By on March 21, 2018

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamToday in Rare Rides, we’re keeping it brougham. Last time, we examined a grey Mercury Grand Monarch Ghia (as 1970s America addressed brougham).

Now, we check out a grey Nissan Gloria Brougham VIP, as 1990s Japan addressed brougham.

Image: 2003 Infiniti M45The historic Gloria nameplate started off as a luxury offering from Prince, all the way back in 1959. At that time Gloria was offered as a luxury-oriented version of the Prince Skyline. Once Nissan married into the family, Gloria took a new first name. In the early 1970s, the Gloria became a version of Nissan’s Cedric sedan. The family relationship stayed the same through the very end in 2004, which was coincidentally one of only two years you could buy a Gloria in North America. That’d be the short-lived Infiniti M45 of 2003-2004 (seen above).

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamOur subject today is the very JDM and very upright Y31 generation Gloria. This is the pillarless hardtop sedan version, which existed in this iteration between 1988 and 1991.

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamOf the seven different trim levels of the Gloria, Brougham VIP rests atop the price list. At the time, Nissan’s JDM lineup suffered from a lot of crowding. The major competitors to the Gloria were other versions of Nissan sedans — often built on the same platform. The Leopard, Cedric, Skyline, Cefiro, and Laurel were all similar sedans appealing to roughly the same customer.

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria Brougham

It’s easy to see, however, that this particular Gloria trim was aimed squarely at the more conservative buyer. An interior of brown velour still wears its branded, protective doilies.

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamA power rear seat control for the split bench provides executives riding in the back with comfort options. Most surfaces are covered in power feature buttons, along with high-gloss wood trim.

In a unique design choice, the three-spoke wheel turns around a stationary center cluster. In what was likely a first-of moment, there was an optional integrated hands-free phone system available for the Gloria. Look at that!

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamPowering all of this luxury equipment is something familiar to the American Nissan enthusiast: a turbo VG30ET engine, similar to what you’d find in a Nissan 300ZX.

Image: 1991 Nissan Gloria BroughamWith about 37,000 miles on the odometer a less-than-perfect condition, this Gloria Brougham is available in the trendy city of Austin, Texas for $3,495. I would not, as the ad suggests, use it for rural postal carrier delivery. I might, however, drive it about town in a formal and dignified fashion while wearing a conservative, double-breasted suit.

H/t to commenter JohnTaurus for providing today’s Rare Rides subject. Have your own submission? Send it to [email protected]

[Images via Nissan, seller]

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46 Comments on “Rare Rides: 1991 Nissan Gloria Brougham – Formal, Turbocharged, Pillarless Motoring Awaits...”


  • avatar
    gtem

    Dem JDM doilies. Absolutely ubiquitous on grey-market JDM imports in Siberian Russia in the 90s-2000s.

    I adore this thing, and I will point to the K900 Kia article and argue there are quite some parallels to be drawn. The Kia needs some brown velour and doilies though.

    Minor correction Corey: I think this VG30DET is a single turbo like on the Z31 (not VG30DETT as seen on Z32 300ZX).

    • 0 avatar

      I’m trying to fix it, I know. I knew that while writing too – erroneous mention! As soon as I can get access to WP.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      What is it about the Japanese, and curtains and doilies in vehicles? This thing just has doilies, but if it were a JDM van, it would have curtains, too. Toyota Estimas (Previas) imported into the US usually have them.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I’d heard from Russian sources (a used JDM car buyer’s guide published in the 90s for what its worth) that the white doilies were there in part to emphasize how clean the interior was. A white piece of cloth will obviously show dirt easily, so pristine white doilies = clean car! The guide also spends a lot of time on automatic transmissions and how to test them within the constraints of an auction yard. At the time the Russian masses knew only stick shifts from Ladas, Moskvitches and the like. Smooth shifting automatics were truly witchcraft.

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          I’d like to read their procedure on how to test automatics in the auction yard. Sure, you can go from Park to Reverse to Drive and back, etc., but that won’t tell you if the transmission slips, jerks, flares, etc. Information like that would be useful anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            It was fairly generic stuff like watching for delays in engagement going between park/drive/reverse, checking fluid color, listening for any whining from the pump, etc. Wouldn’t necessarily tell you everything about a gearbox like flares and such, but might alert you to one that is totally a goner.

        • 0 avatar

          In other news:
          https://portland.craigslist.org/yam/cto/6538199573.html

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The “doilies” are antimacassars, and date from the late Victorian practice of putting covers on the backs of furniture to prevent stains from hair dressing oils (macassar oil being a common one). In Japan, they became a standard decoration for more luxurious cars (you won’t typically see them on Skylines or Bluebirds, for example).

