Junkyard Gem: 1984 Nissan Sentra Hatchback Coupe XE

Junkyard Gem: 1984 Nissan Sentra Hatchback Coupe XE


Nissan has been promoting Sentras in the US since 1982, when it was one of many first fashions (after the Stanza) to dispense totally with Datsun branding right here. The primary era of Sentra was produced by way of the 1986 mannequin yr, and most of the examples I’ve present in automobile graveyards have been stripped-down base fashions with nary an improve within the consolation, comfort and/or look departments. At present’s Junkyard Gem is a distinct sort of early Sentra: a top-trim-level coupe filled with nearly each choice accessible, present in a Northern California yard just lately.

What’s additional bizarre about this automobile is that it began its profession as an Avis rental. Rental fleet patrons in the US are compelled to shell out for computerized transmissions, for apparent causes, however low cost subcompact leases of the center Eighties usually did not get extras past that.

The MSRP for the ’84 Sentra XE hatchback coupe with computerized transmission was $7,299, or about $22,038 in 2023 {dollars}. That was $150 ($453 now) greater than the worth of the identical automobile with a five-speed handbook, which was an excellent worth for a slushbox in the course of the period.

However that determine was just the start. The air con, which this automobile has, added 610 bucks (1,842 of as we speak’s bucks). Amazingly, the clock and an AM/FM radio with two audio system have been customary tools on the Sentra XE that yr.

The “Sport Accent Stripes,” accessible solely on the XE Coupe, regarded sharp. For those who wished them in your new Sentra, the associated fee was $105 ($317 in as we speak’s cash).

The wheel trim rings and wheel lip moldings price $155 and $55 additional, respectively ($468 and $166 now). Maybe California Nissan sellers had a few of these loaded Sentras gathering mud on their tons, due partially to the mid-Eighties oil glut and ensuing crash in gasoline costs and partially to the cheapskate nature of penny-pinching econobox patrons, and Avis stepped in with a suggestion to take all of them.

The 1982-1999 Sentra was generally known as the Sunny in Japan. For 1984, it was accessible in two-door sedan, four-door sedan, wagon and two-door hatchback configurations. The bottom two-door sedan was low cost, with a worth beginning at $5,199 ($15,698 after inflation). You may discover cheaper new automobiles that yr, after all; bargain-hunting American automobile consumers might lower your expenses versus the Sentra by getting the Subaru STD hatchback ($5,096), the Mazda GLC hatchback ($4,995) or the Toyota Tercel liftback ($5,098). 

It was constructed for the California market and it seems to have spent its total profession within the Golden State. Its birthplace was the Zama plant in Kanagawa Prefecture; Sentra manufacturing on the plant in Smyrna, Tennessee, started the next yr (however simply two-door sedans at first).

The best-mile Nissan I’ve ever present in a junkyard was a second-generation Sentra with 440,299 miles, adopted by a 1991 Stanza with 402,505 miles. This automobile did not get wherever close to these numbers, traversing simply 131,148 miles throughout its driving profession.

Certainly one of its early house owners, in all probability the one who purchased it from Avis, was a pupil at De Anza Faculty in Cupertino. Sure, that Cupertino. This automobile’s ultimate parking house is close to Sacramento, about 140 miles to the northeast of De Anza Faculty.

Maybe that pupil turned a bodily remedy assistant in a while.

The moss buildup on the physique (plus the truth that a VIN search in the California smog-check historical past database confirmed nothing) says that this automobile acquired parked a few years in the past. I believe it sat in a driveway or yard for many years earlier than taking that ultimate trip behind a tow truck.

That is a disgrace, as a result of it wasn’t in tough form.

The Sentra XE for ’84 had a extra highly effective 1.6-liter engine than the one within the base and DLX fashions: 69 horsepower as an alternative of 59. A diesel engine with 55 horses was accessible within the early Sentra as effectively, although I’ve by no means seen one in actual life.

Whereas the Sentra had no Datsun badges in 1984, the identical couldn’t be stated for the dealerships that bought it.

Simply rock right down to Chocolate Avenue to purchase one!

As was practically at all times the case in the course of the Eighties, home-market TV commercials for Japanese automobiles have been way more entertaining than those we acquired right here. This one even has a Sunny managing to outrun a machine-gun-armed helicopter (some suspension of disbelief required).

Sadly, the Sunny Turbo Leprix by no means made it throughout the Pacific.


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