The 1980s saw Japanese auto boom in the U.S., while at home the "Bubble Economy" of the latter half of the decade swelled corporate coffers. The heady atmosphere lead first Honda, then Toyota and Nissan, to launch luxury divisions, aimed primarily at the U.S. market. Nissan formed a secret task force in 1985 to create Infiniti, and the brand launched (simultaneously with Lexus) at the 1989 Detroit Auto Show. The Infiniti Q45 was the brand's flagship and displayed a distinctly Japanese take on the luxury sedan.
Whereas the Lexus LS400 was like the world's most perfect Cadillac — all silence and smoothness — the more driver-oriented Q45 was something akin to an Asian Jaguar. The Zen-like styling eschewed luxury car clichés such as interior wood trim and a fancy chrome grille. Instead, the nose of the Q45 was adorned with a stylized badge that was suggestive of a samurai shield.
When Lexus stormed out of the gate and left Infiniti far behind, Nissan's luxury division began to dial back the iconoclasm and tack toward conventionality. All of which makes this early, 1992-model Q45 a rare and intriguing machine. It's all the more representative of Infiniti's early days because of its ultra-low mileage: just 8,800 miles are on the clock.
Up for sale right now on the auction website Cars & Bids, this Q45 reportedly had just one owner up until last year. It features a leather interior, power seats, a sunroof and a trunk-mounted 10-disc CD changer. Under the hood is a DOHC 4.5-liter V8 that's good for 278 horsepower and pairs with a four-speed automatic transmission to drive the rear wheels. Of note is the factory case that houses the original titanium keys.
At this writing, bidding for this rarely seen Japanese luxury sedan stands at $11,000 with two days left to go in the auction. That seems a small sum for such a well-preserved totem of the Japanese auto industry's master-of-the-universe period.