Find Another One: 1990 Nissan Axxess

As the fondness for weird 80s Japanese vehicles continues to grow as GenXers strive to collect cars from their youths, vehicles like this long-thought-extinct 1990 Nissan Axxess will likely become more popular than when they were new. These Dodge Caravan alternatives provided very clever packaging inside slightly unorthodox designs. This Axxess is listed here on eBay with an opening bid of $500 and a reserve; the seller says it is “show quality.” 

The Axxess began as the Nissan Stanza wagon here in the U.S., which our own Scotty G. owns a very nice example of. The Stanza was even more innovative in its packaging, and the Axxess reversed some of those neat features by adding a B-pillar back into the design and losing the trick reclining rear seats. Remember, all of this was happening in a vehicle that was barely any bigger than a normal compact car, yet it could swallow way more people and their stuff than other vehicles in the same price/size bracket.

The interior is typical early 90s Japanese, with lots of dull-colored plastics and mouse-fuzz seating surfaces everywhere. Still, it was nice packaging overall with plenty of power features and a smooth-shifting automatic (when new). The seller seems to believe this is the best example left on the road, and he may be right – but the covers of the seats and steering wheel aren’t confidence-inspiring. As you can see, it has the dreaded automatic seatbelts, one of the things I grew to loathe about my Subaru XT6 project.

Despite being referred to as “showroom” condition, there’s a nasty bump to the rear bumper cover. Good luck finding one of those, but at least the almost guaranteed-obsolete rear tail light lens panel is still intact. The seller notes he recently spent $1K to refurbish the air conditioning system, one of the first sellers I can remember in recent memory who actually did the work of making the HVAC operational. Said to have lots of factory features, including a tow package, this Axxess isn’t perfect but it’s likely one of the best examples left.


  1. elrod

    No car show would be complete without one.

  2. Classic Steel

    Looks like the perfect car to take to one school prom that has the students take a bat to the vehicle at five bucks a whack.

  3. chad

    almost perfect 4 my use (or the Stanza wagon). MVP, Summit or even colt Vista all fit in here (late 80s early 90s ‘pre mini vans’). Heck, I’m even lookin for an ’83/6 fox bodied wagon (LTD/Marquis) but there’s nothing close to me in the NE…

  4. Beatnik Bedouin

    Cars like this Nissan are at the same point that, say, Ramblers were some forty or so years ago (or my Ford Sierra wagon, when I bought it in 2010, or my ’64 Wildcat coupe, back in 1976). They’re of little interest to collectors, at this stage of their lifecycle, and so can be had cheaply, with good examples few and far between.

    If it’s of interest, buy it while nobody wants it and enjoy the drive…

    • Rube Goldberg Member

      I agree, BB, like that Rambler wagon a while back, that was what was called a “last resort” car, and only at night. It was strictly a “beater with a heater”, and beat walkin’. Collectible? Good heavens, no. Well, look at it today. Rare, not because of how many they made, but we threw them away at a horrific rate. It was common to see several Ramblers at a time, on those truck flatbeds going to the crusher. Best thing here, like you say, try and get it cheap, and run it into the ground. Still a great car ( if you can get parts, that is)

  5. Gregory

    I’m considering buying this just so I can destroy any memory of it in my mind now.
    We are all slightly guilty of betraying the automotive world letting this “thing” live

  6. irocrobb

    I guess the hard part for me is thinking this van is almost 30 years old. The older you get the faster times flies by….

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      Scary, but true, irocrob, especially when one goes out to buy something like a carb rebuild kit in 2018 and finds out what it’s going to cost! Tempus fugit, expletive it…

  7. alan

    Take an Axe to it

  8. Gay Car Nut

    I remember the Nissan Axxess. At the time, I found it hideous to look at, but still better looking than the Nissan Stanza wagon it replaced. I still find it not very attractive, but it’s better looking than what’s offered by Nissan today.

  9. ACZ

    How does this POS qualify as a Barn Find??

  10. scottymac

    I wonder what marketing genius came up with the name Axxess? Did they figure enough WW II Pacific theater veterans had died, or people had all forgotten Japan was one of the Axis powers?

  11. Steve M

    Pasco County Florida, I know they cant drive, I am surprised they could power on the computer to list this POS.

  12. jaymes

    i worked at a used car lot in high school and got one of these on the lot , i remember it being so weird. oh and hard to sell

  13. carsofchaos

    I saw one of these for sale here in NJ about a year ago, in about the same condition, for $1000. I thought about buying it just for the “WTF” factor, but I already get enough hate from “car guys” with my Versailles and my Granada so I passed.

  14. jason

    “refurbish” a/c system meaning I overpaid some ham fisted gas station “mechanics” that have no clue what they are doing to totally ruin a repairable system by putting the absolute wrong stuff in it. obviously this needs r-12 and someone put r-134a in it which of course you can do it , but u just ruined most all the parts. very few people seem to not comprehend a/c and that you can’t exactly retrofit a system from one completely different thing to another unless you spend thousands or make it some hokey generic system

  15. Jorge

    I love these little vans especially that they had the option of awd with 5 speed manual and being only a one year production and Canada having a five year production.

  16. Mark Landrum

    To all the “POS” comments: You have never driven one of these and have not even the slightest clue of what a truly great and immensly fun to own and drive car the Axxess is. I bought one new in 1990. The 2.4 liter 240sx motor paired with the five speed manual made for an amazingly fun-to-drive ride that would do ridiculous smoky burnouts through first and second gear with a chirp even in third. The suspension allowed for grand, nicely-balanced power slides as well so it works great at the autocross and hauls plenty of groceries on the way home. The motor can be flogged into oblivion and never use a drop of oil and seems ready to last forever. After 29 years and 238,000 miles, the Axxess is still the most comfortable car we have for long trips and the cloth interior still looks great. Find one in good shape and take it for a spin. You’ll have fun, I can guarantee it.

    Like 2

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