Over the course of its existence, Nissan’s Pathfinder has morphed from a body-on-frame SUV to a unibody soft-roader, twice! Today’s Nice Price or No Dice edition hails from the first, and by far the most robust, version. Let’s see if that, and its condition, makes its price a path you might want to follow.
People generally tend to fall into two camps regarding the Ford-influenced cars from Jaguar, Aston Martin and Volvo during the company’s ownership of those brands. Some appreciate Ford’s open parts bin policy for their adoptees, while others deride the unfortunate brand dilution that’s inherent with such a move.
I happen to fall in the former camp, and as evidence of the positive outcome of such endeavors I give you the 2010 Volvo S40 T5 R-Design we looked at last Friday. That car was made possible by a generous grant from the Ford Motor Company and buyers like you. With its $9,000 asking price and apparently decent shape, that Ford/Volvo parentage continued to pay off, earning the hot little sedan an amazingly narrow but still decisive 52 percent Nice Price win.
Ford may not own Volvo anymore — nor for that matter, anything much other than Lincoln — but automotive partnerships and outright over-lording in the industry continues unabated.
Take for example the case of Nissan Motor Company. The Yokohama-based company may seem completely independent to American eyes, but in reality it’s closely partnered with Renault of France and holds a controlling interest in its fellow Japanese carmaker, Mitsubishi. Considering all that, it’s pretty difficult to figure out who exactly is to blame for what’s become of the current generation Nissan Pathfinder.
That current car may still offer AWD as an option, but it is built on what’s nominally a Nissan Altima FWD platform and lacks any sort of pretense for off-road ability. The only paths it will find are the ones already been paved in macadam.
That wasn’t always the case, as this 1988 Nissan Pathfinder proves. This first-generation truck is not only body-on-frame, a form that has seemingly fallen from favor, it’s also (gasp!) a two-door. Do you know how many two-door SUVs there are left to buy these days? Hell, even the Jeep Wrangler two-door gets relegated to second-tier duty in that model’s line up. Thankfully Ford did the right thing and will offer the new Bronco with two doors along with its four-door edition.
But who has the money to spend on a new Bronco? Add to that all the accessories you’d want to pile on — high-lift jack, traction boards, jerry cans and the like — and suddenly you’re not just going off-roading, you’re on the road that leads to the poorhouse.
This Pathfinder, on the other hand, has had a lot of those accessories already added. The ad also shows plenty of pictures of it in its natural element, so you know it’s not a poseur either.
Despite the ample 196,000-mile odo count, the truck’s Bright Blue Metallic paint still seems completely serviceable. That’s great for getting a primo parking spot from the valet at one of those fancy linen-and-candles kind of eating establishments, but that’s not all this truck is about. No, what this truck is mostly about is getting in the thick of things, and it looks to be well equipped for that too.
The basics are there — Warn winch up front, four inches of combined suspension and body lift down below and big-ass Toyo tires holding the whole shebang up. You also get Bushwacker flares and a safari snorkel so you can pretend you’re off-roading even when you’re not. New brakes and critical engine components have been added, and the seller says the truck is tight as a drum.
The interior looks to be in better condition than it deserves to be. The stripey cloth upholstery appears to be in great shape and is matched with equally tidy door cards and an uncracked dash. That dash holds a newish Kenwood single DIN audio unit and more important, a CB radio. Why we don’t all have CBs in our off-roaders anymore is beyond me.
Power is provided by Nissan’s 3.0-liter VG30I V6, which in this iteration made 143 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque. That’s paired with a five-speed stick and the expected two-speed transfer case.
The ad does not provide an assessment of the mechanicals outside of noting a cold start lifter tick, a minor exhaust manifold leak and some slop in the steering. That’s not too bad for something that can still do what its name implies. How many other cars can say that? I’m looking at you, Triumph Spitfire.
The ad says that this is just one of the owner’s Pathfinders, so you would imagine it’s either been cared for by someone who really knows the cars or is a fright pig being unloaded in favor of better examples. Either way, we’re now going to have to determine how good a deal it may be at its $6,000 asking price.
That gets you the truck, a clean title and all the added gadgets. Do you think that could all add up to $6,000? Or, does that price make this a Pathfinder that’s hunting down the wrong trail?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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