Curbside Classic: 1982 Nissan Laurel “Special Edition” – It Has a Continental Connection


I must have walked by this early ‘80s Nissan Laurel fifty times – it’s parked in the lot of a local mechanic, on the route from our house to the nearest train station.  I always give it an admiring glance, but Johannes Dutch’s recent post on a Laurel he encountered while attending the 2016 Ewijk Festijn prompted me to give it a little extra scrutiny on my most recent walk by – and am I glad I did.  It has a badge that I had previously overlooked…

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Before we identify the badge, let’s look back at the Laurel.  Nissan built the Laurel from 1968 to 2002, through eight different generations.  It was a mid-size offering that was a step up from a compact (Nissan Sunny (Sentra) or Toyota Corolla), but didn’t have the prestige of a luxury model (Nissan Gloria/Cedric or Toyota Crown).  Its equivalents today are the Camry, Accord, Mazda 6, Fusion, Malibu, etc.


As with most JDM models in this era, it came in a broad range of body styles and engine options.  On top is a mild-mannered sedan with a 1.8L four cylinder, while on the bottom is a stylish coupe with a mighty fuel-injected 2.8L straight six (L28E – same engine as the 280Z).


The Laurel was always given a little more styling “pizzazz” than other Nissan models, and it was generally the most aggressively styled of its other mid-sized contemporaries (Mark II/Chaser/Cresta/Vigor).  I thought this sixth generation (1989-93) had an attractive, low-slung, lean look to it.


Another unique aspect was that with the exception of one model generation (5th-1984/89), it never used a V6 engine – in six-cylinder form, it used versions of Nissan’s current straight six, the stout SOHC L-series in early models, and then the superb RB series DOHC in later ones.


Given its rear drive orientation and easily modified engines, it was and is a favorite of the drift crowd…


The last model year was 2002…this is another special edition; a “Club S” – under the hood is a 2.5L RB25DET good for 280 hp.


It was replaced by the Teana in ’03– quite a step back in my view…


Back to the badge – here it is – a little tough to make out but I‘m sure any Nieman-Marcus shopper or Lincoln Mark IV – VI owner will recognize the signature of Hubert de Givenchy.


This is a fourth generation Laurel (built from 1980-84) and a fairly rare Givenchy edition built only in 1982.  As a special model, it had the top engine offering; a 2.0 L-series (L20ET) fuel injected, turbocharged straight six, good for 145 hp.


This style two-toned charcoal/silver paint scheme was somewhat de rigueur in the late 70’s/early ‘80s in Japan.


That checked interior looks sharp – didn’t Audrey Hepburn wear a hat with the same style in Breakfast at Tiffany’s?


There’s no sign in the window but next trip by, I’m definitely going to ask the shop owner if it’s for sale…