NISSAN Be-1 The1st of the PIKE cars


How it all started......

The fact that Nissan manufactured in 1987 a ridiculously small run of 10,000 very strange cars designed by an artist better known for his T shirt designs than anything remotely connected to automobiles is certainly remarkable. Nissan clearly wouldn't have made any financial return on this venture.

Imagine travelling back in time to 1985 and into a board meeting of  HOLDEN Ltd, the makers of the famous Aussie car.  The general business has concluded... the chairman and directors seated around the board table...The Chairman turns to the directors and declares the meeting open for new business.  A director asks to be heard. He proposes that the company design and manufacture a concept car for pure fun.  He proposes that MAMBO design this car and that 2,000 only be manufactured in a specialised factory The Chairman and the board break into applause, the chairman immediately instructs his secretary to get him Reg Mombassa of Mambo on the line ???? 



                                                                        Ford mid 90's concept based on the  Nissan PIKE cars...                                   

Pretty hard to imagine Ford or General Motors coming out with a range of cars as peculiar as the NISSAN PIKE Cars... yet for some reason, most people would think..they're Japanese .. so this is NORMAL.

 The real origins of these cars were strictly commercial. Nissan had lost significant market share to Toyota and Honda from the mid 70's. Primarily this was the youth segment who found that Nissan products had no appeal.  The Nissan Board focused on winning back their lost youth market segment by investing in products that outgunned their rivals. From here it is easy to understand the creation of the PIKE Cars - starting with the BE-1 and the rapid development of the existing SKYLINE series, along with the other numerous well known high performance variations manufactured by Nissan. The high performance cars chewed up a lot of money in development costs... while a concept car like the Be-1 was relatively cheap to produce - requiring no innovation capital investment. The Be-1 broke the ground for the rest of the Pike Cars.

The Be-1.... A concept car made in small numbers,and the first of a range of very quirky, low volume cars from Nissan.  

              Code Model BK10.

  Manufactured from January 13th1987 - May 20, 1988.
  Limited amount produced 10,000 cars.

  Nissan assembled a development team of designers and engineers under the age of 30 in 1984 to create a vehicle CHANGE THE TREND...NATURAL AND COMFORTABLE was the brief. Three full scale cars were produced.. A,  B1 and B2.    


These cars were exhibited to select foreigners, Nissan employees and young drivers.  "A" was well received by foreign viewers - a modern shape

B-1 was very well liked by the younger age group, B-2 had few admirers. B2 may have also have been referred to as Model was designed by an Italian studio.

B1 was exhibited at the Tokyo Motor Show and reaction closely monitored. The reaction was very positive and the crowds loved it. An overwhelming success.


In this succession of Tokyo Motor Show exhibitions the Figaro (1991) is complimented by a lady with atittude, Pao (1987) you get the sales managers niece, and for the Be-1 back in1985, you only get a picture of a girl on a monitor screen... ...



Conservative managers at Nissan in the early 1980's had great trouble embracing the thought of actually manufacturing a B1...  it would have been a very hard thing for a responsible and conservative board to swallow. At this point manufacture of the B1 was a possibility but only a remote one. Nissan product planning department conducted a very careful and detailed market survey that provided very strong support for the case to take the B1 concept to full manufacture - getting it over the line. The B1 had a job - create a new image for NISSAN


One Part of the BE-1 Market Research Document.   Nissan corporate just didn't wake up one morning and decide to knock out some weird cars because it made them feel sort of warm and fuzzy, and help sell "Hello Kitty" key rings.    

All Pike cars owe their existence to the solid market research conducted in the years between the 1985 TOKYO Motor Show exhibit of the prototype Be-1 and construction. Be-1 laid the foundation for the following cars.These cars took NISSAN somewhere it had to go to achieve financial strength and survival.  This chart represents AGE against CHARACTER. It indicates personal response to a viewing of proto Be-1 and reflects that the Be-1 is  pushing all the right buttons for the targeted demographic. 

 The public fell over themselves to place an order... with 6,000 orders in the first two weeks, 20,000 placed in 8 weeks    See my other 1988 Nissan →                                                               


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