We spotted the Nissan S-Cargo pictured below on the side of a restaurant in a rural part of Japan during a brief trip that we took last summer. The S-Cargo was more or less complete and not overly rough but it evidently hadn’t moved in a number of years.
We couldn’t find out how the S-Cargo ended up on the side of a restaurant because we don’t speak a word of Japanese and we didn’t see any stickers or tags that might indicate when it was last registered. However, it doesn’t take linguistic skills to tell that it is presently being used as a mobile storage facility for what appears to be cardboard and styrofoam boxes. It could be a former work van that the owner chose to hang on to for sentimental value or because of its rarity.
Introduced at the 1989 edition of the Tokyo Motor Show, the S-Cargo was openly inspired by the Citroën 2CV AZ/AK van that were built for decades. It harked back to the 2CV with styling cues like headlights that stick out from the body, split front windows and plastic flares over the front wheel arches designed to mimic the 2CV’s iconic fenders. Even the name paid homage to the deux cheveaux: S-Cargo is pronounced “escargot” in French, a word that translates to “snail.” The 2CV was often nicknamed the tin snail due to its shape and its performance.
We can’t imagine this S-Cargo would be difficult to get back on the road. Relatively few were built and model-specific parts are likely very difficult to come by, but most mechanical components (including the 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine) were sourced directly from the Nissan parts bin.