Designed by Naoki Sakai and Shoji Takahashi, the Figaro was introduced by Nissan at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show with the slogan “Back to the Future.” Cute, quirky, and practical, the Figaro was well received and put into production for the 1991 model year. Completed in July 1991, the Nissan Figaro on offer at Sotheby's and RM Sotheby's (6–14 November) in an online auction is finished in Pale Aqua (6K9), believed to be one of 3,989 examples finished in this hue. Nissan offered the Figaro in four thematic colors, each of which represented a season—Lapis Grey (winter), Green (spring), Pale Aqua (summer) and Topaz Mist (autumn).
The cars were only offered in right-hand drive, but customers were able to customize their Figaro with 37 options from four categories: Snob Group, Goods Group, Convenient Group, and Jewel Group. Initial production was slated for 8,000, but that number quickly increased by an additional 12,000 to meet demand. A lottery system was devised to select prospective buyers.
The 1991 Figaro on offer is equipped with the following options: from the Snob Group—seat covers, Orange Sherbet floor mats, and leather brake lever; Goods Group—Figaro car care set; Convenient Group—cup holders, net shelf, lower boot tray, mud flaps; Jewel Group—window wind/rain deflector, door edge molding, door kick plate, headlight visor, rear side protector, wheel arch edge molding, Clarion CD/Radio, speaker door kit, air-conditioning, and seat care set. The rear side protectors are the coveted Tokyo Nouvelle Vague external plaques. It is believed that only 1,500 such cars left the factory with this feature.
An increasingly popular car among collectors, this lovely example holds the distinction of being featured in the popular Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series hosted by award-winning comedian Jerry Seinfeld. In the episode Jerry “buys” the Figaro and picks up his guest, Saturday Night Live cast member Melissa Villaseñor. Together they enjoy a ride through Brooklyn, New York, first stopping at the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD) for a quick tour and then traveling to noted restaurant Forrest Point for coffee. The Figaro performed flawlessly and provided the perfect city transit for the pair of funny people.
Fully legal in the U.S., this car has covered only 9,134 kilometers (about 5,700 miles) from new. The mileage is supported by a British Independent Motor Trade Association (BIMTA) Certificate of Mileage Verification outlining the car’s last odometer reading in Japan in 2005, 7,902 kilometers, and a reading in 2010 when registered in the UK of 7,959 kilometers. In 2016, while still in the UK, the Figaro received a new timing belt kit, water pump, and belts, for which the invoice is included on file. Furthermore, the Figaro is accompanied by a signed photograph of Jerry Seinfeld behind the wheel, an owner’s manual, brochure, convertible top instruction sheet, UK “H970 NRU” number plates, car care kit, tool pouch, jack, and spare. The car also retains its rare, original Figaro key and is further protected by an alarm system. A charming well-optioned example, the Figaro remains in wonderful condition throughout and is sure to turn heads wherever it goes and for years to come.
Please note that collection of this car will take place from the Boston area, Massachusetts.