Although Loved, This Sunny Still Ended on The Junkyard

This snow-covered low mileage 1987 Nissan Sunny B12 Coupe crossed my path on a cold winter day in November 2010. Parked on the roof of a second generation Ford Probe on a junkyard in Lustadt, Rhineland Palatinate, Germany, these two handsome coupes of Japanese origin were awaiting the crusher.

I took these pictures because of the Sunny, but in retrospective the Probe is an equally interesting car. When I went to primary school in 1995, the Probe was an extremely popular choice among young blue collar workers who wanted to buy a cheap, stylish sport scar, but didn’t want to answer uncomfortable questions why they bought Japanese. In the German countryside of the 90ies and early 00, questionable tuning trends frequently targeted the Probe. In the village where I grew up, someone proudly drove a Probe with a huge US flag painted on the bonnet. I also remember sighting a Probe with flames painted around the wheel arches on the parking lot of the local Night Club. However, by 2020, the Probe was long out of fashion, and even the ones that spend their last years rotting on driveways have vanished.

Circling back to the Sunny Coupe, this red model is the 1.6 SLX base model, the lower one out of two grades available in Germany (the 1.6 SLX, and the Twin Cam GTI). The reliable and economic E16i engine with single point injection was economic yet powerful enough to allow for comfortable highway trips at 130km/h cruising speed. Not enough to impress your neighbors, but a perfect daily driver.

Some body parts were still in good condition, and rust-free doors were hard to find. I considered buying the passenger door.

In the end, although the door was still in excellent condition, the €40 sales price asked by the junkyard staff were out of my student budget. In 2024, good condition doors for Sunny Coupes are basically impossible to find.

Eventually, I only took the trunk rubber seal, and left the rest for the crusher. Looking at the cockpit, I felt that the snow-covered interior looked quite apocalyptic. The seats and carpet were in perfect condition, and the car had recently been carefully vacuum cleaned, only to be crushed shortly after. There was not a single stone or dirt strain in the snowy cabin.

Inspecting the instrument panel, the ODO meter only reached 101,637km.

In fact, the junkyard encounter was the second time I’ve met Sunny. A month prior, I found this Sunny for sale online roughly 40km from my home, and visited the seller, where I took a few close-up pictures of the car before it got scrapped.

The reason the car was for sale was a blown head gasket caused by a stuck thermostat valve. The repair was considered uneconomical by the owner, but the older lady who bought the car firsthand was emotionally attached to it. The family took some effort to clean it, vacuumed it to make it presentable for a potential seller, hoping to give it away in caring hands

The kind family of the aging lady offered the Sunny to me for a ridiculously cheap price, which was even below the scrap value.

Unfortunately, this price was still out of my small student budget, and considering the deep scratch on the roof, corrosion and the blown head gasket, I politely refused. I already had two Sunnys that, while originally in worse condition, I had already committed to.

When I found the Sunny again on the scrapyard a month later, I slightly regretted my decision. Should I have bought it as a spares’ car?

Leave a Reply