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1988 Nissan Stanza Wagon (yes, really)

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Need some help here guys. I bought this car for one reason and one reason only: it's hilariously hideous. I parked by it one day, left a note on it that I had to have it, and took it home a few months later for $400 (and it's actually in really good shape!).


But now that I have it I don't know what to do with it. My first inclination was to make it a wheelstander. But I'm moving away from that--too one-trick-pony. My only requirements are that it remain street legal and that it stay looking stock on the exterior (this is THE best sleeper platform I've ever seen).


My two biggest choices are 1) drag/powerful street sleeper orientation or 2) track hoe. Number one would entail a V8, probably turbo, mounted longitudinally in the back. Number two would be either a motorcycle engine or Honda engine mounted transversely in the back. My only problem with it being a track car is that it's the worst possible platform to start with--it would require pretty much reengineering the entire car from scratch. Not that the drag setup wouldn't have its fair share of challenges, but going just short of a tube frame seems like a lot of work for an '88 Stanza.


Anyway, enough rambling, here she is in all her glory.





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  • 5 months later...

It really is the most awful looking car ever. I chuckle every time I see it.


I need to do something with it--it's just been sitting in my yard. But man, it's hard to get motivated to work on it when there are a lot of other projects on my plate.


I think I've settled on a transversely-mounted 4-cylinder engine in the back. Although I still want to do some research to see if I can find a gearbox to do a longitudinally-mounted engine in the rear (e.g. Porsche, but way too expensive; I was thinking Audi), in which case I'll use a VG30DET/TT, which would be preferable.


On that subject--can I use an AWD gearbox for an Audi (where the "front" axles bolt to the gearbox) and simply plug the rear output shaft hole to run a longitudinally rear-mounted engine?

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Look at the Renault 25 and see if you can find a gearbox off one of them... longitudal front engine, front wheel drive, the engine hanging out front of the axle. Also there are kits to put a 351 windsor on the Renault boxes for GT40 clone kit cars.


The original 2.2L takes a turbo just fine and you should be able to mount it in place of the rear seats to power the rear axle. :D Or fit a 351W ;)

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Sounds perfect, except we didn't get the Renault 25 in America. The Audi gearbox I was alluding to earlier is the same premise--front engine way out in front of the axle, except AWD with front axles bolting to the box and an output shaft for the rear drive:




Wondering if any other gearboxes that could hold the power have the axle bolt-up configuration or if I could plug the rear of the Audi transmission.

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You could use a Subaru transmission and buy the reverse gear cut set to run it longitude in the rear, also you could use a VW bus tranny and buy and adaptor plate from Kennedy engineering to run whatever motor you want. I know they run SHO motors behind VW bus trannies on some of the Pikes peak cars here and don't have any issues.

Edited by 19762802+2
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  • 8 years later...

I doubt this is even possible since the year is 2021... But by chance do you still have the Stanza? You see, I’ve been searching for one since about 2018. I absolutely fell head over heels for it. It has been pretty hard finding one especially since they are forgotten, “ugly” boxes from the early to late 80’s. If you still have it in decent condition or know someone with one I would love to buy it off of them. Thank you in advance, if you reply!

Edited by Babner
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