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1986 Nissan
Laurel Medalist
 Shinme (新芽)
(Sacred Horse)

RD20E 4-door hardtop
Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) Only
69,625 Original Miles
2.0 Liter 6-cylinder
4-spd Automatic Overdrive Transmission
Power Steering/Brakes/Windows/Locks
Power Mirrors/Air Purifier
Air Conditioning/AM/FM Cassette Stereo

1986 Nissan Laurel RB 20 Japanese Television Ad
(Video 36MB)
1986 Nissan Laurel Full-Line Japanese Sale Folder
(Video 4.5MB)
July 19, 2017 - New Paint! - I picked up the Laurel from the painter today - he did a terrific job of both matching the old paint and getting everything smoothed out and taped off.  The paint looks like factory, and once I clay-bar the rest and put on a good coat of wax, the shine will match all over.  You can see the damaged paint in the post below, and in the upper left image of this post.  It doesn't look as bad in the photos as it did in real life.  The new paint makes a huge difference!  One note of concern, though - as I was brining the car home, it seemed to hesitate after coming to a stop twice, but got me home in good order.  However, I went to move it tonight and it would not start.  I suspected the fuel pump, and checked that later by opening the gas cap and listening with the key turned on.  I did hear the fuel pump whirring, and the car started.  I had also checked coil connections.  The car started up fine and ran smoothly after several checks, so it may be OK for now.  I will start looking for a fuel pump just in case, though.
July 4, 2017 - Current and Future Repairs - The Laurel has had a small leak in the windshield washer fluid reservoir that left puddles and also triggered the low fluid light on the dash.  I pulled the tank and checked everything but could not find the leak, though I did trim the end of the feed hose for a tighter fit.  So far no further leaks.   Also, I took the car over for an estimate to have the right front fender, hood, and front bumper painted.  The rest of the paint is good, so this spot work should make a big difference.  I drove it a lot this weekend, and it has been terrific.  Not a powerhouse, but certainly adequate for normal driving.  I also got a little information from an inquiry to J-Spec Auto Sports Inc. of Henrico.  They imported the car in August of last year, noting it was exceptionally clean. 

July 1, 2017 - Starting Cleanup - Some Resolve carpet cleaner brightened up the floor mats (Yes, those striped mats are factory with a gold label on each to identify as an official Laurel accessory!) and the rest of the interior was already near perfect.  The engine bay is also remarkably clean, and all of the common maintenance items were taken care of by the prior owner.  As you can see by the photos, the two most obvious differences are right-hand drive and the hardtop design (no center post between the door windows).  The car was available with a wide variety of hub caps, wheel covers, and styled wheels.  One was a mostly flat wheel cover with chrome lug nuts.  I lucked out today at Pick-N-Pull and found a full set of correct wheel covers for $20, and had a set of new chrome lug nuts left over from the Cougar.  I cleaned and painted the wheel covers to match the pale gold lower trim per the factory literature, and put them on.  The car looks much better without naked wheels!  I am taking the car over to a painter on July 4th to get an idea of what can be done for the paint - touchup or total repaint. The paint responded well to polishing compound, with most of the stains and scratches cleaning off and leaving a nice shine.  The right front fender and hood will have to be painted at least, along with the lower corners of both front and rear bumpers. But if the painter thinks he can get a decent match, I'd rather have a few small blemishes and keep the most of the original paint. Oh, and the UK owner's manual came in - some help, but the JDM version is still different!

June 28, 2017 - Homeward Bound - Chip and I rolled up again last night and brought the Nissan home.  A 120-mile initial drive had me a little nervous, but the car performed flawlessly.  The drivetrain is set up for Japan city driving, with a small inline 6 and gearing set low.  However, it also has electronic overdrive, and when you turn it on the RPMs drop to 2500 at 70 MPH!  I am using an old GPS to let me know what speed I am going until I get used to translating kilometers into miles.  In a remarkable stroke of luck, I hit DMV this morning with almost no wait and got the car titled and tagged.  Insurance was done Sunday.  The paint is little rougher than I first thought, but the body is clean and straight and very tight.  I was very impressed by the ride and comfort, and also the silence of the 4-door hardtop.  Wind noise was pretty much nil, and the car rode and handled great.  I plan to hit Pick N Pull this weekend to see what parts I can adapt from equivalent Maximas, and possibly snag some Nissan hubcaps.
June 25, 2017 - JDM Nissan - This 1986 Nissan Laurel Medalist is a Japan-only version of the Maxima sold in the United States - hence the term Japanese Domestic Market, or JDM.  This one has a number of unique aspects - Right hand drive, a 4-door hardtop body style, and a 2.0 liter straight 6 with rear wheel drive.  Maximas had switched to front wheel drive by 1985.  It also has a like-new interior and full service records (in Japanese).  The engine bay is exceptionally clean, as is the underside, and it even has a recent Virginia State Inspection!  I was intrigued by the right-hand drive and the unique styling, and of course, a cheap price.  It was located in Richmond, so I was able to go up and give it a test drive and a look-over with best bud Chip, who lived in Japan.  The car ran really well, and was as unique in person as it looked online.  The interior is in amazing condition, though there is some minor paint work needed on the corners and the right front fender.  It was odd, interesting, and at 6:33 PM tonight, mine!  Chip and I are planning to go pick it up on Tuesday.

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