Engine began to misfire soon after purchase which was traced to a faulty HT lead.
However, cold starting was a problem and the misfire re-appeared within a short space of time. It was found that another faulty lead was causing a weak spark and led to the electric choke flooding the engine and soaking all the spark plugs with neat petrol.
At this stage, I decided that it was my own fault as I should have replaced all of the HT the leads when the first fault was diagnosed.
The car ran well for another 5000 miles, but then died at the side of the road leaving me stranded 20 miles from home late one winter afternoon. After being towed home after dark (an experience in itself) a visit to the garage (and more expense) revealed that the distributor had burned out.
Again, I put this down to experience although I was beginning to question the myth of supreme Japanese reliability.
At idle, the timing chain rattled like a tin of rusty nails and I was advised that a worn tensioner was a likely cause. However, as changing it involved removing part of the cooling system and it was much less noisy at higher revs, I decided to ignore the problem. I didn't want more trouble and expense unless I was certain that the tensioner and not the timing chain itself was at fault.
At 95000 miles the engine developed another misfire and was running on 3 cylinders. A valve had burned out and it was to cost another £300 before I was back on the road.
Five months and 7000 miles later I was again having problems and this time it was terminal. The piston rings on one cylinder had failed thus covering the spark plug in oil and the engine would need a rebuild. There were only a few weeks left on the MOT and I knew other jobs (such as a split CV boot) would be needed so I ran it on 3-and-a-bit cylinders until the MOT expired and sold it for spares for a fraction of the purchase price that I had paid 12 months earlier. I preferred not to think about all the other repair costs that I had incurred during my period of ownership.
The car had a nasty habit of losing nearly all power during hard acceleration on long uphill gradients. I never traced the problem, but suspect that it may have been due to dirt in the fuel system or a sticking float. It didn't happen often, but it was quite alarming when it did. Crawling up a hill with your speed dropping rapidly, your foot to the floor and a juggernaut closing rapidly in your rear mirror is a little worrying. I felt like Dennis Weaver in 'Duel'.
These were mainly good, but the warning light advising that the drivers door was open was always on. I replaced the switch in the door pillar as well as most of the wiring leading into it. This had no effect so it was another feature of the car that I resolved to live with.
I needed a car capable of long motorway journeys. I wanted something cheap, comfortable, reliable and with good fuel economy. My Allegro was great fun, but didn't fit the bill as a long distance motorway cruiser and so I decided to opt for some Japanese reliability. Although 12 years old and with 84000 miles to its credit, the bodywork was excellent and the interior looked more like 2 years old. With a decent stereo, five gears and unleaded petrol, I thought that I had a car capable of good service in return for careful maintenance. How wrong I was.
When the car was going well things were fine. It would eat up the motorway miles quite nicely although the fuel economy was not good for a 1400cc car.
Although I covered over 21000 miles in the year that I owned it, the car proved to be fundamentally unreliable with major mechanical failures making it uneconomical to own. It was quite an old car and had covered a high mileage, but many cars of the 1980's and early 1990's are capable of far higher mileages with much less trouble.
It did prove however that Japan can build a poor car as well as everyone else and a bad Nissan is the same as any other money pit on wheels.
I was glad to see the back of it and still miss my old Allegro. The latter was fun, stood out from the crowd and needed a fraction of the money spending on it than a car that was 13 years newer and supposedly from a superior manufacturer.