A Nissan Figaro That Wants To Be Different

The cars that Nissan made during the ’90s well and truly put its latest offerings to shame. It seemed there was a more evident and perceivable feel of uniqueness back then; now imagination is scarce at the Yokohama-based manufacturer as it continues to churn out lifeless CVT-equipped transportation modules that are about as exciting to look at as your average kitchen appliance.

Take the retro-style Figaro for example. It’s cars like this that put the ‘DM’ in JDM; quirky, low-production models built on established platforms. That’s how this two-seater, fixed-profile convertible based on the March (Micra for those of you in Europe) came to be in 1991. It was fun, curious looking and it helped contribute to Nissan’s image of being a daring and cool manufacturer.


So when I came across this particular example at last weekend’s Mooneyes Street Car Nationals event in Odaiba, I knew I had to share it with you guys. You don’t see many Figaros on the road in Japan any more, let alone one as customized as this – Porsche 911 GT3 RS-inspired color scheme and all.


But it’s definitely not all about looks. The Figaro has been dropped on Kerscher five-spokes wheels and low-profile rubber that together have necessitated the addition of screwed-on fender flares. There are even compact little 4-pot Endless calipers in the mix, the same model you often see used on circuit and drift-spec AE86s.


Although these cars came turbocharged from factory, the front-hinged bonnet reveals a seriously-tuned CG swap breathing through a row of velocity stacks.


The custom headers are obviously inspired by the race ones you commonly see on L-series motors or even the rare S20 that powered the original GT-R.


And the ’70s race cars inspiration doesn’t end there either; the little oil cooler fitted on the front bumper is another cool touch.


There’s a lot of red going on in the semi-exposed interior thanks to an extensive custom retrim.


Like the Pao, Be-1, and S-Cargo that were also built on the March platform, it’s Figaros like this that make you long for the times when Nissan still had a sense of humour and wasn’t scared to try funky stuff.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Speedhunters wow!!!


@speedhunters that's not a MA, but a CG series from a March k11, probably a CG13 from a k11 March #G




This is why I love speedhunters! 
I have a suggestion - make a reader's rides section and/or reader's photos. 
SH is so well known that the variety of posts would be staggering. 
Discover new feature cars & photographers.  To 
Distinguish the section from SH material so it doesn't flood front page
We get to 
ee sh*t tons of new cars in one place - as opposed to google and so many different sites. I feel that sometimes your scope is limited by time, photographers, trends, etc. While there are forums like stancenation, I feel the forum layout is crap compared to yours. Also, their scope is limited too by category and # of viewers. 
- make a user sub section with the same layout of SH (big photos and comments section)
- SH has the quantity and variety of viewers no other car site can match
- interaction with owners/builders!!! 

I don't know how you make money but if it's related to site visits this would be lucrative. Would require server space and a bit of site development.

Nickay Kitsune

bluestreaksti best idea ever...


nissan is totally unafraid of funky stuff even now. cf: Murano CrossCabriolet, Juke, Cube.they're unique, category-defying machines, the likes of which one would never imagine coming from Honda or Toyota.
i don't know why people hate these cars, either. the Murano CC is a clever idea that makes the fun part of a convertible - the view, the air, riding around with friends - even more fun. the Juke is a weirdo tall hatchback that looks like an alien reptile. the Cube is a little washing machine on wheels with an asymmetrical design. they're as weird as the Figaro, but they get no respect for being adventurous.


@jk Everyone hated on the Juke when it appeared on the first shows - now you see them everywhere


bluestreaksti after two weeks that section would be full of advertisement and clickbait


Hmm. The Figaro.
Ack. No. Too far man. Too far.
It's one of the very, very few cars I just can't see past the badge/driver type on. It's literally (correct use) two cars, in the entirety of the auto-world. I'm open to everything. I like to see what drivers take and make their own. I'm a bad person for refusing to re-consider my knee jerk reaction on those two cars. I accept that.
The Figaro is much like the Fiat 500 in my eyes...
Cars driven by people into "scenes" and 1940's Haircuts, trilby hats and wearing fake wayfarers, tight jeans and folk-rock, people who like cars that can't make it up proper hills and the kind of people into "pop up restaurants" ... People who wouldn't know real class and style let alone a good red wine without a pointers and life hacks app on their phone.
It's a little ready made way of saying "I'm different, and kooky just like everyone else who attended cochella or wishes they had the natural oddness of dechanel" without needing to know much about cars. Usually, It's lazy hipsterisming.
I'm rather taken with this one mind you. Perhaps it's the lack of taupe on fawn 2tone that they all seem to have been imported in, maybe it's the fact this one has a motosport theme and as such makes me question my fragile sexuality less for liking it, but like it I do. Top work.
(At least the cappuccino is usually driven by people who actually need the glasses they are wearing)


TarmacTerrorist I have an Abarth 500 and am literally the exact opposite of what you described


funny to accuse people of being intellectually lazy when you've just thrown out every "vapid hipster" stereotype you could fit in one post. that's about the laziest complaint you could have about the Figaro - the only noteworthy thing in your rant was that you're three years late. hipster-bashing is over.

sometimes people just like cute little cars. why does anyone need to "know anything about cars" to know that the 500 is adorable and fun? what authenticity is missing from that, respected sommelier? maybe people should be allowed to genuinely like what they like without your approval.

besides, have you driven a 500 Abarth? the car is a riot.


