A look back at the Nissan Bluebird (1986 – 1990) 0


The Nissan Bluebird was a watershed for the British car making industry. Despite the car itself not being anything special, what it stood for was a different matter. When it first hit markets in 1986, it was taking the place of a car with the same name, which had only been on sale in Britain for a couple of years. The reason for this was because the Bluebird T12/T72 was actually the second-generation T11-generation Stanza (as it was called here) or Auster. With this in mind, the genesis of the first UK-manufactured Nissan is a lot easier to understand.

The first car to roll off the production line at Nissan’s Greenfield factory in Washington, in the North East, the Bluebird was initially designed with fleet managers, as the main sales target. This being so, a lot of trim levels were available: 1.6 and 2.0-litre editions in petrol and 2.0-litre diesel. All of which were more than capable with regards to power and economy. The same could be said for the 1.8-litre turbo used on ZX and Executive versions.

You’d be pushing it if you were to call the Bluebird stylish and compared to the class leaders of the day – the Montego and Peugeot 405 – the Bluebird was deemed inferior by the road testers of the day. But it was exceedingly well made and reliable. 25 years after first hitting the markets, it’s not uncommon to still see Bluebirds on the roads today. A little early perhaps to be considered a classic, the nostalgia simply isn’t there yet; Bluebirds will evoke a certain fondness for all who remember the time a ‘British Nissan’ first became a reality.

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