2003-2004 In­finiti M45

Automobile - - Classic -

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).

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