At $3,000, Is This 1990 Nissan Maxima SE 4DSC Totally 2G2BT?

Photo: Craigslist
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Maxima is a car once described by maker as a 4-door sports car, or ‘4DSC.’ Let’s see if the price tag on this rare manual-equipped edition’s has you LOL’ing.

Breaking into the car market with an untested brand is a daunting task, just ask Elon Musk. Of course Musk has enough money to pay other people to do all the hard work. All he has to do is bask in all that new car smell and plan the layout of his condo on Mars.


Don Panoz also has money, and he and his son Danny used a good chunk of that to play with the big dogs on the track and, as evidenced by yesterday’s 2002 Panoz Esperante, on the street. Like so many small time car makers’ products, the Esperante was a model whose time came and went in the blink of an eye.

If you want one today, you’ll have to go pre-owned and our $32,500 candidate was one of the cheapest ways to go. That wasn’t cheap enough apparently, and the Panoz got panned with plenty of noes and a sizable 68-percent Crack Pipe loss.

I’m going to have to go with the minority on that Panoz as actually that seemed like a killer deal. Perhaps today we’ll have a car that is more of a consensus builder.


If someone said to you ‘hey, I just bought a NEW Nissan Maxima!’ what would be your response? Would it be something along the lines of ‘What? Why would you do that?’ accompanied by a look of utter confusion?

Yeah, the Maxima is one of those cars that seems to have fallen out of the mainstream collective consciousness, and I would guess not too many people are cross-shopping it against Volvo S60s or Acura TLXs. Come to think of it, I don’t think too many people give the TLX a second glance either.


Maybe it’s the market’s shift away from traditional sedans to crossovers and butch baskets. Or perhaps it’s Nissan’s own Infiniti products squeezing the Maxima into irrelevance. Whatever the reason, it’s a stealth fighter of the auto world, not showing up on very many people’s radar.


This 1990 Maxima SE on the other had should definitely be on your radar. Once touted as a 4-Door Sports Car, the 1989—1994 Maxima J30 is arguably the best looking of all the model’s iterations, and with a standard 5-speed stick, this sporty edition should be pretty engaging to drive too.

Much like today’s Maxima, you just don’t see all that many 4DSCs rolling dirty or any other way any more. This one’s not just still alive and kicking, but it’s in pretty nice shape too.


The black over blue cloth car does evidence a few signs of age and use. There’s a good sized scratch on the driver’s door, some wear of the painted window trim, and what looks to be a ding on the right-rear fender. None of the body blemishes is particularly egregious and it could all be made much nicer with a good detailing. The factory alloys exhibit some curb rash, but are fitted with tires that have a decent amount of tread left.


The interior looks pretty good too, with the only detractions being some flaking of the steering wheel leather, the breakdown of the outside bolster on the driver’s seat, and the mandated mousebelts which sadly date the car. The seller says that the factory radio—with BOSE speakers!—is dead, but then who even listens to the radio anymore?


Under the hood things looks a little grungy. The 160 horsepower VG30E SOHC V6 is said to be ready for a new timing belt but to otherwise work without issue, as does the 5-speed transaxle. That 3-litre mill was shared with Nissan’s 2-door sports car, the 300ZX, only there it sat north-south rather than east-west and it sent its ponies to do battle via the back wheels. Here it’s the front wheels that do all the work.


The 4DSC tagline may not have been wholly supported by the car itself, but especially in SE form, with its more aggressive suspension and indicative rear spoiler, it certainly gave it the old college try. This one has been trying for just a little over 100,000 miles, a remarkably low number for a car of such maturity. It also comes with a clear title and a $3,000 price tag.

You may not have considered a Maxima of any ilk at any price so today’s vote may be a bit of a challenge for many. I know you’re up to the the task, however.


What do you think, is this Maxima worth that $3,000 asking? Or, for that much is this a 4DSC that can GTFO?


You decide!


Raleigh, NC Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to twowheelsev for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOCP. Hit me up at and send a me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.