As usual, we have been routinely featuring mega modified masterpiece from our Southern California contributor, Team Hybrid. However, this time around, let us take you for a journey to the path less traveled. This is the story of Christopher Malloy’s new baby the Nissan Pao.
During the late 1970s through the early 1990s is a time when Japan’s economy was booming and many of the powerful, unusual dream machines came from that era. It is the era of what I would say is the peak of JDM car but it didn’t last long because that era soon faded with the brutal recession and cars from that era were left as a dream or a poster hanging in your bedroom. The Americans import law, however, they are catching up to the best of the JDM era as the age of cars is beginning to overlap the 25-year ban and in conclusion, the Americans are entering the very best era of Japanese cars.
The Pao was born in the era of best Japanese cars (1989 to 1991) designed by Nissan’s Pike Factory in Yokosuka. Designed by Naoki Sakai, a teenager who is obsessed with Japanese tattoo culture but somehow manage to find himself designing cars for Nissan. Four of Sakai cars were put into production which is the Be-1, the S-Cargo, the Figaro and the Pao. Pao is a Chinese word meaning “Mongolian portable dwelling” and with that in mind Sakai has designed the car in a retro style but uses an older design and vocabulary but when it was launched, the Pao was way ahead of its era. There are only 51,657 units ever made and were sold in three months by pre-orders however it was never put back into production again despite getting over 200,000 pre-orders.
One day in early late 2018, Christopher Malloy was browsing the internet like what we all do during our free time just to look for the perfect next project car. He knew that he wanted something different, something special unlike the R32s or the 240zs because let’s be fair, they are still cool and great cars but they just don’t feel rare and special like they used to as it is such a common sight to see these cars at a meet and greet or any other event. It was at that time, Christopher Malloy spotted an odd little car on a Japanese auction site, it was a Nissan Pao and next thing you know it is sitting right at his driveway.
Being a car that is nearly 30 years old, the body needed some work to give it a second life and Christopher Malloy sends his little Nissan Pao to S&M Autobody in North Las Vegas. The shop executed everything he wanted and was done within 4 weeks. The Nissan Pao looked better than new. Christopher Pao came with a canvas ragtop option which is a must-have if you love having the wind blowing in your hair. The canvas ragtop is the hardest part of getting the Nissan Pao back to showroom quality and after searching for weeks, Ian’s Auto Upholstery stepped up and 6 days later, the ragtop is in working condition like brand new.
Originally the Pao came with tiny 12-inch wheels but Christopher didn’t like that look at all so he decided to grab a chance and go for some 15-inch Rota RB-X. A quick trip to the machine shop and the wheels fit perfectly. Finding tires to fit the car was not an easy task as nothing fits the car. Christopher said, “this was where being part of Team Hybrid came in handy”. After a phone call, he went with BFGoodrich Tires, the G-FORCE SPORT COMP-2 which worked just right and will also provide the best handling, cornering and stopping control.
The Nissan Pao features a humble little 1.0-liter eight-valve engine producing 52 horsepower paired with a 3-speed automatic gearbox. Christopher topped off the engine compartment with some oil from AMSOIL, the first in synthetics and also one of Team Hybrid title sponsor, the Pao is where it is today. To complete one more finishing touch on the Pao, Glassy Business in Las Vegas gave the Pao a vinyl wood paneling and tint to tie in the retro look Christopher was looking for.
Christopher Malloy extends his heartfelt thanks to Team Hybrid Nevada Chapter for the support they have shown him since joining March of 2019. Next up is Founder/President James Lin for always leading by example plus consistently giving and showing me the Hybrid Luv since the beginning. None of this would be happening without him. In the US military which Christopher served and just like in the team, “Loyalty Makes You Family. Respect Is Earned and Not Given.” James Lin has always said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with a legendary team.” Thank you to Oxnard Chapter Director, Sergio Guevara for considering the build and last but not least, Hybrid Luv to the team and his individual sponsors: BFGoodrich and AMSOIL.
Car: Nissan Pao
Engine: MA10 (4-cyl. in line, OHC), 987cc
Transmission: 3-speed AT, floor shift
Suspension (front/rear): Strut/4-link
Wheel/Tires: BFGoodrich G-FORCE SPORT COMP-2, 195/50R15 /Rota RB-X
Photographer credit: Paul Medina