Nissan has a long history of building funky cars for the Japanese home market. Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Rasheen is one such car that’s escaped its island nation home. Let’s see if its U.S. price might create a yen for its purchase.
It’s not hard to be mediocre. On the bell curve of life, most everybody gets by fitting into the big bubble of doing “just ok” that fills the vast middle. For some, however, the bare minimum just isn’t enough. For example, the seller of yesterday’s 1994 Mercedes-Benz E320 wanted to offer more for prospective buyers. That was accomplished through a well-thought-out ad, a strong presentation of the car itself, and, according to your comments, a well-set price. That $6,500 asking earned the seller and the car an amazing 87 percent Nice Price win, one of the greatest victories in a long time.
Winning has always been important in the automotive game. Each and every manufacturer wants to be able to tout that it has the “best-selling this” or the “most powerful that.” The market is nothing more than one big pissing contest, and it’s the consumer that benefits from the results of all that competition trickling down on them.
If you were to assign Nissan with an accolade, much like in one of those high school yearbook “best whatever” pages, it would probably earn the award of Most Quirky Products. For a while there, the Japanese company was popping out unique, off-the-wall cars like the Figaro, S-Cargo, and the Pao that Jason likes to use to keep his freezer stocked with fresh venison.
You can add to that list of quirky cars today’s 1996 Nissan Rasheen AWD wagon. I mean, just look at it. Weird, right? You can see why Nissan didn’t bother bringing this car to America officially. We’re too insecure in our metaphorical manhood to buy twee little 4x4s like this. Instead, we need trucks that can “roll coal” and stamp out socialism or something. The last truly twee vehicle any American car company sold here was the Dodge/Plymouth Neon and how many of those do you see around anymore?
That all means the market for this privately-imported JDM quirk-mobile is probably going to be pretty limited here. The fact that it’s also right-hand drive and has a speedo that reads in kilometers per hour rather than the miles per hour used by bald eagles and true patriots just further limits that appeal. Still, there are fans of cars like this here, and the Rasheen is interesting enough to find a small but receptive audience. I should also note that this one is not the one Mercedes found yesterday and seems to be in much better shape.
Nissan offered the Raheen in Japan from 1994 through the 2000 model year as a kind of diminutive soft-roader. The platform for the five-door wagon was taken from the Sunny, better known here in the U.S. as the Sentra, and was fitted with the company’s fatiguingly titled Advanced Total Traction Engineering System for All-Terrain (ATTESA) all-wheel-drive system. Despite the crazy-long name, it’s actually not that big a deal and is really just your typical FWD-biased all-wheel-drive setup.
Three engines were offered in the Rasheen during its model run, starting with a 1.5 liter, and then advancing to a 1.8 and finally a 2.0 if you were really feeling your oats. This one has the smallest engine, the GA15DE DOHC four. That was factory-rated at 104 horsepower and 100 lb-ft of twist. Backing that up is a four-speed automatic with your standard floor shift. Well, standard but with the button on the opposite side since this is a right-hand drive car. The odometer reads a modest 118,520 kilometers or about 74,000 miles.
Aesthetically, the Rasheen seems to be in pretty good shape, although the seller does point out some blemishes in the paint, including a good-sized chip on the roof and some abrasions on the hatch. That hatch, by the way, is a practical split affair but is impacted in our market by having the spare tire mount swing out to the right, or curbside. That’s not that big a deal and the upper hatch offers plenty of access with the spare in place. Aftermarket wheels underpin and wear new tires. The seller says that the original wheels “are available” implying that they are an extra add-on to the car’s purchase.
Not extra is the wonderfully cheerful upholstery adorning the cabin. The rest of the space is pretty standard stuff aside from it all being a mirror image of what most of us are used to. An aftermarket Alpine stereo sits in the dash, right below the climate controls that confirm the presence of A/C. A new spare tire cover will apparently be offered with the car but it’s not shown in the ad’s pics.
One of the big deals of importing any quirky car not originally intended to be sold here is the paperwork involved. This car’s Alabama license plate and the seller’s comment about having driven the Rasheen on a 600+ mile trip with no issues imply all that has already been dealt with. Take that into consideration while mulling over the wagon’s $7,500 asking price.
With all that in mind, what’s your take on this quirky car and that $7,500 asking? Does that seem like a fair deal for an already-here import? Or, is this Rasheen just not weird enough to warrant that much?
H/T to phalvorson for the hookup!
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