By on March 22, 2018

This week has unintentionally been all about brougham here on the Rare Rides pages. Kicking things off was the Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia, followed by a Nissan Gloria in Brougham VIP guise. Broughams from America and Japan, displaying that brougham effect across the globe and across decades.

So let’s try another configuration: a 1970s top-tier brougham from Japan — the Nissan President.

Sitting at the very pinnacle of the Nissan sedan hierarchy was the President. Far above the midsize Gloria, the President competed with the exclusive Toyota Century. The typical customer of such a vehicle was the wealthy business executive or a Japanese governmental figure, meaning domestic manufacturers brought their A-game to this segment. This doesn’t include Mitsubishi, which rebadged a Hyundai and then an Infiniti.

The President arrived on the scene for the 1966 model year, replacing the Cedric Special as the flagship of the brand. Nissan saw that it needed to become President(ial) to compete with the new Toyota Crown Eight, which was introduced for 1965 and quickly succeeded by the Century for 1968.

Immediate use for the President was found in the Japanese government, where the prime minister used one as his transport. Meanwhile, the country’s emperor traveled in a specially-built Prince Royal. A notable development for the first generation Prince came in 1971, when it offered Japan’s first electronic anti-lock braking system.

As the first generation’s styling was stuck in the sixties, it was soon time for a rethink. The second-generation President debuted for the 1974 model year, riding on the same platform as the previous version. Updates were extensive: the President was completely redone inside and out. That’s where our Rare Ride from 1979 enters the picture.

Today’s example is a top-level Sovereign trim (available from 1977 onward), and badges all around indicate the presence of the largest 4.4 liter V8 engine. A large car with an engine of large displacement equals a large road tax bill in Japan, and all of this equates to a great amount of prestige for the lucky owner, as well as his attending chauffeur.

The President is not shy in the overhangs department, and its side profile shares many cues with a mid-sixties American sedan. The long (and lowered) body drowns its tiny tires and wheel covers.

The interior is swathed in fine leather, wood, and the best materials Nissan could locate. Black leather seats are button-tufted, just like every luxury car in America in 1979. This particular example’s leather seats say something about the car’s original owner. Restraint is paramount in Japan’s executive sedan segment, and dictates a fine wool interior. Its lack of sheen and noise is the appropriate choice for the discerning customer. Clearly, this President is a bit uncouth.

Flashy leather can get hot and sticky, but an owner won’t have to worry. There’s a rear air conditioner to assist in-cabin comfort.

As you’d expect, everything is electrically operated, and there’s a sound mixer in the center console. The steering wheel’s a bit Cadillac-esque, eh? On sale not far from the Nissan-Datsun-Prince-Infiniti HQ in Nashville, this prestigious (and not perfect) Nissan is asking a bit over $26,000. It’s showing only 59,000 miles on the well-aligned analog odometer.

[Images via seller]

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29 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1979 Nissan President, an Executive Luxury Brougham...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    Awwwww, that speedometer strip is in km/h.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well the information centre looks like it came for the GM parts bin from a previous generation. As does the front grill and headlight treatment.

    Demonstrating how the Japanese, like the Koreans after them, used derivative style while developing their expertise.

    Also, although interesting, I would suspect that sourcing Nissan/Datsun parts for this vehicle would be a nightmare.

  • avatar
    gtem

    The Brougham-tastic Americana styling/features inside and out combined with Japanese build is making my brain melt, and I think I like it.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Two tons and 200 hp, built for comfort and not for speed.

  • avatar
    gtem

    I’m actually curious why the seats are leather and not velour/wool? I had always thought the Japanese considered the sound of leather being sat on as being undignified for the lucky passengers riding in the back.

  • avatar
    s_a_p

    I am getting Buick vibes from this thing. B Body LaSabre Buick vibes even. I really like this thing…

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    It’s sits so low, it’s almost like it’s bagged. Looking at the zillions of high-res photos, it has a fifty-foot quality respray, and some rust-through showing, mainly in the lower front corner of the driver’s door (and maybe at the bottom of the dogleg on that side, but that may be a reflection off the floor). There’s also some rust on the passenger side of the hood, but that may be from various batteries outgassing over the last 39 years. Forget about listening to any FM radio stations on the Hitachi radio, as it covers 76-90 mHz instead of our usual 87.9-108.

    I’d be paranoid about getting picked off by an inattentive SUV driver, and then trying to figure out where to find collision parts for it. Somehow I think Gateway is going to have a hard time getting anywhere close to $26k for this thing. There’s hardly any market for it short of a hardcore JDM collector, or a museum.

    The greenhouse and the overall shape reminds me of a ’63 Olds F-85, with the front end from the Mazda Roadpacer (how’s that for arcane?).

  • avatar
    gtem

    I always thought the Japanese American-knock off styling of this era looked eerily familiar to Soviet copycat-ing with their executive ZiL limousines. In fact the ZiL 117 rear styling looks like a copy of a Japanese executive saloon moreso than am American one. I think it’s the mid 60s curves combined with late 70s-early 80s lighting elements.

    goo.gl/images/K6heZA

  • avatar
    Middcore

    “The interior is swathed in fine leather, wood, and the best materials Nissan could locate. Black leather seats are button-tufted, just like every luxury car in America in 1979. This particular example’s leather seats say something about the car’s original owner. Restraint is paramount in Japan’s executive sedan segment, and dictates a fine wool interior. Its lack of sheen and noise is the appropriate choice for the discerning customer. Clearly, this President is a bit uncouth.”

    So what you’re saying is the original owner of this car was definitely a yakuza boss.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Calling Steve McGarrett!

    And am I the only one who thinks that front end is a dead ringer for a ’72 Caprice?

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    This may be the best Rare Ride yet.

    Digging the “PRESIDENT NAPS” badge. First there was the Nissan Z…and this was the the Nissan Zzzzzz.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    You could easily fit a couple of mob informants in that trunk, low lift height too.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Lincoln from the side, Oldsmobile from the front, Benz from the rear, Caddy from the inside. A Japanese car from the era when the Japanese were criticized for copying their neighbors’ homework.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Like I had stated before, Toyota and Nissan are full-line brands in Japan – selling everything from econoboxes to full out luxury models (as was Hyundai in Korea, and to a lesser extent Kia).

    Luxury models in those markets were essentially their own sub-brand with their own distinct badging.

    The establishment of Lexus and Infiniti as a separate sales channel was primarily for the US market.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    The badge on the nose absolutely screams “Caprice Classic”!

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