Japanese Collectible Waits 25 Years for its American Close-up
When local Indianapolis radio personality Kristi Lee, of The Tom and Bob Show and the Kristi Lee Uninterrupted podcast, cruises into the Carmel Artomobilia in her 1991 Nissan Figaro, people stop and stare. This crowd of collector car enthusiasts has never seen a car like hers before. Is it an Italian Fiat 500 or a retro ride from the 60’s or 70’s? Few realize it is a rare Japanese collector car that has taken more than 25 years to get here.
The Story Behind the Limited Edition
In 1991, as part of Japan’s Back to the Future media series, the Nissan special projects team releases four limited edition car models exclusively to Japanese consumers: the Pao, BE-1, Figaro and S-Cargo. Selling them through a lottery system, the Figaro quickly sells out at 20,000 units – all before the first car rolls off the line. Nissan could produce more Figaro convertibles, but for some reason, they do not. Over the years, these one-year-only production models make their way to UK and Canadian collectors. With about 10,000 restored, only a handful make it to the United States. The U.S. restricts the importation of right-handed drive cars less than 25 years old. This is why Kristi’s Figaro takes so long to get here. It is worth the wait. What unique international classic cars would you like to see in America? They must be produced or sold somewhere other than the U.S. (keyword – unique!). Start compiling your list and let us know in the comments.
Italian Looks, Japanese Reliability
Based on the Nissan K-10 Micra (it sells only in Canada), the Figaro closely resembles the Fiat and other Italian cars of the 60’s. Its design is stylish yet modest. It still looks modern, even after 25 years. The fixed-profile roof is not your typical convertible. The upper elements of the car remain in place while the rag-top retracts. Leather seats, A/C, CD player and passenger side cupholders complete the interior.
Speedy Little Ride for All Seasons
While the other three models Nissan collectibles are basic economy cars, the Figaro is more. This little compact car has a top speed of 106 mph thanks to its 1-liter 4-cylinder 978cc MA 10ET-14 Supercharger engine. Can you imagine driving that speed in a VW Bug? The three-speed automatic transmission gets a respectable 32 mpg. The Figaro comes in four colors, one for each season of the year; winter is Lapis Grey, spring is Emerald Green, summer is Pale Aqua and fall is Topaz Mist. Kristi has her sights set on collecting one of each. “I have the bug now, and I want one from each season,” she laughs.
Experiencing the Passion for Classic Cars
Kristi is precisely the kind of collector that our classic classic car community needs. She falls in love with a rare collectible, goes to great lengths to get it and sings its praises to anyone who will listen. She has the passion we want to encourage in future collectors and why events like Artomobilia are so important.
2018 Artomobilia Weekend
The Carmel Artomobilia has expanded to a glorious weekend event and returns to Carmel, Indiana Friday, August 24 thru Sunday, August 26. It now features three unique days of classic and collector car activities: the Fuelicious charity event, the Carmel Artomobilia car show and Shift, a new interactive driving experience.
Collector and Classic Car Insurance for Less
Unique collector cars like the 1991 Nissan Figaro are great to see at events like the Carmel Artomobilia. Keep your classic and collectible cars safe. Before you head to your next event, protect your investment by having the right kind of insurance coverage. Let Classic Auto Insurance customize a policy to fit your needs. We offer affordable, Agreed Value coverage for a variety of collector, classic and custom vehicles. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff can answer your questions and give you a quote on the spot. Visit our website at www.classicins.com or call 888-901-1338 and see how we can help safeguard your dream car.