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Parked for 25 Years: 1981 Nissan Maxima

After sitting parked in a garage for 25-years, the owner of this 1981 Nissan Maxima has kicked the car back into life and is now ready to move it on to a new home. It is a clean and tidy looking car and has survived remarkably well for a Japanese car of this vintage. The Maxima is located in Hauppauge, New York, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Maxima has now reached $1,900, and with the reserve now met, it does look like this is a car that will be on the move very soon.

The first thing that I will say having owned two similar cars to this one, is the fact that it is rust-free is a pretty significant win for the next owner of the Maxima. They were quite prone to rust, but if this one has survived for this long and remained clean, then it really must be a good one. The owner says that the Medium Blue Metallic paint is good, but it isn’t perfect. There is a scrape on the passenger side rear door, and a few other chips and marks, but otherwise, it’s actually pretty good. If the rockers, lower quarter panels, lower doors, and around the rear window are clean and rust-free, then the next owner is definitely onto a winner here. One really nice feature of this car is that it is fitted with a factory sunroof, and this shows no signs of leaking, which means that the seals should be in good condition.

Another weak point of Maximas of this vintage was interior trim, with the plastic tending to either become very brittle or discoloring badly. Even when new, the color consistency of some of these items wasn’t great, and time tends to exacerbate this problem. The trim in this one looks solid, but you can see plenty of evidence of the discoloring that I was referring to. There probably isn’t a lot that can be done with that short of either dying it or trying to source replacement items. Interestingly, the one area that seemed to avoid turning brittle was the dash and pad, and these ones do look good. The rest of the interior trim appears to have survived quite nicely, and in addition to the previously mentioned sunroof, the Maxima is fitted with air conditioning that blows cold, a cassette player, power windows, power locks, power left and right mirrors, cruise control, and a power antenna. It also has the voice warning system to remind the driver to shut off the headlights, which is a bit creepy the first time that the car suddenly decides to talk to you. One other positive feature of the Maxima is the bucket seats. These are some of the most comfortable seats that you will ever find in a production car, and a number of times I clocked up in excess of 600 miles in one day behind the wheel and felt fresh when those journeys ended.

Lurking under the hood of the Maxima is the L24E straight-six engine, while the car also features a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power 4-wheel disc brakes. Those brakes alone are one of the highlights of the Maxima and were as good, and in most cases better, than any system available on any comparable car of the time. After sitting for so many years, the owner flushed the fuel system and replaced all the fluids, and the engine kicked happily into life. This doesn’t actually surprise me, because the L-Series engines are pretty tough old things. The owner says that the engine runs nicely, and the car is smooth and powerful.

This Maxima really does look like a good one. The fact that it has survived so well for 38-years is a real positive because while these did sell in pretty respectable numbers, the vast majority succumbed to the dreaded tin-worm many years ago. They aren’t the most exciting car on the planet, but the high mortality rate of the model makes them something of a rarity today. If the bidding remains low on this one, it could be quite a good thing.


  1. Winnipegcarnut Member

    DD this for summer, 500SEC for weekends only.

    Like 4
  2. MrBZ

    Always loved early Maximas/810s. Z-squared.

    Like 4
  3. slimwhitman

    I owned an ’81 810 Maxima until a few years ago. It was a tough champ with an un-killable engine. As mentioned by the author, the tinworm finally made me give it up as it became unsafe and unsightly. I hope it brings bigger money so a serious buyer preserves it.

    Like 2
  4. RoughDiamond

    Love the color and the clean no nonsense styling. Would love to have this as a DD.

    Like 3
  5. Duaney

    This Maxima survived in excellent condition by being garaged all it’s life. Hope the new owner keeps it in one also.

    Like 1
  6. Little_Cars

    To mis-quote Robert Palmer, “Simply Indestructible.” Now that this one has survived the ravages of time to now, next owner needs to keep it garaged, away from moisture of any kind, and maintain it like a new car. Otherwise, this old girl will deteriorate like so many have done before. This and the 810 wagon from last week would be a good start to one’s very own Nissan Heritage Collection.

    Like 0
  7. Steve D

    SoCal 81′. My Dad bought 4 of these for his outside salesman. One was a stick the rest were autos. It was not uncommon for these guys to rack up 75k a year on a car. My younger brother rolled the manual completely over and back on its wheels on his way to Big Bear. Ruined his new skis but didn’t even break any glass. He even drove it back down the hill. These things were an unbelievable value. If I saw this earlier I would have bought it.

    Rear wheel independent suspension!

    Like 1
  8. slimwhitman

    $2,550 final selling bid? Are you kidding me? What a buy!

    Like 3
  9. Gay Car Nut

    Awesome looking car! I remember when the Datsun was on the US market. The Datsun (810) Maxima was my favourite car. I was too young to drive at the time. But I’ve always preferred at the time Nissans and Datsuns than Toyota.

    Like 0
  10. Valentin Arzola

    1984 Nissan/ Datsun Maxima. This was my first car bought it in 1992 with 104k miles. Wish I would have seen this when it was being auctioned.

    Like 0
  11. Car Nut Tacoma

    Awesome looking car. I find this way more attractive than the current generation Nissan Maxima. It seems like the more changes a car maker makes to a car’s appearance, the more I like the previous generation car.

    Like 0

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