Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
Matchbox 2000 Nissan Xterra
Matchbox 2000 Nissan Xterra

When a Nissan became an American icon.

Just before I was born, in the year 1999, Nissan Design International was designing a brand new vehicle for the American market in California. They set a goal for themselves, “... to create an affordable, rugged, quality piece of equipment”, President Jerry Hirshberg of Nissan Design International stated. Later that year, Nissan unveiled the all-new 2000 Nissan Xterra with the marketing tagline: Everything you need, nothing you don’t. It featured rugged, yet simple off-road styling with two trim levels of XE and SE. Power came from either a 143 horsepower Inline-4, or a 170 horsepower, 3.3 liter V6 engine. It was based on the 4x4 platform of the Frontier. It was built for 2 model years before it was face-lifted for the 2002 model year with new exterior styling, most notably round headlights.

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Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra

This particular model is a Matchbox from Matchbox’s new 2020 Moving Parts Series. The moving part on this model is the rear hatch. The casting itself is metal with the rear hatch being plastic, as well as the base.

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Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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As soon as I saw that this model was coming out, I had to get it. I just can’t pass up on yellow cars, and I have a certain place in my soul for the Xterra. The details are great, too, with badges on the hatch and colored in headlights. Even the rear wiper was tastefully integrated and painted. My only real complaint is the rear hatch. It’s terribly difficult to open without long fingernails, and the fit-and-finish isn’t too great. It has a difficult time staying fully opened, as you’ll see. I wish the hatch was metal, but the hinges are attached to the rear glass, so I guess it makes sense to be plastic. I can live with it, considering it’s just a Matchbox, and not expensive. I still feel they could’ve done a little better, or at least added taillight tampos.

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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I do like the black accents on the sides and the roof-rack design. This has easily become one of my favorite models.

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra

I guess those are backpacks in the trunk? I’m not exactly sure, but that’s what I see. Makes sense with how popular this vehicle is in over-landing, these days. As you can see, I had to prop the hatch with a wood-chip to see inside easily.

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Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra

One thing’s for sure, it looks very at home in the sand!

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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Right at home in the dirt. When the Xterra was debuted, Looks Good Dirty was the theme. People sure do use ‘em in the dirt and mud.

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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In 2004, the Xterra got totally redesigned for the second generation as a 2005 model year. It was mostly unchanged for 10 years until Nissan USA could no longer justify selling it. It was discontinued in the 2015 model-year due to poor fuel economy, declining sales, and new safety guidelines that the aging Xterra could simply not meet. The Xterra was also sold in Brazil under a different design until 2007. Though it is discontinued, it is still a legendary vehicle for people who take their Xterra off-road. It is highly sought after for its simple, yet capable off-road abilities.

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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Very cool casting! (Looks good with my S2000, too) :)

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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... and just for fun, a few other cool castings!

Illustration for article titled Land Of The Rising Sun - Birth of Xterra
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I’ll leave you with a video showcasing the designing, building, and production of the first Xterras back in 1999 and 2000. So awesome!

Have a great week!

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