Nissan Figaro

The Nissan Figaro is a front-engine, front-wheel drive, two-door, 2+2, fixed-profile convertible manufactured by Nissan for model year 1991, and marketed in Japan at Nissan Cherry Stores.

Nissan Figaro (E-FK10)
Nissan Figaro.jpg
Nissan Figaro finished in Pale Aqua (summer)
20,073 produced
AssemblyOppama Plant, Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan
DesignerNaoki Sakai and Shoji Takahashi
Body and chassis
ClassCity car
Body style2-door fixed-profile convertible
LayoutFF layout
Engine987 cc MA10ET turbo I4
Transmission3-speed automatic
Wheelbase2,300 mm (90.6 in)
Length3,740 mm (147.2 in)
Width1,630 mm (64.2 in)
Height1,365 mm (53.7 in)
Curb weight810 kg (1,790 lb)
Nissan Figaro finished in Pale Aqua
Nissan Figaro interior

A total of 20,073 Figaros were produced by Nissan in the convertible's single year of series production[1]—all with right hand drive.[2] There are a few examples of left hand drive conversions for those countries that have right hand traffic. [3][4]

As a fixed-profile convertible, the upper side elements of the Figaro's bodywork remain fixed, while its fabric soft top retracts in conjunction with a solid panel with a defroster-equipped glass rear window—as seen in other fixed-profile convertibles, including the original 1957 Fiat 500 and the Citroën 2CV.

With its design variously attributed to Naoki Sakai[5] and/or Shoji Takahashi,[6] the design recalls that of the Gutbrod Superior, a German fixed-profile convertible marketed from 1950-1954.[7][8]

Because of its origins at Pike Factory, Nissan's special project group, the Figaro (along with the Nissan Pao, Be-1 and S-Cargo) are known as Nissan's "Pike cars," and represented a design strategy that adapted "design and marketing strategies from other industries like personal electronics."[6]

In 2011, design critic Phil Patton, writing for the New York Times, called the Pike cars "the height of postmodernism"[6] and "unabashedly retro, promiscuously combining elements of the Citroën 2CV, Renault 4, Mini, and Fiat 500".[6]


Nissan introduced the Figaro at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show, using "Back to the Future" as its marketing tagline. Based on the first-generation Nissan Micra, the Figaro was manufactured at Aichi Machine Industry,[5] a special projects group which Nissan would later call "Pike Factory", which also produced three other niche vehicles: the Be-1, Pao, and S-Cargo. Aichi had originally built independent kei cars like the Cony 360 until Nissan assumed operations in 1966, and was also the original manufacturing location for the first generation Nissan Sunny.

Based on the Nissan March (Micra) platform, the Figaro uses a 1.0-liter (987 cc) turbocharged engine generating 76 PS (56 kW; 75 hp) and 78 lb⋅ft (106 N⋅m) of torque through a three-speed automatic transmission, front MacPherson struts, rear four-link coil spring suspension; rack and pinion steering, front ventilated disc and rear drum brakes.[9] The Figaro can reach a top speed of 106 mph (170.59 km/h). Weight saving front fenders are thermoplastic resin.[9]

Standard equipment included ivory leather seats with contrasting piping, air conditioning, CD player, chrome and Bakelite-style knobs, soft-feel paint on the dashboard top, chrome-trimmed speedometer with smaller inset gauges for fuel and engine temperature; and chrome-trimmed tachometer with inset clock.[9]

Exterior paint color represented the four seasons: Topaz Mist (autumn), Emerald Green (spring), Pale Aqua (summer) and Lapis Grey (winter).[9][10]

At first, 8,000 Figaros were manufactured and then an additional 12,000 to meet demand. Prospective purchasers entered a lottery to acquire a Figaro.[11] Limited edition cars came with passenger side baskets and cup holders.

The Figaro also inspired the styling of another similar Japanese coupe, the First-Generation Daihatsu Copen, which took elements of the design, but notably with an even smaller engine (with the addition of a turbocharger) and that it was a full retractable hardtop, with the whole roof and c-pillars folding down into the boot.

In mediaEdit

Sarah Jane Smith drives a Nissan Figaro in British science fiction series The Sarah Jane Adventures.[12]


  1. ^ Dodd, Mark (April 15, 2017). "Nissan Figaro FK10 VIN Table". Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  2. ^ Baime, A.J. (April 19, 2016). "How a Nissan Figaro Became an Instant Classic in the U.S." The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  3. ^ McAleer, Brendan (2021-08-23). "This left-hand-drive Figaro proves nothing is impossible". Hagerty Media. Retrieved 2022-07-04.
  4. ^ "LHD – A look a left hand drive Nissan Figaros - LHD – A look a left hand drive Nissan Figaros - Figaro Owners Club". Retrieved 2022-07-04.
  5. ^ a b McAleer, Brendan (July 28, 2015). "No matter how you slice it, the pint-sized Nissan Figaro is just plain fun". Driving.CA. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c d Patton, Phil (March 18, 2011). "Nissan's Cartoon Cars, Once So Hip". The New York Times. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  7. ^ Zitka, Hans-Roland (March 9, 2014). "Nissan Figaro war ein Plagiat der ersten Stunde (Nissan Figaro was a plagiarism of the first order)" (in German). Welt. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  8. ^ "Blick zurück nach vorn (Look back to the front)" (in German). Oldtimer Markt. March 1, 2019. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Printz, Larry (June 21, 2018). "Why you should want the adorable Nissan Figaro". Retrieved November 17, 2019.
  10. ^ "Nissan Figaro for Sale 1991". Retrieved 2019-01-01.
  11. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (January 11, 2019). "This Quirky Car Is Japanese. But There's 'Something Very British' About It". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  12. ^ Ford, Phil. "THE SARAH JANE ADVENTURES 4 EPISODE 3 by Phil Ford Shooting Script 22nd March 2010" (PDF). BBC Writer's Room: Script Library. p. 29 scene 35.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit