Rare Rides: The 1979 Nissan President, an Executive Luxury Brougham

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the 1979 nissan president an executive luxury brougham

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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2 of 29 comments
  • Bd2 Bd2 on Mar 23, 2018

    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.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Apr 10, 2018

    The badge on the nose absolutely screams "Caprice Classic"!

  • Cprescott I remember when Fords were affordable.
  • Cprescott As a once very LOYAL FORD buyer, I had to replace my 22 year old Ford (bought new in 1997) once it finally started to have problems at 180k miles. I would have gladly purchased something like this from Ford but they abandoned me as a car buyer. Oddly, Hyundai still builds cars in a variety of flavors so I became a customer of theirs and am very happy. Likely will consider another once this one gets up in mileage.
  • SCE to AUX A friend once struck a mounted tire that was laying flat in the middle of her lane on the PA Turnpike. She was in a low late-90s Grand Prix, and the impact destroyed the facia, core support, radiators, oil pan, transmission, subframe, and suspension. They fixed it all.
  • Dukeisduke Lol, it's not exactly a Chevrolet SS with Holden badging.
  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.