I thought I’d done the 330 Cedric, then this cherrybombed my phone courtesy of AVL. A rare-these-days generation, an almost immaculate example of a rarer variant and, on the hood, a most distinguished script bearing the word ‘Brougham’.
By JDM standards this Cedric was a large car. By US standards it was a subcompact, coming in 3 inches narrower and ten inches shorter than the Nova. Released in 1975 with eight year-old body cues, it still managed to present an attractive mien in the period when Detroit was copping a massive 5mph punch in the face.
This one has managed to find its way to Australia, where they were theoretically available from the then-Datsun dealers fully imported. I know some two-door hardtops made their way here; not so sure about these four-doors though. If they did come in, it would have been in minuscule numbers.
We got plenty of the standard sedans over here, though. They weren’t called Cedric; that name had been dumped with the second iteration of the 130 being called the Big Datsun Six. Over here, the 330 standard sedan was called the 260C, but I’m not sure if the hardtops retained the Cedric badge when bought through the dealer.
Judging by those plates, this rarebie is a regular driver.
The standard sedan looks like it had a taller roofline, but according to World Cars sedans have the same height and hardtops were about 3/8″ lower. Which of these measures applied to the hardtop sedan is hard to tell, but the minimal difference does imply the same windscreen glass.
It was based on the 1971 new generation 230 series, one of the absolute peaks of Nissan and Japanese styling. From Yoshihiko Matsuo who also gave us the legendary first Z; this passenger range shape was harmonious, restrained and perfectly balanced where the Z was more brutal and forthcoming.
A hardtop sedan was introduced into the Cedric range for the first time in 1972.
Matsuo did not handle the 330 generation. But a great job was done anyway.
The cleanness of the 230 gave way to deeper embellishment; a faster roofline than the pillared, and a pronounced crease over the rear fenders and door. Just like on the 67 Chevrolet. This too was a superb update of a superb basic shape, so the stylists at Nissan took their lesson well.
A dogbone would be used for the frontal aperture; the juniors would take guidance from the 67 Dodge for detailing and the seniors some 67 Oldsmobile.
The standard sedans got the grille running through a pinched middle section as per the Dodge, and the senior hardtops got the Olds closed bezel with black inset.
Note some of these series are plated as Gloria. This had come about because Nissan subsumed Prince Motors in the mid 60s. Prince’s sub-limo senior was the Gloria, and that nameplate had been retained for the dealer network.
The last time these two models sported different bodies was during the previous generation 130 Cedric, above, where the Gloria carried stacklights and squarer lines.
When the 230 Cedric was introduced, the Gloria became a badge-engineered variation of that body.
The Cedric and Gloria hierarchy appears to chop and change. The 1973 World Cars gives a base level GL Gloria alongside a GL Cedric, whereas in this 1979 listing the Glorias take prime position.
For 1979, no Cedric Brougham. Only a Gloria Brougham.
That’s a staggering 24 variants across the three bodies and it doesn’t even mention the van/wagon.
But I will. Note the electric rear side window halfway down on the red one. Curbside Cred.
And here are 14 variants of the Cedric in more minute detail.
I take our CC to be a 1978 model, when I believe both the Cedric and Gloria nameplates had Brougham versions. Neither had a Brougham in 1977, and 1979 was the 330’s final year.
1978 was late for a Brougham badge. Detroit was on the cusp of wiping much of the gingerbread off their cars, though not all of it. And Japan wasn’t far behind.
That cleaning up started with the 430 generation – the last iteration of the 230 basis and attractive in its own right. I still haven’t found confirmation, but Pininfarina is associated with this somehow. In 1981, the Brougham badge was appended to the Cedric and not the Gloria. Go figure.
I love seeing the 330, but it happens less and less. This one turned away from a distance.
This one is still around. It was the subject of my last attempt at the 330, and is a bit of a sentimental favourite. It lives in a housing commission complex, and is always rested between two carparks so I know it gets driven regularly. It is haggard, and I would never personally sit inside it. It appears to be owned by someone who still depends on it, most likely elderly, and bought when it was still relatively fresh.
Toyota did not have a hardtop sedan for the concurrent Crowns. That place was taken by the Mark II, a bespoke body on a stretched Corona platform using the six from the Crown.
This wasn’t a genuine hardtop, but it did have swoopy contours and a fast roofline.
The Toyota MkII is a well-done example of a large small-car shape, whereas the Nissan 330 is a superb example of a small large-car shape. With this body, I’ll take junior face.
I prefer the taillights on the standard sedan.
But I’ll sacrifice them for that roofline.
