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How Many Left? 1987 Nissan Stanza Survivor

These days, the sight of a Nissan Altima is hardly a rare occurrence; more rare is seeing one that isn’t being driven by someone lacking in hand/eye coordination. Before we had the Altima, the Nissan Stanza was the Maxima’s little brother and they have all but disappeared from American roads. Well, except for this handsome survivor here on eBay listed for a very reasonable $2,750.

The Stanza was hardly a luxury car but it offered attractive styling and decent standard equipment list for the money. It was sold in multiple markets under a variety of nameplates, but here in the US, the Stanza offered Nissan buyers an option to slide into a family-friendly sedan for less money than the driver-favorite Maxima. That’s the role of the modern-day Altima as well, but very few of those are as well-loved as this car.

The seller claims the previous owner is the only caretaker this Stanza has known, and that he saved his pennies for years before buying the Stanza in cash. The car was meticulously maintained during that time and shows under 90,000 original miles today. Paintwork gleams and the burgundy upholstery still shows well. The Stanza received a recent timing belt service and the A/C is said to still blow cold.

We love seeing details like the perfectly preserved floormats still in the trunk, along with the spot-free carpeted lining throughout the luggage compartment. Vintage Japanese cars are increasingly on the radar of emerging collectors, if only because those vehicles that were once so common are practically extinct. I wonder if we’ll ever feel the same way about an Altima with the 3.5 V6 and a 5-speed.


  1. Classix Steel

    Who cares it’s a Nissan

    Like 1
  2. sir mike

    Were nice cars in there day.But here on the east coast rust belt areas they all have since rusted away.

    Like 1
  3. JoeBazots

    Nice time capsule. Would be a great first car or going to college car.

    Like 1
  4. Bob

    Jeff, could you please explain what the very first sentence means and how it applies to this listing?

    • jw454

      Broken down, it appears to mean he believes that most everyone he’s encountered driving a Nissan Altima/Stanza has had no hand-eye coordination. While it is a poor comment to make in a forum such as this, I fail to see the relevance to the feature.

    • Patrick Lamb

      I think he is referring to seeing only elderly people driving them.

      Like 1
  5. mike D

    my daughter ” bought” one of these when she moved to So. CAL in 2000, at her Uncle’s recommendation, she practically rebuilt the thing before something ” major” went wrong ( forgot what, and when) and it wasn’t worth fixing , and dumped it for another car body held up, but every thing mechanical went kaput

  6. AF

  7. Adam T45 Staff

    Apparently there are a few people out there who seem to be a bit sensitive. I understand where you are coming from with that first sentence Jeff. There are certain makes and models of cars out there that seem to attract more than their fair share of drivers who do not appear to actually be in touch with good old Planet Earth. Here in Australia these sorts of comments used to be directed at Volvo drivers. Now given the fact that Volvo sells less than 4000 cars per year in Australia, former Volvo drivers seem to have made the move en mass to Toyota Camry’s.

    I have a word of advice for those who criticise the first sentence of this article: Don’t take it too seriously. It was meant as a bit of humour. Just remember to have a bit of a laugh because none of us get out of this alive.

    Like 1
  8. Bob

    I wasn’t being sensitive, I just didn’t understand the point and it’s relevance.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      Jeff was just comparing the rarity of two items. It is his perception that finding Altima’s driven by people who possess reasonable hand/eye coordination is as rare as finding one of these particular Nissan Sunny’s, especially in this condition. I hope that clears it up for you Bob.

  9. Maestro1

    Well done AdamT45. These cars are reliable and not much trouble if you have religion with the oil changes and stay ahead of anything required. If the Seller has done the timing chain and all else is good (get close to this car) then jump on it. It’s fine for transport, or give it to someone in your family or whom you know who will drive it gently. If the trans hasn’t been serviced lately get it done. Enjoy.

  10. Ben

    I rented one of these in Mexico about 11 years ago. It was a brand new 2 door model with a 5-speed. It wasn’t called a Stanza, though. It was called a Nissan Tsuru. I recall thinking that it looked nothing like the current U.S. Stanza, and seemed to be just like the Stanza that was sold in the U.S. in ’87. Anywho, I drove this like any average red-blooded American would drive a rental car. She squealed in 1st, and 2nd gear! I was thoroughly impressed. You couldn’t pay me to drive the automatic version.

    • Mike

      Not surprising actually, as Nissan continued building and selling the B13 Sentra in Mexico well beyond its US lifespan (1990-95). I believe it just ended in Mexico within the last 2 years.

  11. Leon

    I remember the first Altimas said Stanza Altima on the trunk

    • Kc

      Nissan should’ve stayed with the Stanza name as it does at least have a meaning.

  12. RoughDiamond

    I like this. It sort of reminds me of a smaller version Maxima. I’m not seeing this car being desirable to a collector though especially with the dents and scuffs on the vehicle.

  13. ICEMAN

    Here in Vancouver, BC, the Toyota Corolla is choice transportation module of choice for those who hold up traffic by going 10 to 20 KMs below the speed limit.
    You’re right, Adam T45, no one gets out alive.
    Here in Canada, take the advice of Red Green.
    “Keep your stick on the ice”.

  14. Rustytech Member

    Bought one of these years back as a beater for $900. It had over 150k on it when I got it. I expected it to last about a year as I was commuting over 70 miles per day at the time. I was still driving it 5 years later. When I sold it, it was nearing 400k, but tin worm caught up with it. Point is this things not even broke in. If I needed another car I’d be all over this.

  15. slimwhitman

    My 94 year old grandpa has a ’87 Stanza in perfect condition. The angular styling wears well today, but the mid-level trim makes it less desirable. When he is no longer able to drive, I may take it over, but I won’t be as kind to it. It’s not a car worth “saving”. My previous car was his wife’s ’81 Maxima, also in perfect condition when I got it, but my 13 years of winter driving ate it up.

  16. Bradshaw from Primer

    Why would you need to do a timing chain on a car with 90k on it? A chain is not a belt. when i have had trouble with chains…260 ford v8, it was the fiber timing gear that i replaced with a steel gear.

  17. Mark in WNC

    The text says timing BELT.

  18. Mark-A

    Was called Nissan Bluebird in the UK & were fantastic Taxicabs especially when it had the Diesel engine which is so good that it’s now used in the London Black Cabs FX4 I always had a want for the ZX Turbo version remember that the cleaner at a former employers had a 89/90 version on a UK “G” registration Aug 89 to Jul 90 dates

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