Some of you – those who remember far away things like a Western movie actor as president – might remember one of the most confusing advertising campaigns for a car ever. It didn’t involve any actual pictures of cars, and in that sense, you have to admit they were successfully conveying the message that they were doing a full-on right turn on the concept of a luxury car. Again, for those of you who don’t recall the Reagan days, the Japanese did not make luxury cars – they made appliances with AM radios and vinyl seats that you drove to your crappy job until they broke and then threw away. So while Acura was the first to do the Japanese luxury thing, Lexus and Infiniti really broke the mold by envisioning their cars as true competitors to Mercedes and BMW. Nonetheless, depreciation does not discriminate like many luxury car buyers did back then, and that means there are not many good examples of the more interesting mold-breaker. Check out this 1990 Infiniti Q45 for sale for $2900 in Santa Clara, CA.
Wait, those are trees. What do trees have to do with a car, and why can’t we see the car? Please show us the car. This aspen forest is in pristine condition, and might remind you of what Infiniti advertisements for the Q45 showed back then. Perhaps it was because they were scared to show a luxury car that Didn’t. Have. A. Grill. The styling actually worked fairly well, and unlike Lexus, didn’t look like the designers were watching a W126 S-class and a Buick do what they do when they love each other very much.
This particular car is in excellent condition – most Q45s have one foot in the grave, and the other foot has either a goofy JDM-VIP-yo treatment, or a klassy set of krome rims to distract from oxidized paint and the scrape down the passenger side. These wheels were pretty smart, and the only noticeable defect here is paint loss on the center caps. The paint is glossy, and the only visible damage is to the right front bumper corner – a minor parking scuff.
The seller does not say whether this is the t or a version with the HICAS or Full Active Suspension, so assume it’s a base model. It’s almost like Nissan and Toyota talked before starting their ventures, because Nissan was clearly going after the performance luxury (BMW) segment, while Toyota pursued, uh, luxury luxury (Mercedes). Either way, it avoids the blandness that afflicted Lexus for so long, though with hindsight, this car looks like many later Nissan products.
The engine puts out a still-respectable 278hp and 292 lb.-ft. of torque – at par with your boring family sedan’s V6 at this point, but nothing to sniff at. It’s said to have all maintenance done, including a new water pump, timing belt, gasket (which one?), four tires, and all fluids changed. All electronics are also said to work, which is quite an achievement with any 27-year-old luxury vehicle.
It’s said to be a 1-owner car, and there’s a lot of talk about low miles – since when is 153,000 low? – which is all relative to how well it’s been treated and how much effort the buyer puts into keeping it up. That said, this interior looks like it’s got less than 153K on it – it’s in beautiful shape, with very little fading / color loss, and certainly something for which you wouldn’t have to make any excuses. For a luxury runabout, you could certainly do worse – would you consider Japan’s sporty side?