Though initially developed to serve as the official limousine of Japan’s Imperial family, Nissan’s president was instead relegated to carting about mere prime ministers. Visiting dignitaries, industry titans, celebrity entertainers, and high-ranking yakuza were other common President passengers.
Though the President was introduced two years earlier than the similarly prestigious Toyota Century of 1967, that car was derived from Toyota’s Crown Eight of 1964. Arguably, both marques deserve equal credit for pioneering exclusive, V8-powered, Japanese domestic market luxury vehicles.
Both are spectacular, and neither is common outside of Japan, though we can’t say we’ve never seen a Toyota Century prowling the diverse and dazzling streets of L.A.
As a rare, pre square headlight facelift 1982 example in what appears to be highly original and preserved condition, this auction car represents something truly exotic in North America.
Its metric odometer reads 45k and change, and overall condition and completeness suggest this could possibly be an accurate figure.
The vast majority of these cars left their Kanagawa birthplace wearing black paint, though other, suitably muted tones of navy, silver, and white were optioned with less frequency. While innately conservative in shape, the car brims with ornate badging, brightwork, and trim, much like the badges on the breast of a diplomat’s traditionally tailored gray suit.
Crosshair wheel covers are correct, and work very well with red rims and wide whitewalls. As mentioned above, these second generation HS250 chassis code cars underwent a facelift sometime during this example’s 1982 model year, replacing its attractive round quad headlights with square, among other changes of subjective value.
The early President and Century ape the style of contemporary Detroit luxury offerings, including interior design, as well as their V8 engines and the shape of their sheet metal. Take for example the auction car’s wide, horizontal speedometer, column-mounted shifter, wood veneer trim, and a steering wheel copied almost directly from those of 1970’s Cadillacs.
Wool upholstery departs from Detroit’s preference for leather at the high end, though it’s been said that very traditionally minded Japanese clientele prefer textiles to leather due to the latter’s tendency to “squeak”. As such, it can be difficult to find a President or Century with leather.
Note the spectacular joystick audio balance control and equalizer sliders on the center console, as well as power sliding and reclining rear seats, power vent windows, and mysterious, delightfully antiquated “parking alarm” toggle switch - as with Century's of the time, 1980’s Presidents are a real throwback to First Tokyo Olympics Era Japanese auto manufacturing.
This car runs very well, recent service, Front and rear Ac are working correct as well as all electrical components, very little wear to interior w one small split on the corner of the drivers seat.