Photographed by AVL, January 2019
The History of the Brougham by Jason Shafer
The History of the JDM Hardtop Sedan by Ate Up With Motor
The History of the Cedric by Don Andreina
The Second Iteration of the 130 Cedric by Paul Niedermeyer
The A30 Gloria, Forlorn by Tatra87
The Design Origins of the Kujira Crown by Don Andreina
I had two of those MK2 Coronas a two door hardtop and a four door sedan it was the family daily drive until 03, quite good cars though thirsty with the automatic, the Gloria and Cedric names hung around in Nissans stable for many years being still used in the later Laurel based cars my brother had a 82 or there abouts with a diesel engine the venerated LD28, I havent ever seen a 4 door 330 hardtop in the metal not here and not in OZ, a mate in Cygnet TAS had a 240 &260 sedans he eventually gave them to a start up wrecking yard to get rid of them. both still drove ok but formalities like registration were lacking a common problem in the Huon area.
Sorry but I can’t share the love for the 260C, which IMHO was a desecration of the beautiful 240Cs with those crude and dated cow hip swellings and tacky grilles. Otherwise I agree- the latter were perhaps the most elegant Japanese cars of the era.
Here we are with my 240C 2-door pausing at a Desert Road lookout, over 30 years ago.
Indeed, the double-hip replacement gave no added elegance to the sweet 240c at all, let alone the mixed cultlery drawer of grilles and trims.
KA, that 240C 2 door is very tasty. Haven’t seen one in Oz for ages (maybe nearly 20 years sad to say) but at one point they were sort of semi common here.
Just to be clear re the main article, Australia did officially get the 2 door 230s (I do prefer the cleaner 230 styling to the fussy 330, which to my eyes looks best as a wagon) and the 2 door 330s. It’s just that the sedan was the volume seller with the wagon and 2 door hardtop filling in the gaps.
The hardtops here always received the quad round headlights like the standard sedan, so no rectangular units here. The hardtops had different tail lights just like their JDM cousins and also received a tachometer for Australia although the engine was the same. I believe the hardtops had standard power rear windows with optional power front windows. I’ve seen sedans with optional power windows but never the wagons, which had the cool power side loading window. (why don’t we have cool wagons with this cool feature now).
Any 4 door hardtops of either 230 or 330 flavour in Australia were 110% private imports (or possibly an example bought in for evaluation, although I suspect that was unlikely) and definitely not available to order through Nissan Australia. I seen one 330 and one 430 4 door hardtop here.
Back in the day I realised these cars were not the driver’s cars that the 240K/Skylines were but I still found them fascinating with their high level of equipment and finish and features not available on the luxury versions of the local big 3 offerings.
Due to my access to the World Cars books at the time I knew there were higher specifications and different body styles and a much larger range available in Japan and that only increased my fascination.
Great information. Thanks for the clarification on the import models. You got anything on Pininfarina/430?
No, not really. Even the 430 is pretty much never seen on the road by these eyes. By Pininfarina do you mean the facelifted pre 230 model?
No, for the 430 wiki says ‘Styling was achieved with the cooperation of Pininfarina’ but I can’t find where that is referenced. The official PF Catalogue Raisonne doesn’t mention their work for Nissan – neither the Bluebird nor 130 is featured in the 400-odd bodies listed. Nor is the 430.
My impression is the facelifted 130 (called the Mk4 in some circles IIRC) was an in-house effort over the PF original.
That is a sweet, sweet ride Alistair. Great colour too. If I recall, there was a really attractive lime green metallic for the 230.
Stellar write-up and what a huge number of variants, Nissan was a much more capable and prolific company at this time than is generally given credit for. All of the small details are just magnificent and I love the rear light panel, there was a lot of thought and design applied to that. And then this one in that cooper color to boot… Very nice.
Agree totally on the copper. Probably my favourite hue on this more gothic body.
These Neesans did not cherrybomb your phone, Mr A, but your brain, where they left an eternal clottage. It affects a very specific part of your vision: the part where you see. Or see these, anyway.
Now, you have sanctified these with the blessing of learned erudition previously, and I responded with ungracious intimations that this iteration remains in fact a smelly visual wart (or thereabouts), but even now I cannot accommodate their optic excrementationalness. I do not see what you see, and to be frank sir, if that looks good to you, then I am satisfied to remain with my own outlook, unaltered.
And from my outlook, this brown wobbler looks like a shrugging, gaudy toupee with granny glasses.
Apart from this, I have no strong opinions.
Does that mean you think it’s ugly?
These…these are the words I was looking for.
An excellent post, to your usual standards, of course. Wish I could say the same to whoever designed the 330.
It’s probably the most attractive Nissan of the mid-70s, which is the faintest of praise, of course. There was something in the ramen at the Nissan canteen back then, causing such eyesores as the Cherry F10 design to actually reach production instead of the wastepaper basket.
