Nissan Stanza is First Produced
The Nissan Stanza started out in Japan as the Nissan Violet in 1973, and then was split into two other models in 1977 called the second generation Nissan Auster and Nissan Violet . All three bore the A10 codename, and were built in Japan at Hiratsuka and Oppama, Incidently, the codename A10 is also used by Toyota for the first generation Toyota Carina. A new third generation front-wheel drive model was launched in 1981 and shared the platform with the Compact MPV Nissan Prairie/Multi/Stanza Wagon. Final versions were Nissan Bluebirds series U12 rebadged for some international markets.
The Stanza/Auster/Violet were discontinued in 1990. The Stanza was replaced by the Nissan Altima in North America; the Auster in Japan was replaced by the Nissan Cefiro and the Stanza was replaced by the Nissan Primera in Japan, and the Violet was replaced by the established Nissan Pulsar in Japan.
The Stanza, as it was known in some markets, was first introduced in the 1977 model year as a rebadged Japanese-market Nissan Violet A10 and a companion to the (Japanese: Nissan Violet Auster), which was sold at a different Nissan Japan dealership network. The Stanza, which is Italian for "room" or "apartment", was introduced as an affordable family car one level below the Nissan Laurel, with the companion Nissan Auster as a similar vehicle below the Nissan Skyline sedan, with the Stanza sold at Nissan Japan dealerships that sold the top level car Cedric.
According to the companion article at Japanese Wikipedia, "Auster" is derived from "Worster" which means "south wind". The Stanza was sold at dealerships that sold the Cedric and Laurel; the Auster was sold at dealerships that sold the Gloria and Skyline. The Violet was sold at dealerships that sold the Nissan Sunny and Nissan Bluebird.
In Australia, it was called the Datsun Stanza, and in the United States the Datsun 510, a name which was recalled a previous Datsun 510. It was powered (in 1978 models) by the 2.0 L I4 L20B and in later years by the 2.0 L I4 Z20 series of engines.
Five body styles were on offer: 2- and 4-door saloons, a 3-door hatchback coupé (Nissan Violet), a 5-door hatchback (introduced later in the car's production run) and a 5-door estate. Transmissions offered were a 4-speed manual (in all except the 3-door hatchback), a 5 speed manual (in the 3-door hatchback only), and a 3-speed automatic.
This vehicle was available for sale around the same time as the first generation Toyota Celica Camry and the Honda Accord.
The Stanza was assembled in Australia from 1978–82, in 4-door 1.6 L saloon form, primarily to fill a gap between the Sunny and 200B. Trims available were "GL", "GX" and sporty "SSS".
While popular with buyers, the Australian Stanza was heavily criticized by the motoring journalists of the day (particularly Wheels Magazine), who regarded the car as being "unadventurous", particularly with regard to its styling and conventional drivetrain.
In 1979, 120 2-door coupé models were assembled in Australia, apparently due to a mix-up with Nissan Australia's kit ordering system.
New Zealand saw limited CBU imports of the Datsun 160J 3-door hatchback. The car was not widely available, as its place in the New Zealand market was generally filled by the Datsun 120Y and the Datsun Bluebird-based 160B.
In the United Kingdom, this generation was marketed as the Datsun Violet, and was sold in 1.4 L "GL" and 1.6 L "GL" engine/trim combinations. No estate models were offered.
The Violet 160J was Nissan's most successful car in the World Rally Championship. It won the Safari Rally in Kenya from 1979 to 1982 consecutively, all with Shekhar Mehta behind the wheel. The 1979 and 1980 winners were powered by an SOHC engine; the 1981 and 1982 winners were Violet GT models with a DOHC engine. These Safari records are only matched by the Toyota Celica GT-Four which won the 1992–95 events. Driven by Timo Salonen, the Violet also won the 1980 Rally New Zealand and the 1981 Rallye Côte d'Ivoire.
From 1982 to 1992, the Nissan Stanza was the auto maker's compact car, until it was replaced by the Nissan Altima. Its predecessor was the Datsun 510.
The Stanza came in a number of body styles, including a sedan, wagon, and hatchback.
Though the Stanza was discontinued in most export markets by 1986, it continued to be sold in the US. However, it was criticized for being too heavy and slow. The styling was also outdated.
By 1990, the Stanza was completely replaced by the car known as the Bluebird overseas, although it retained the Stanza name. The Stanza manged to eek out one more year in name only in the first Altima, which was officially named the Altima Stanza. By 1994, however, the Stanza had disappeared from the Nissan lineup completely.
The Nissan Violet was a midsized car produced by Nissan Motors since 1973. It was then divided into two models, the Auster and the Violet four years later. Rebranding occurred in 1984 primarily for the North American market, where the Violet became known as the Nissan Stanza.
However, ten years later, the Stanza was totally discontinued in all markets, giving way in North America to the Nissan Altima and in Japan to models Cefiro and Pulsar. As a racecar, a variation of the model, the Violet 160J became the most successful car of Nissan in the World Rally Championship.
From 1979 to 1982, it won Kenya's Safari Rally, 1980's Rally New Zealand and the Rallye Côte d'Ivoire in 1981. Although discontinued in the U.S. as early as 1992, its successor, the Altima, still bore its name for its first generation. It was known as the Nissan Stanza Altima, the Stanza dropped altogether in the Altima's succeeding second generation.