The three door Stanza? I was flicking through an early (November 1981) T11 Stanza brochure yesterday and it got me thinking about the three door variant. The more I looked at the pictures, the more I became convinced that I’ve never actually seen one.. ever! Now the five door hatch, that’s quite familiar… and whilst considerably more scarce than the five door, so is the slightly odd looking saloon. But that three door most definitely isn’t. It’s quite curious just how different it is from the five door version. Not only are the rear lights different and the side vent not present, but the three door even has a different tailgate. The differences don’t stop there either. The three door sports a roof-line some 20mm lower than its saloon and five door siblings, combined with a slightly more raked windscreen to give it a sleeker overall profile. It kind of looks like a cross between a Toyota Corolla and a Hyundai Pony from the rear three quarter view…
The preceding model to the T11 was the A10, which was sold in the UK as either a 140J or 160J, and then later on badged just as a Violet. The UK market received the four door saloon and three door hatchback variants, the latter of which was generally referred to as a coupé and came in sporty SSS form. The Nissan chassis numbers designate coupes with the prefix “K”, making an ordinary Datsun 160J A10 model saloon a “PA10” and a coupe a “KPA10”. A quick check on the technical details of the three door Stanza reveals the designation to be “KT11”, so it’s considered a coupé too. So logically, this car is the successor to the legendary Violet SSS coupe and the low roof-line simply follows how the two previous generations of coupe were styled, for both featured a lower roof-line than their saloon counterparts.
So does that make it a re-badged Violet coupé? Well… actually no not really. In Japan, although the T11 model was indeed sold badged as a Violet, it was only in five door hatchback and saloon bodies. The three door only came badged as an Auster, and of course there were no T11 SSS variants, the top of the line versions being the GT-ES and GT-EX.
The three door version even carried on into the next generation, the T12, which curiously came to Europe badged as a Bluebird, rather than its real name of either Auster or Stanza. The T12 version was still technically regarded as a coupé, and carried the designation “KPT12U” (for CA18S engined versions). The three door T12 was never officially sold in the UK, although two were brought in for type approval work by Nissan UK. One of these cars (picture below thanks to Spotted Laurel) was on the road as late as 2002 but does it still exist?
So, getting back to the T11… what’s happened to all the three door Stanzas? Well, a little checking reveals that no less than 6381 three door T11 Stanzas (model KT11U) were registered in the UK between 1st January 1981 and 1st February 1986, with the earliest chassis number being 0300066. Sadly, it would be a very laborious job to determine how many… if any, are left on the road, but considering the number sold, it’s likely there are still a handful in use. So if you have one of these cars and you’d like to let me know that there really are still some left, please get in touch!