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1983 Nissan Sentra Wagon

Illustration for article titled 1983 Nissan Sentra Wagon

I've been trying to do at least one Japanese DOTS car every week or so, but after two Toyotas in a row (not counting the Plymouth-badged Mitsubishi), it's time for... a Nissan. We've seen one of the last cars Nissan made right before the Datsun-Nissan branding changeover, so now let's look at one of the first ones sold purely as a Nissan in the United States.

Illustration for article titled 1983 Nissan Sentra Wagon

The Sentra nameplate replaced the 210 in North America; both were rebadged versions of the Sunny. Except for the SE-R, it's pretty easy to forget the Sentra has ever existed. That's partly because they've long been hidden in the vast shadow cast by the Corolla and Civic... and partly because they're such generic little transportation appliances.

Illustration for article titled 1983 Nissan Sentra Wagon

This one is a pretty solid daily driver; these things are so nearly invisible that it's easy to forget you're looking at a car that's pushing a quarter-century in age. The '87 Civic 4WD wagon lives on the same block and seems much more of its time. Come to think of it, what ever happened to small station wagons? Cup holders, that's what happened! Cup Holder Bloat!

Illustration for article titled 1983 Nissan Sentra Wagon

These plastic hubcaps sure are 80s, though!

First 150 DOTS Cars

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Haha, our family had the coupe version of this, I remember my dad would floor the gas and it'd...still be slower than all the other cars on the highway.

Best part was that we had it power power steering. At least there was heat though.

It died at 55K because of a cracked cylinder...probably resulting from an accident many years before (car was parked when it got hit pretty hard by some drunken idiot). On the other hand it was also 11 years old when it finally gave up, so maybe it was just the age that did it in. Either way, by then all the vinyl seats (remember those?) were cracking.

Man...when we got a used Accord to replace it (a DX no less), I thought it was a friggin' luxury car. Fabric seats instead of crunchy and hard vinyl and exposed foam! Air Conditioning! An AM/FM cassette player (no CD just yet)! And let's not forget, those awesome flip-up lights the Accord used to have.

To Nissan's credit, I always thought this car was a deathtrap, but upon looking at it's crash test results I found that the Sentra that followed this one was much less safe, whereas for some bizarre reason this generation did rather decently in crash tests. Still, was a good thing that we weren't in the car when it got hit by that idiot drunk.