1 Jun 1986
Nissan Australia abandoned the Japanese-market front-wheel drive U11 Bluebird sedan for the 1985 R31 Skyline-based range, which was large enough to straddle the medium and large car classes.
To differentiate it from the virtually identical six-cylinder Skyline, Nissan named the four-cylinder R31 “Pintara” and fitted slightly different headlights and wheels.
A fuel-injected version of the Bluebird Series III’s 2.0-litre OHC four-cylinder engine – now dubbed CA20E and pumping out 78kW of power and 160Nm of torque – was used, along with a five-speed manual and a new four-speed automatic gearbox.
Underneath the archly conservative four-door sedan and wagon bodies lay an old-fashioned rear-wheel drive layout that used refined versions of the Bluebird’s struts and coil spring suspension.
The Pintara initially was sold in well-equipped GX and luxury GXE until the new GLi – as part of the Series II minor trim facelift of September ’87 - lost the sedan’s folding rear seat.
Another round of small trim changes and an improved four-speed automatic gearbox in October ’88 heralded the Series III, while the Executive replaced the GX. Only keen pricing kept buyers interested in the R31 Pintara.
The practical wagon outlived the sedan by just over a year, following the return of a Japanese Bluebird-based medium car replacement.
Confusingly, the new car – the front-wheel drive U12 series – was also called Pintara.