CC Capsule: 1978 Nissan Gloria (330) Deluxe – Killer Vanilla

We’ve been here before. The Nissan 330, whether wearing a Cedric or a Gloria badge, has graced these pages before. Our sorely missed Professor Andreina was an avid fan, alerting us to this automobile’s extraordinary nature. Just think: a ‘70s Nissan that actually looks good? A Japanese car with a heavy helping of Detroit styling cues that doesn’t overplay its hand? Almost impossible.

Because we’ve read about these before, I will limit this piece to merely reinforcing the point that these are lovely-looking machines, and add some illustrations thereof. Previous CC posts featured even more desirable higher-trim hardtop sedans, but I have uncovered an absolute minter of a late-production near-base-model pillared saloon. Plain vanilla, if you will.

The Nissan 330 arrived on the scene in June 1975, clad in four different bodies: pillared saloon, hardtop sedan, hardtop coupé and wagon. Engine options included a 2-litre and a 2.8 litre L-series 6-cyl. and a 2.2 litre Diesel 4-cyl.; taxi grade cars were available with a 2-litre LPG 4-cyl. as well. In mid-1977, the model was given a facelift, which on the Gloria led to this somewhat simpler grille.

Our feature car has had a fair amount of work done, I assume. Nothing this old could look this clean. Speaking from experience…

Still, it looks like it’s had a good life, even if it is but a humble Deluxe with the standard issue single carb 115hp straight-6 – mated to a 3-speed “full” auto, according to the script on the bootlid.

The interior is not singing from the same hymn sheet, though. That questionably florid lever looks like a manual. So who knows what’s under the hood here… Lovely dash though, very different from the hardtop.

Strangely enough, this car seems to be upholstered in Nissan’s version of MB-Tex, i.e. some sort of leatherette. Quite taxi-like, really. But a cab would have doilies on the seats as well…

I’m sure some of these were also used as police cars, and I’m getting a strong fuzzy feeling from this one, for some reason. Maybe because that ‘70s American shape is one I associate with old cop shows I watched as a kid (e.g. Starsky & Hutch, CHIPs or Hawaii Five-O) more than anything else.

Actually, this might even be too straight-laced for police usage. There’s something very business-like and austere about this Gloria. Perhaps it ferried some local government bigwig or some high-flying functionary when it first hit the road.

Point is, by the late ‘70s, if you wanted a properly-styled and reasonably efficient American compact, the Nissan 330 had it all. Go on yonder Ford Grenada, get the F outta Dodge, Dart and move over Chevy Nova – apart from where the steering wheel is located, this Gloria fits the role better than any of you.

Plus it has an escutcheon-shaped blue T-Bird emblem on the C-pillar. Killer move, Gloria.


Related posts:


CC Capsule: 1976 Nissan Gloria 330 SGL-E Hardtop Sedan – I Will Survive, by T87

Curbside Classic: Nissan 330 Cedric Hardtop Sedan Brougham – Spirit of ’67, by Don Andreina

Automotive History: Nissan Cedric – When The Pupil Becomes A Master, by Don Andreina