Haha! Brilliant. More of this sort of thing please guys. :)


Great modified car. To be fair, Nissan still are trying funky stuff, look at the Juke


@jk TarmacTerrorist "hipster bashing is over."

Umm no it isn't. People still hate on hipsters


I loved everything about this build until we got to the external oil cooler, if ever there was a trend that I dislike more then excessive camber it's this... Apart from that it's a perfect quirky little car that I would love to have in my 'dream garage'


I wasnt expecting to like this, but i really, really do.

SO cool.!!!!


That looks sweet! How many of our girls would fit into such a small car? That would b a funny video ;-)


TarmacTerrorist Lighten up, dude. You take yourself way too seriously.


JonathanW Agreed, how long before someone step on this oil cooler with its feet ?


I'll bet that's a hoot to drive, I hope its on air though, that low would be a nightmare day to day


I typically really dislike orange but this car looks down right fantastic. I'd drive it any day.


BSA I think you guys take HIM way too seriously, you didnt see how much he was laughing at the computer screen when he was typing it!! TT you know Mel totally disagrees with you!! A modded Figaro may be the only way I can.... A, get her to complete her driving licence and B, actually do some car modding with my Wife!!!! Lol!


Although the GT3 RS-inspired color scheme is a bit much for me, I really dig this thing!


Diggin it.

Gianluca FairladyZ

what a cool car! i just like these figaros! should i get married one day i'll hire a figaro and drive to the church with it!

Gianluca FairladyZ

by the way speedhunters, the Kerscher wheels are not really "kerscher" They're just rebranded AZEV Typ A wheels ;) Very old school, and very nice!


would have hid the oil cooler somewhere out of sight. otherwise very clean mod


@jk TarmacTerrorist id hardly call my stereotyping lazy, personally the red wine and life style apps I felt really brought my stereotyping up to date. 
it was all tongue in cheek, I'm sorry you took me far too seriously. While I was making light of the issues however, Hipster bashing isn't over and has a real point to make in the UK: 
People, nay Citizens of Shoreditch that have lived there for decades, life blood of London are still plagued by the trilby set, and their cereal cafes and overtly expensive pie and chip shops. The willingness of the demographic I was bashing to pay through the nose to live in Shoreditch and Dalston pushes up the local housing prices forcing normal, everyday, common people out of the city they live and breathed for. kinda sucky. we even had a small riot in Shoreditch late last year by real Locals and Anarchists wanting their High street and homes back. 

as to driving an Artbath: Yes, well, I tried, Im too tall, physically could not get behind the wheel with my legs and not have my head poking out the roof. long torso, long arms, massive shoulders, freely admit it looked like someone had shaved a gorilla and tried to push it into a 500. 

People can like what they like, my posts on this site endorse freedom of choice and freedom to do what an owner likes with their car, I've ended up in a few fights standing up for that. I rarely- no scrap that, I have NEVER posted negatively about others cars, I go on to sing the praises of this particular Figaro. This was mostly satire, mimicking those who don't understand freedom of choice, or how freedom of speech works IRL.

Read it again, it may come across as my pointing out the flaw in that way of thinking towards the end when not read with hostility (as its poking fun at Marques you enjoy).


If it gets her driving, then I'm all for it, if it gets her modding I'm even more for it! I'm really impressed by the one above, Emma had one and I had to take it for its service... I pulled a muscle in my neck due to the "side ways my head will fit" stance I had to take to get me inside it. Just felt really claustrophobic (way more so then a mini) and also made me feel like a giant.
I'm glad someone gets my warped sense of humour dude. (You have no choice really I know, but still!)


I never, ever take myself seriously, sorry if that wasn't clear (however I even called into question the fragility of the masculin alpha-male's id with the line about "questioning my own sexuality"...I thought it somewhat obvious I was taking the piss, sorry for that)


i don't think you have a right to decide that young, affluent urbanites like cars because they want to be "kooky and different", rather than simply because they're cute cars (that's why i like 500s, fyi). more importantly, for a satire, there's not anything funny in your post! the whole thing was ill-spirited put-downs. (throwing in a joke at your own expense doesn't change that.) the punchline of the joke was, "those people are part of a group i consider inferior." that's what i'm calling you out on here. i have no problem with a joke at someone else's expense, but it usually involves humor.

look: gentrification is a real issue, including here in America (though not in small-town Texas where i live). i'm all in favor of having a conversation about it, but you do that conversation no favors when you paint with a broad brush. what you have to say about the rising price of city living is valuable, and i am not joking about that. as the children of first-generation suburbanites return to cities, it's an increasingly important topic. if your means of addressing it is to denigrate the people driving rents up as emptyheaded and inauthentic, why do you suppose they'd bother listening to you?


