£5k Heroes - Nissan S Cargo
Surely this is the best van you can buy for under £5K? I’m not sure if its because of its happy little face, its slab-sided shape or its comical proportions, I just really love it. Its a combination of Japanese and French quirkiness, when has that ever been seen on a van?!
The S Cargo was launched in 1989 and was built by Nissan’s Pike factory, not a commercial fishery, but a place where wacky designs were made real. Think of them of Nissan's Willy Wonka division, just without the questionable staff members or animal exploitation.
Designed to ape the Citroën 2CV, the S Cargo was a simple no frills 4 seat van based on the K10 Micra. With design highlights like bug eyes, bench seating and a single spoke steering wheel you really can see the influence of the 2CV.
Powered by a 1.5 litre Micra engine and driven through a 3 speed auto its anything but sporty, but it’s reliable and most importantly, cheap to fix. Mechanically these are more cockroach than snail, but isn’t that what you want in a van?
A rear hatch and foldable bench seat gives a decent amount of space, it’s no Transit, but then again would you expect it to be? Its perfect for carrying just about anything an artisan barista needs.
Although never sold in the UK, many grey importers brought them in and sold them as quirky promotional vans. They are now a pretty rare sight on UK roads, with rust and scarcity of body panels condemning many of them to the scrapyard.
This one however looks clean, still has its original wheels and is a steal at £4995, for the money I can't think of a better tool to sling Chia Lattes from. After all who wants to drive a miserable Piaggio Ape? Not me I'll take this little snail.
eBay link below for those who fancy this JDM nugget: