Whammo! Pao! 1990 Nissan Pao

Ok, I know that it’s “Pow”, and maybe Batman wouldn’t be caught dead in a 1990 Nissan Pao, but I could see Robin driving one. This one is listed on eBay with a current bid price of.. actually, there isn’t even an opening bid of $0.99 yet. The reserve is unknown as always, but these vehicles can and do routinely sell for $5,000-$10,000 or more depending on condition and this one is super cool with the panels over the rear windows. It’s located in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah.

I love this utility van look with the panels on the rear-side windows, I haven’t seen that before on a Pao. I really wouldn’t have a business use for a vehicle like this, but if I owned a coffee shop or something this would make a great delivery vehicle. The Pao was one of four Nissan “Pike” series vehicles, including the Pao, FigaroS-Cargo, and the Be-1. They were sold exclusively in Japan but a lot of them have been imported to the US and Canada over the years. Now that they’re well within the 25-year limit for getting a title, it would be fun to own one, or better yet, all four.

The Pao is the station wagon of the bunch and this one is unique with the covered rear-side windows. There isn’t a heck of a lot of room in the back if you plan on seriously hauling anything. Well, maybe not seriously, you can only be so serious driving one of these. Nissan made over 51,000 of the Pao models and they sold out in three months. And, since I mentioned a price range in the first paragraph, if you look at the seller’s asking price on the windshield, you’ll see $10,800.

Normally I’m a huge fan of lime green anywhere and everywhere, but I wish that the seats would have been a different color here. They aren’t original and I would have matched the red on the dash or on the sunroof, or just gone with the original ivory color. But, we’re not here to discuss me, if we were I’d dive right into my award-winning compare-and-contrast dissertation on Citizen Kane vs. Dumb and Dumber. I just made that up. Back to the Pao. Whatever color the seats are, they appear to be in the same fantastic condition that the rest of the car seems to be in. This is, of course, a right-hand drive vehicle so it would take a little getting used to that if you haven’t driven one before. The majority of these cars seem to be automatics which is a shame with such a small engine powering these things.

This is not a 240Z inline-six, no, sir – this is Nissan’s MA10S inline-four packing a whole 1.0 liters of Pao-punch yet with a semi-reasonable 51-52 hp. The Pao only weighs around 1,600-pounds so they aren’t as slow as you think. But, then again, they aren’t fast, either. Have any of you seen one of the four special-edition Nissan Pike series vehicles in person?

Fast Finds


  1. txchief

    A Nardi wheel…really?!?

  2. Blyndgesser

    Two Figaros for sale here in my town. But I’ve never seen a Pao in the metal, only in pictures.

  3. BronzeGiant

    Neighbor had one. From what he told me they were only available for, like, 8 months back in 1980 and there are damn few in the states. His was light blue and a sedan. Cool looking little car and he was a tall guy and still fit in it.

  4. Don H

    P0W ya prisoner​s of war is funny ,there wheel come a day when it is not so funny ,love you all .

  5. Sam

    Looks like a fun vehicle. Has some 2CV funk to its look. I found “Pao” definitions ranging from “obsolete unit of dry measure” to “box” and “valley” which seem fitting for a truck name….aka current Nissan Cube. I don’t think anyone meant to dis the military with a “POW” connotation. ka-pow to batman.

  6. KC Jones

    No P.O.W. reference inferred here. Ka-Pow comic punchline was almost visible with Adam West in the background.
    Very cool little car. Lots of coolness here today, I like the Toyota AWD car, not seen one of those in many years. The wagons were awesome.

  7. Shaggin' Wagon

    Might want to check the year. They didn’t make these until 1989. All 3 models were retro styled.

    • Scotty Staff

      Thanks for catching that typo, Shaggin’ Wagon.

  8. Lord Humungous

    You mean 1990 not 1980.

  9. Paul

    Didn’t know,these existed, thank you! Great looking fun car.

  10. Howard A Member

    Good heavens, does anybody know how to get Rice Krispies out of a computer keyboard? Everytime I see these ,,,things Scotty posts, I hear that China traffic music on Jackie Chan movies, like these are one step up from a rickshaw. Such a different way of travel. Efficiency, not like Americans, who have a 53 foot semi for 2 little boxes ( I’ve done it) This would be perfect for my cross-country bucket ride, but would probably take a lot longer on 2 lanes towing a GoldWing.
    “Hello, Wichita Auto House, how may I help you”?
    “Um, hi, I need a distributor cap for a 1990 Nissan Pao”.

  11. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I remember seeing one of these in a lot at a tire shop. I thought wow that thing must be an ancient relic…imagine my surprise

  12. SSPBill

    I’m surprised it’s as old as it is. I can recall seeing it in monthly car rags back when that’s how we got our car news. These do have to be one of the earliest production cars to have a retro-design. I personally would love to give it the “John Copper” treatment. It would be fun to chuck around some cones.

    • SSPBill

      Meant “John Cooper” there.

  13. chad

    saw a guy (youtube vid?) who changed it over to LHD. Wonder how much THAT cost?
    Don’t think I’d drive a RHD. Not due to strangeness (of any sort) just due to safety (traffic, passing, etc).
    What can folks tell me bout that?

    • AMCFAN

      Chad driving on the right side is easy and actually makes sense. Most front end collision accidents happen on the left side.I have a JDM RHD vehicle and it is a fun to drive car and I haven’t had any issues. Maybe strange looks as I am passing someone. The wipers and headlight stalks are opposite on a JDM vehicle. When turning at first you accidentally hit the wipers haha. Very fun when you get used to it.

  14. AMCFAN

    Neat cars. I was thinking about purchasing an S-Cargo (a sister vehicle) also produced in limited numbers at the same Nissan special projects factory.

    Saw one like this at Import Faceoff. Excellent build quality still shows after 25 years. Owner stated that 50 mph is tops. The transmission is a three spd auto. Not a highway cruiser. The Toyota Sera in comparison has a four spd. auto. The engine in the Sera is a 5E-FHE w/EFI and will run all day long at 75 mph with power to spare

    Know what you are buying. Would make a great in town ride only. Still like the S-Cargo but alas looks cooler then it is.

  15. chad

    “…Most front end collision accidents happen on the left side….”
    Wonder if that stat’s frm countries where the 2 opposite streams of traffic go by each other on the left (like USA). That it’s higher on the right for the Brits & their ‘influenced countries’.
    A any rate:
    “Not due to strangeness (of any sort) just due to safety (traffic, passing, etc).”
    You can legally pass on some long curves but would never see the on comming traffic.
    Thanks for the post back!

  16. John

    I am driving a Figaro around the mountains of Japan right now. Not a lot of power like a Skyline but enough. These are the nicest little mountain roads I have ever seen.

    • Jesse Staff

      Very nice John. Have fun!

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