2003-2004 Infiniti M45
This new sedan (internal code Y50) featured smaller exterior dimensions, more interior space, and a more conventional and amorphous design. Consumers responded by buying 24,000 of them in the first year. All of this conspires to make the Y34 not only relatively uncommon but also a car that many people are entirely unaware of. This will work in your favor if you want to buy one.
These cars were pretty loaded when new, featuring lots of leather and wood, sophisticated tech such as xenon headlamps, speed-sensitive steering, laserdistance cruise control, heated and cooled front seats, and a signature garish Infiniti analog clock. Still, searching online automotive listings revealed a number of well-cared-for cars with less than 100,000 miles trading in the mid-four-figure range. This low price will net you a thrilling and exclusive competitor to Aughties Germans. Plus, it will provide a point of access to those cool vintage Japanese car shows.
“It has a definitive ‘JDM’ look that captures the eyes of tuners that grew up with Japanese hot hatches and who chose domestic-market-only cars to ‘drive’ in ‘Gran Turismo,’” Bazemore says.
Wu has other, more practical reasons for recommending a purchase. And higher hopes. “It’s significantly cheaper to buy than an LS—everyone knows about the LS and how popular and reliable it is,” Wu says. “But so far, the M45 has been really reliable. Even though it’s a rare car, it shares a lot of parts with other Nissan cars, so parts aren’t hard to come by and not that pricey. And I think it has the potential to become a future classic because of how rare it is. Once people get to know about how unique and rare it is, they’ll come to appreciate it.”
We already do. AM
Joe Wu has changed the car’s bumper and grille, rebadging it as a Nissan, and added chromeringed snowflake wheels to give it a tuner JDM feel. He’s also worked on the interior, locating hard-to-find trim bits and veneer.
Joe Wu’s upgrades to his Infiniti include BC coil-overs with adjustable dampers (below).