TarmacTerrorist to be clear, it doesn't matter much to me what you think about any given car. i like the 500, love how the Abarth sounds, but the shifter felt sloppy and i did not like the painted dash. bought something else instead. so sure, i do like the 500, but that's not why i perceived so much negativity in your post.
i'm bitching because i think people dismiss each other so quickly, and it makes me sad. call me a dirty hippie, but we all need to spend more time listening to each other instead of stereotyping. sorry if i came off as a douche in my response.


fenejon Well it's there to hint at the old race cars, and maybe a hat-tip to kaido racers lol


Gianluca FairladyZ Thanks for that little detail. Love it when our readers chip in with random knowledge like this :)


Gianluca FairladyZ An unique choice to say the least!


FrankensteinConnelly See it's comments like this Nissan needs to see. I wonder if their marketing team bothers to research these things...obvious guess is a big fat NO!


Elite Escorts Not that's something I'd like to see!


Serge914 JonathanW Can't argue with the amount of airflow it's subjected to lol


BenCollins I don't know, they may be trying funky stuff but it's not remotely on the same league as what they used to be doing back in the nineties. Don't get me wrong, I love Nissan and it's because of this that I take digs at them as I know they could be doing so much better. They are just painfully slow at making stuff happen. The Z and GTR in production for a decade? No affordable sports car(Idx anyone!!!)? The most adventurous cars they have are the Cube and the Juke? Their electric car looks like something a pensioner would drive! All I see is much area for improvement, even their Kei car line up - which is usually a market sector manufacturers love to have fun in - can only be described as boring and unimaginative at best. So big ups to them for doing some things right (motorsport being one of them) but for the rest, they are way too conservative


@Tazbert I knew it would go down well. I'll stay on the look out!


@jk TarmacTerrorist hmn. ok, "i don't think you have a right to decide that young, affluent urbanites like cars because they want to be "kooky and different" 
huh I don't think that either, your anger is stopping you from seeing that. 

"there's not anything funny in your post! the whole thing was ill-spirited put-downs."

huh, that was the point. look I get Americans don't understand Sarcasm and I am very Sarcastic. I accept that,

"Those people are part of a group i consider inferior." that's what i'm calling you out on here. i have no problem with a joke at someone else's expense, but it usually involves humour." no human is inferior to another, the attitude you speak of is why I have toxic impressions of your "Set" - been abused by them too many times.

Look, I've been called a dirty chivvy scum bag by these people cos I drive Civics and Skylines/stageas and don't really give a damn about MPG or how something looks on the outside. (I LIKE THEM COS THEY ARE CUTE. - how the fuck is that not shallow? eh? beauty only skin deep and all that.)

 Ive been spat at because I was wearing a tracksuit when I was filling my car.
 Im also, amusingly, one of the exact people I speak of, thats right, I've got a ridiculous moustache and a penchant for hats, I WALK AROUND CAR SHOWS DRESSED LIKE A LIVING BREATHING  PG WOODHOUSE NOVEL. I make references to PG Woodhouse!.  Its the attitudes of that particular group of people that vocally abuse you to look good infront of their mates and don't expect abuse to be hurled back regardless of their style or fashion sense I am mocking. thats why I feel I can speak on it. I am one of them and I've also been on the receiving end of abuse because my look wasn't correct that day. hows that in any way ok? don't you think people might, oh i don't know, start taking offence and making snide remarks? 

I used to work in The Fashion Design Industry, Avid graphic artist. I wear oversized spectacles and concern myself with lifestyle choices. I own a large collection of vinyl and know what real coffee is. 
I don't want them to listen to me, I want people who have a shitty attitude towards other humans to get through my post and think "holy shit, I'm THAT guy" how on earth could you seriously think I was being wholly serious. 

and I stand by the fact this Figaro changed my perceptions somewhat. something you can't seem to understand.


@jk TarmacTerrorist you don't come across as being shitty dude, if anything its the written word that causes miscommunication :) we are on the same side I think but coming air it from different slip roads.


@jk TarmacTerrorist and it shouldn't matter, my opinion is mine alone, with all its faults laid out to bare. Im sure they are an excellent car if you can physically drive one. the negativity was there by design. I wouldn't call you a dirty hippy because, well, i share your feelings, I just approach dealing with it differently. Jaded is probably a good description of me.


It's actually better to be ducted inside the bumper Dino! But anyway it's the owner's car to do as they like... and cheers to you for bringing us these cool spotlights!


TarmacTerrorist i don't think we're getting through to each other, so i'm just going to cut it off. hope i didn't ruffle any feathers man. have a good one.


speedhunters_dino FrankensteinConnelly Fun fact: Nissan, right now, will sell you pastel-orange wheels for your Juke.


speedhunters_dino BenCollins

Funky != good.


Gianluca FairladyZ Actually they indeed are Kerscher Futuras :) they look nothing like the type A's


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