If you’re fed up with the twin burdens of safety and convenience while driving, then today’s Nice Price or No Dice Sentra is the car for you. Let’s if its price also hews to that mantra of less is more.
We are truly in a golden age of electric vehicles. Consider the number options for viable, decent range models that seem to grow each year. Despite that, we haven’t yet reached a critical mass point where you’d have to wait for hours to plug into one of the chargers that will inevitably pop up at each and every freeway offramp-adjacent lot.
Being in a golden age means that the prior age (Bronze? Stone? I don’t know) quickly loses appeal. That’s exactly what has happened to the so-called compliance cars of the past decade. These were limited-range electrics that were offered simply to satisfy the mandate for zero-emission vehicle sales laid down by the state of California. The 2014 Mercedes-Benz B-class we looked at yesterday was one of those cars and at $12,950, it had lost the majority of its as-new value as a result. Its batteries had probably also lost some of their capacity to carry current too, which would further constrain the car’s already limited 85-mile between-charge range. That was enough to cause a number of you to dismiss the car outright, and enough of you to deny it even around-town value with a 61 percent No Dice loss.
You just know that, as we move to an electrified future for all our personal transportation needs, there will be some stragglers along the way. You also know that most of those will want to go out in glorious Mad Max post-apocalyptic fashion. No? Is that just me?
Well, should any one of you want to drive something with a gas engine but little else, then this 1992 Nissan Sentra “Dune Buggy” might be just the ticket. Now, you may notice that I am using quotes around the Dune Buggy portion of this vehicle’s title. That’s because, while the seller positions it as such owing to its basic and spare bodywork and structural cage architecture, it’s an assertion that is betrayed by a set of street tires and the lack of it being an actual dune buggy.
Still, we’ll go with what we’ve got.
The seller claims that the car is street legal despite being little more than a floorpan and engine compartment topped with some welded pipe and plumbing insulation. That’s because it’s registered in California, a state that doesn’t require safety inspections. In the Golden State, all you need is a clean smog certificate and you’re good to go. Just don’t stink-eye the CHP.
This Sentra has that clean bill of health from the smog sniffer, but not a lot else. According to the ad, the seller bought the car in its present state and has driven it from the central valley up to Lake Tahoe multiple times. The reason given for the sale is a need for a van to support the current owner’s advocation as a painter.
Quite remarkably, the car has a clean title. It also has 158,000 miles on the clock and a new windshield, per the owner. The ad gives us pics of the Sentra from just about every angle, with the license plate in the initial pics blocked by a strategically placed finger. The seller seemingly got bored with that halfway through the snaps and displays the plate proudly in the rest. It’s sort of like the world’s saddest strip club titty reveal.
This Nissan may not be for everybody. Hell, it has a five-speed manual transmission which, if the news is accurate, eliminates all carjackers from the pool of potential owners. It’s also not something you’d probably want to drive in inclement weather. In fact, I don’t quite know who the audience for this car could possibly be.
That’s where you all come in. You need to figure that out. You also need to figure what someone should realistically pay for it. The asking price is $1,800 which doesn’t get you a complete car, but it does get you a lot of bragging rights — “I drive a dune buggy!” — and, probably a lot of stares from onlookers. What do you think, is there an audience for such a car at such a price? Or, does this stripper Sentra have little chance of making its owner any money?
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