I much prefer the older 130 or the 430. I caught the latter the other day, too. It will be posted this week, along with a Y31. It’s Cedric/Gloria hardtopfest on CC!
CC Effect in effect!
Yep, the F10 and Silvia from this time show Nissan sometimes going bad with this more idiosyncratic language.
What a gorgeous car! The sedan does nothing whatsoever for me, but this hardtop – my oh my. I might quibble with a little of the extraneous badging and the grille is not a perfect “10” for me, but the rest of the car is just right.
At first I assumed the car to be much larger than it is. This may be the most perfect scaling of a large car shape and proportion to a much smaller package. If only Cadillac had been able to manage this in the 80s.
These Japanese 4 door hardtops are becoming a fetish with me – I love the American ones too, and it seems that nowhere but Japan did this body style make a serious stand.
Thanks JPC. I completely concur on the scaling thing.
Ugh, I’m getting more of a Torino vibe from that side spear than 67 Chevrolet. The 67 Chevrolet’s side spear echoes the front fender spear but this one comes from nowhere and doesn’t need to exist. The front end is also ugly and overstyled like a Torino, and the headlamps for some reason have this vast empty space next to them.
This car is UGLY.
What a delicious breakfast dessert. This is like something one would find in a bakery in Italy; crispy brown and lots of sugar.
A terrific find and write-up. Sadly my exposure to these big Nissans has been strictly vicarious, but perhaps someday…
I share your appreciation of this era of Nissan’s styling. Like certain exotic foods, it took a little while to get there, but now I can’t get enough of them. But you’ve satiated my appetite, for today at least.
Hmmm… I think T87 is about serve up a heavy dose of JDM indigestion.
I gotta agree with Tatra87, with a few exceptions like the original 510 and the 240Z there wasn’t much I liked aesthetically in the Datsun lineup in those days. And we Americans (well, at least me) found the names like Bluebird, Fairlady, Gloria and especially Cedric, pretty funny. With 50 years of greater maturity, I now find them whimsical. Still not a huge fan of the styling. Other than pickups, Z’s and the occasional Roadster and hot rod 510, not much left here from that era.
I’m from the school that thinks the 110 Skyline shape was the match for any other sedan in the world at the time. The 230 certainly in the top tier.
This is not to take away from the 510 and Z. Both these are smart shapes, but not quite as accomplished in their own right as the abovementioned and some others.
The 330 is more a personal thing.
As it happens, I have one of these too. I ‘fixed’ the styling by painting mine purple…
BTW I agree the previous generation is far more attractive. When I first saw these, my immediate reaction was along the lines of “Oh no!!!”, though I have to confess the styling has kind of grown on me as an example of seventies excess, Nipponese style.
We will not see their kind again. Though I kind of wonder whether the current preoccupation with angry Transformers-type styling will see a jacked-up 330 wagon re-emerge from the Nissan Studios. I’m sure Justy will be standing by ready to shoot it.
Was this purple a factory colour?
Ford factory, not Nissan. 🙂 Wheels aren’t factory either…
And if anyone’s interested to see what they look like when customised, have a look at the link below, a gentleman from Christchurch NZ built this, and it’s awesome!
I do like Cedric four-door hardtops, but more from sentiment than for their aesthetic values (kinda agree with Justy there). I was a high school exchange student in central Japan (Gunma prefecture) in the summer of 1979 and remember seeing tons of these 330 series Cedrics and Glorias on the streets, including many older ones pressed into service as taxis. My host family owned a 1977 Cedric, in white, with the requisite slip covers on the seats and doilies on the headrests. One of the big events that summer was going to downtown Maebashi to the Nissan showroom to see the newly introduced 430 generation of the Gloria/Cedric, which featured a plethora of power gizmos that were leading edge for the time. I’m quite sure that dealer visit precipitated an eventual trade for a new 430-gen Gloria about a year later.
I bought a 20 year-old 1983 430 pillared for $500 when my Fiat 130 Coupe was off the road. Everything, including aircon, worked. Just needed a new carby for $200. More fun than the similarly-sized Fiat. The 2.8 felt more sprightly.
Oh be still my beating heart! Great post, thank you Don! The 330 is certainly gaudy, but in hardtop sedan form it’s one of my favourite ’70s Nissans. IIRC the hardtop dashboard was vastly nicer than the sedan’s too. I’ve only seen one 330 hardtop sedan in the metal, loved it. Re the one Styles mentions, here’s the fascinating 78-page blog on its build: http://www.nzdatsun.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=10&sid=65e7e2d1d867f29991d364d7fb89dc95