CC Capsule: 1985 Nissan Gloria Hardtop (Y30) V-Turbo Brougham – An Iron Hand In A Button-Tufted, Crushed Velvet Glove

It’s been a veritable Nissan Y30 fest this year on CC, as this is the fourth post I’m writing on the subject. Three were dedicated to the lovely (and long-lived) wagon and I also caught a very nice Cedric saloon in Hokkaido. I actually bagged another one recently, but I’ll keep it for a rainy day. It did leave us with a gap: the hardtop.

So here’s our lovely gap-filler of a Gloria hardtop. The Y30 Cedric/Gloria twins were launched in 1983, as some of you probably know by heart by now. I’m going to try and skip the usual historical stuff, if that’s ok – we’ll take it as read.

Just a reminder that the Y30 served as a showcase for the new Nissan OHC V6 – the first Japanese V6, allegedly designed under the influence of Alfa Romeo. Our feature car has the smaller 2-litre turbo version, which sends all of 170hp to the rear wheels via a 4-speed auto. A 5-speed manual was also available, but it’s probably quite rare – this class of Japanese cars were overwhelmingly automatics by this point in time.

Our CC is a post mid-life refresh car, as were the others I’ve posted thus far; above is the same model, but in pre-facelift (1983-85) guise. These are true hardtop sedans. It seems Nissan were more committed to this feature than some other Japanese carmakers, who started making oxymoronic “pillared hardtops” by the mid-‘80s.

Not so for our Gloria here. Not content with this lack of a B-pillar, it also has a wraparound backlight, which looks pretty similar to the one on the previous generation hardtop. The big grille, hood ornament and copious brightwork all looks very ‘80s Detroit, but the greenhouse is distinctively Japanese – none of those horrid “formal” padded roofs here.

So this is not necessarily the highest grade of Y30 Gloria, but damn, that interior looks inviting. That’s really where the Brougham element brings it all together. But it’s a Japanese Brougham, so mystery buttons on the steering wheel and top quality fit and finish come as standard.

Probably not the most ample legroom ever documented, but it would be interesting to compare this to contemporary American RWD offerings, such as a Mercury Marquis or a Pontiac Bonneville. I bet the Nissan is just as spacious, except maybe in the headroom department. Mind you, you couldn’t even roll the rear windows down in G-body Bonnevilles, so more headroom was a poor substitute for less airiness.

The Bonneville and the Y30 Gloria were separated by the Pacific Ocean and never actually crossed swords, luckily for the Pontiac. It never would have sold in Japan. There were always a few wealthy eccentrics who were tempted by the odd exotic gas-guzzler, but Firebirds and Cougars were more their speed. Standard JDM sedans of the Brougham variety were just far better in every way.

Conversely, the Gloria never made it Stateside. The Reagan administration, aided by two decades’ worth of safety and anti-pollution regulations, saw to that. Besides, the Gloria’s T-Bird-esque emblems would have sown confusion. Yet despite substantial efforts to protect the US carmakers, the Japanese started by eating their lunch, then moved to breakfast and dinner, and ended by opening fancy restaurants over there known as Acura, Lexus and Infiniti.


Related posts:


Curbside Classic: 1995 Nissan Gloria (Y30) Wagon – Nissanosaurus Rex, by T87

CC Capsule: 1994 Nissan Gloria (Y30) V-20E SGL Wagon – Indulging In Overindulgence, by T87

CC Twofer: 1998 Nissan Gloria (Y33) Gran Turismo Ultima & Gloria (Y30) Wagon – Dr Nissan and Ms Gloria, by T87

Curbside Classic: 1986 Nissan Cedric (Y30) V-30 E Brougham – The C-Word Saloon, by T87