For $1,500, To Infiniti and Beyond!

While it's Nissan Week here at Nice Price or Crack Pipe, that doesn't mean we'd kick crazy aunt Infiniti to the curb, so today we're going to give her a spin, and see if she'll drop her top for us.

Yesterday's Philly Skyline was sadly obscured by the miasma of Crack Pipe smoke. A full 61% said that the car's twenty grand price would have been more palatable had it been an R32, or RB26-powered GT-R, an opinion reinforced by the freakishly large number of posts by Canucks in which it was noted that Canadian-registered Skylines are as plentiful as moose turds, and about as noteworthy.

That was one big Nissan coupe that never officially made the boat ride to America, being required instead, Cinderella-like, to sit out the ball. Today's Leopard-based Infiniti M30, while not exactly an ugly stepsister, did get invited to the party, where its toplessness was intended to overcome its penchant for slow dances.

As Lexus is to Toyota, so is Infiniti to Nissan, and much like its cross-town rival, a lot of the initial product offerings were actually rebadged luxo-versions of the lesser brands products. In the case of Infinti, that meant the home market Leopard was pressed into service as a low-line soldier in the luxury car wars. Introduced here at the dawn of the ‘90s, the M30's angular shape both inside and out was firmly routed in the new wavity of the ‘80s.

That being said, it wasn't a homely car, and its clean, uncluttered lines fit the upscale slot in the Nissan/Infiniti hierarchy. Available in both coupe and, as offered here, convertible form, the M30 shared its rear-wheel drive platform with the Skyline R31, an enviable pedigree. Only one drivetrain was offered- the 162-bhp VG30E V6, backed up by the Jatco 4R01 4-speed automatic gearbox (half of you just stopped reading and immediately clicked Crack Pipe) that sent power back to an independently sprung rear axle. At better than 3,576-lbs, the power sent there had its work cut out for it, but the ASC-decapitated convertible sacrificed bantam weight for infinite headroom.

This 1991 M30 looks pretty clean, and its ebony paint is appropriately formal. Recent repairs, including a cat-back new exhaust, brakes, struts and wheels//tires bring the car out of a claimed coma. How long it was out of commission the seller doesn't say, but does claim it has passed inspection and is road-ready. The top appears intact, a plus as it's huge and replacement would probably cost more than the car, unless you are some sort of duct tape ninja master. Inside, everything's squarer than the narrator of your 7th grade sex ed movie, although it's got all the bells and whistles that you could have wanted back in the ‘90s. Underneath, it also has a special whistle that only dogs can hear, or maybe bats. The M30 has Nissan Sonar suspension II, a whiz-bang technology that can alter the shock valving based on the signal from a bumper-mounted sonar transceiver. Run silent, run deep, indeed, and this one is claimed to have run for just under 100K.

There's a switch inside that lets you alter the suspension's setting between sport and comfort, and admittedly most drivers of these would rather have had it say comfort and more comfort, but that's not to say there isn't value in a solid cruiser with both a top that goes down and room to spread out. And this particular one comes in at a bargain-bin price of $1,500, but you'd have to act fast because at the first sign of snow, it goes back into hibernation.

In the 1999 movie, Three Kings, Ice Cube and Mark Wahlberg spend the first reel arguing over whether or not Lexus makes a convertible – remember this was pre-SC. Upon reaching Saddam's secret stash, they come across a convertible M30, and Cube points it out to Marky Mark as proof that what he thought was a Lexus was really an Infiniti. Of course, by then they've got more pressing issues with which to deal- plus Clooney.

Your deal, is to determine if this Infiniti (not a Lexus) convertible is worth $1,500. Does that price make this M30 fit for three kings? Or, is that two kings too many?

You decide!


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