxy, some would say bland, and there isn’t much sizzle or really a big design feature or even a lot of crisp detailing. But, once you pop the hood things change in a hurry. This Nissan LD28, 2.8L six-cylinder diesel won’t get you anywhere in a hurry with only 80 horsepower and 130 ft-lb of torque, but you’ll get 30 mpg in this 3,000 pound car with you and four friends in it, and like most diesels you’ll be able to enjoy it for years and years to come. This car has 144,000 miles on it and the seller says that it runs and drives great and everything works. I can’t believe the price on this car! If it was on the US side of the border it would be hard to pass up, but I’ve never imported a vehicle from another country, even from Canada. Have any of you folks in the US ever imported a vehicle from Canada, or from any other country? What do you think about this diesel Datsun? I think that it’s a killer deal, this would be a fantastic road trip car!

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Comments

  1. Rocko

    Easy as 123, especially if the car came from the states , no duties no taxes, just waved back in ! Literally drive thru !

  2. Bingo

    I like Blazing Saddles more than I like this car. It’s too vanilla.

  3. Royal Ricci

    I was trying to buy this car earlier this year when it was on ebay.

    • al8apex

      how much was it then?

      • Royal Ricci

        He wanted around 2700 to 2900 American.
        This listing has better pics this time around.

  4. Howard A

    I believe it was Jerry Seinfeld that remarked about the Asian’s adding an “A” to car names. Maximum? No, Maxima. Accurate? No, Acura. I had a friend that had a car like this, only a gas job, and he said, you literally HAD to set the speed control, because 80 mph didn’t feel any different than 50 mph. I’d think the diesel would be the same. While I made my living with diesels, I never once considered them a viable alternative to gas motors, for any of my vehicles. These have 6 figure odometers, and Asian gauges are usually pretty dependable, so the mileage, I’m sure is correct. Plenty of miles left. Be a good beater to drive into the ground ( sorry Scotty)

  5. AMCSTEVE

    Boring car. 30 mpg is the average for a new car these days so no gain there. It’s cheap but to old to make it a daily for me. I’ll take a beater Honda or Toyota that are plentiful and more dependable for the same scratch as this lump.

  6. Jay M

    This car has been for sale locally (Winnipeg Kijiji) for months at $3,500 obo Can.
    If he imported it correctly(no mistakes on the documents), and if he was able to get a provincial safety (no damage or rust on frame) I don’t see why he couldn’t sell it locally.
    It does have a licence plate on the back in one pic, although he may have purchased a temporary 3 day tag for insurance purposes; to take it to a mechanic for the required safety.
    Seems odd he is trying to sell it back to someone in the US, after going thru the hassle of importing it to begin with.
    I would strongly suggest asking to see the R.I.V documentation from the border crossing, and the Manitoba safety before bidding.

    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      That is great info, Jay, thanks much. The seller got back to me and said that “I had family travelling that rought it for me..” I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be bought it for him or brought it for him, as in drove it across the border. He said that it’s a half-hour of paperwork at the border to get it back to the US. It seems like too low of a price to me for such a nice car.

    • Royal

      Please explain what the RIV is plus any other information you have to share.

      • Gene

        RIV is registry of imported vehicles, a federal agency that handles car imports. In order to be imported through RIV, the car would have had to be taken through US Customs first, where the title would have been permanently cancelled. I have no idea if that can be undone, but it would be difficult. If it was never properly imported to Canada, just bring the title or a previous registration to show at the border. If you’re trailering it without a plate it’s a good idea to fax the US ownership documents to the border station 72 hours in advance. Otherwise they can make you hang around Pembina, ND for three days and believe me, that’s no fun.

  7. orangedude

    pro-tip 2. The crank out of the diesel turns a 280Z gas motor into a nice 3.1 stroker motor with a little bit of machining for clearance

  8. Royal

    I have a video of this car driving. Body is nice, but Interior seats are worn.
    I think he wanted the motor but the car is so nice that he would like to sell it.
    I was seriously looking to buy this car, but my money is tied up.
    Will be reaching out to him soon.

  9. Eddie

    Bring To Me In Phoenix,ARIZ And I’ll Buy It On The Spot !!!

  10. Eddie

    If You Still Have It In Couple Months I’ll Be Able To Come Up There And Buy It From You !!!

  11. Eddie

    It’s A Great Car And I Want To Buy It !!

  12. Eddie

    I Have A Nissan Sentra With 180,000 miles on it And It Still Runs Great And I’m Not Going To Sell It Any Time Soon I Love It I Drive It Every Day Down Here In Phoenix City Driving It Has A 5 Speed Stick. Nissan Or Datsun Very Well Build And I Had A 1971 Datsun Truck Back Then Great Truck Always Ran Great ,Ive Own Alot Of Car In My Days ,The Nissan And Datsun Was The Best !! I’ll Buy This Car If I Can Get Up There.

  13. Jesper Member

    This engine can easy run 500,000 miles. Its like a Mercedes diesel.
    Not fast, but you can’t kill it.

  14. Royal

    I called Customers up there at that crossing and explained the situation and they explained as long as the car had a manufacturer tag on the door sill saying it complied to US law which is had to have since it came from here, then it would be okay.

    I was thinking of driving it back through Canada and crossing in NYS where I live.

    • RichS

      From the CPB website (Customs and Border Patrol) page at https://www.cbp.gov/trade/basic-import-export/importing-car

      Re-Importing A Previously Exported Vehicle
      A vehicle taken from the United States for non-commercial, private use may be returned duty free by proving to CBP that it was previously owned and registered in the United States. This proof may be a state-issued registration card for the automobile or a bill of sale for the car from a U.S. dealer. Repairs or accessories acquired abroad for your vehicle must be declared on your return and may be subject to duty.
      In some countries, it will be difficult or impossible to obtain unleaded fuel for your vehicle. If the vehicle is driven using leaded gasoline, it will be necessary for you to replace the catalyst and oxygen sensor upon its return to the U.S. To avoid the expense of replacing these parts you may obtain authorization from EPA to remove the catalyst and oxygen sensor before the vehicle is shipped overseas. The EPA telephone number for these authorizations is (202) 564-2418. When the vehicle returns to the U.S., the original catalyst and oxygen sensor will need to be reinstalled. However, you may now reenter your U.S. version vehicle into the U.S. without bond, upon your assurance that you will have the reinstallation performed.

  15. David Miraglia

    Using a Nissan Sentra now. Had a 200sx sei coupe, but it was wrecked in a hit a run accident. The Maxima was much nicer looking than the Cressida. Back to my high school days with this one.

  16. chad

    yeah, looks like the stoggy 240 of old.
    I can C Y he’d want the motor (or the
    US guys wanting the vehicle)…

  17. Gay Car Nut

    I remember the Datsun Maxima. I was too young at the time to drive. But I remember finding this way more attractive than anything else offered by Toyota or Mitsubishi.

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