Curbside Classic: Nissan 330 Cedric Hardtop Sedan Brougham – Spirit of ’67

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

Further Reading

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