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Yes, the twin-turbo was reserved for the Z32. The engine lineup for this generation included the RD28 diesel (for taxicab duty), base model VG20E (single cam 2-liter), VG20DET (twin cam turbo, about the same output as the VG30E), VG30E (single cam 3-liter, same as the ’80s 300ZX and Maxima), and the VG30ET (single-cam single turbo). The twin-cam VG30DE and VG30DET were reserved for the Cima (same chassis with different styling) and the Leopard.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Ah I knew I may have been missing something, and it was the “D” part of the engine code to differentiate SOHC and DOHC heads. Yesterday’s J30 had the naturally aspirated DOHC variant, for example. Mazda had a similar setup with their JE 3.0L V6, lesser 929s (and the MPV) got SOHC variants with 150hp, the 929 “S” got the DOHC 190-ish hp version.

        Interesting to learn about the antimacassars as well.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    If that Gloria-based M45 had been pillarless, it would have been absolute JDM perfection.

    This earlier version isn’t bad, but despite their authenticity the embroidered seat covers have to go.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    That automatic shifter is triggering memories of the beater ’87 Stanza which was my ride in college car until my brother got in an accident with it. I remember it being an overdrive button that would stay lit when on.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    This reminds me of the Cressida, which I always loved.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    “Of the seven different trim levels of the Gloria, Brougham VIP rests atop the price list.”

    Kinda the flipside of Dante’s circles of Hell. I like it.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Plus, with that flagpole on the left front fender, you can fly a flag and pretend you’re a third world dictator with an insatiable desire for JDM unicorn cars.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I would like to have this car, and the asking price isn’t outrageous.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      It is pretty nice from 20 feet away (probably needs some mechanical husbandry, though). There is also a pimptacular R31 Skyline on BringaTrailer:

      https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1986-nissan-skyline-passage-gt/

  • avatar
    W210Driver

    About three years ago I was in Taiwan and I am almost certain I saw these Glorias or Cedrics all over the place with LHD steering. I am not sure of the model year in the photo link below, but the Cedric/Gloria always came in two sedan body styles; sedan and hardtop, the latter being pillarless.

    This is a Taiwanese Cedric/Gloria sedan. Notice the LHD steering wheel position.

    https://farm9.static.flickr.com/8381/29053119503_028c554e3e_b.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      That one is actually a Y30, the early-mid ’80s generation preceding our subject car.

      • 0 avatar

        Many of the JDM RWD sedans at this time ended up being used then (and later) as mild rework/rebadge jobs by Korean manufacturers, who didn’t have the know-how to play in that arena.

        So they take a Gloria and swap some bumpers or something, make it LHD, and sell it places where Nissan doesn’t sell the Gloria.

        Kia Enterprise is a good example which comes to mind. A rework of the final generation Mazda Sentia – which was also sold as the 929. Another frameless hardtop.

      • 0 avatar
        W210Driver

        Bumpy,

        Thank you for clearing that up.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    That brown velour interior is what a white one would look like if my Uncle Carl owned that vehicle for a couple of years. Carl smoked in his cars, his house, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he smoked in the shower. Old Gold kings were his cancer sticks of choice. Carl bought a new car every two years like clockwork and then traded them in, I pity the sucker who bought them. There’s no way that smell came out of those cars, you’d could cure a ham in the backseat when he was driving. He smoked with the windows rolled up in the cold weather, it looked like the car was on fire when he opened the doors. Those brown seats remind me of him. The cigs didn’t kill him btw, an Ithaca 12-gauge did, he was shot in a hunting accident back in ‘78.

  • avatar
    RatherhaveaBuick

    Great interior design. I just wanna push all the buttons…

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      Absolutely! A lot of idle time in my childhood was spent poking around our family’s 80s-90s Hondas and Mazdas. My older brother the analytic would sit and read the entire manual, I just wanted to press everything and feel how the buttons felt. I’m this goes a long way towards explaining my gravitation towards these sorts of vehicles. I have a hard time getting excited about modern touch screens and interior design. But show me a manual equalizer on an old stereo and a tidy digital clock in the dash, now we’re talking!

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Toyota called, they want the tooling to their Cressida back. The rear view in particular is 100 per cent Cressida. I do love all these Salary-man cars though, no matter which manufacturer.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    My first suit is double-breasted, I still have it somewhere in my closet. I’m waiting for it to be fashionable again before I gain that middle age belly.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    I hope its sharkskin Andy Garcia style in Black Rain


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